Chronicled here are three pioneer families with early Pincher Creek business connections. Recent research has unearthed some of their histories.
Bookkeeper with the Hudson’s Bay Company
Frederick J. Dupuy was a bookkeeper with the local Hudson’s Bay Company store here in Pincher Creek when it was located on the south side of Main Street, on the site years later taken over first by the Fraser-McRoberts Store and subsequently by the Pincher Creek Co-operative Association.
Dupuy was born on Dec. 18, 1857, in Ontario to parents of English ancestry. His wife Florence, who was of French ancestry, also was born in Ontario but was his junior by nearly seven years. Her birthdate was Sept. 29, 1864.
The couple had two children, a son named Wilson, who was born in November 1901, and a daughter Constance, whose birth took place two years later, in November 1903. Both children were born here in Pincher Creek. The family worshipped at St. John’s Church of England.
The Dupuy Family moved to Pincher Creek prior to 1901 and remained in the community for at least nearly a decade and a half. They are recorded as Pincher Creek residents in both the 1901 and 1911 Dominion Censuses as well as the Henderson’s Directory for 1914.
Frederick immediately secured bookkeeping employment with the local Hudson’s Bay Co., which was one of Pincher Creek’s thriving department stores.
Archival records indicate that in 1910, he worked there for the entire 52 weeks in the year and was paid $960 in annual wages.
An archival photo, in the possession of the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village, shows Dupuy and seven other store employees and contractors standing in front of the Hudson’s Bay Co. structure during those pre-First World War frontier days.
Business pursuits of Thomas and Gertrude Moore
Thomas Moore was an early businessman in Pincher Creek who also was active in sports circles and served on the board of the Pincher Creek School District Number 121.
Most of Moore’s biographical information can be found in the Dominion of Canada Censuses from 1901 and 1911, but there are some discrepancies in regards to his origins.
The former lists Moore as being born in Manitoba on May 10, 1875, while the latter states he was born in Ontario in May 1874.
His ancestry was English and by religion he was a Roman Catholic.
There also are some discrepancies in terms of his middle initial. The 1901 Census lists it as “J” while other sources itemize it as “H.”
Thomas Moore arrived in Pincher Creek by 1901. He was listed in that year’s census as being a bookkeeper.
A decade later, he was managing a store here in town, but the census does not identify which store this was.
He worked a total of 52 weeks in 1910, and his salary that year came to 1800 dollars.
Being a community-minded person, Moore also served on the local public school board. In 1907, he was selected as its chairman.
Moore was a noted local athlete. He served on the Pincher Creek Hockey Team from 1901 to 1906. During the summer months of those same years, he was active with the Pincher Creek Football Team.
Several team photos of both endeavours are preserved in the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village Archives.
Moore was married circa 1904. His wife Gertrude was several years his junior, having been born in January 1882. Her birthplace was Ontario, and she too was of English ancestry and Catholic in religion.
The Moores had three children, all sons. James was born in April 1905, Thomas in August 1907 and Morris in August 1909. All three would have been born here in Pincher Creek.
Thomas and Gertrude Moore also had a maid whose name was Mary Simpson. She was born in May 1890 in Ontario. She was Irish in ancestry and Catholic in religion. The Moores employed her for all 52 weeks in 1910, and her salary totalled $144.
Chronicles of John Schmidt
An immigrant to the Crowsnest Pass and Pincher Creek from Germany, John Schmidt’s hopes for a pioneer life in the new world were cut short by his early death.
Schmidt was born circa 1875. He came to Canada in late 1907 or early 1908, and was married in Blairmore in June 1908. His bride is believed to have just arrived in Canada prior to their wedding.
In August of that year, the couple moved to Pincher Creek where John had secured work at the 41 Meat Market located on north side of Main Street, nearly opposite the second Hudson’s Bay Co. store. The market was owned by A. H. Lynch-Staunton.
Schmidt was remembered in his obituary as being “a very faithful and diligent worker.”
Schmidt was a quiet person, but quickly made a host of friends in Pincher Creek.
The unfortunate pioneer was struck with appendicitis in early December 1908 and in spite of the best efforts of frontier medical care provided by the Memorial Hospital, Schmidt died the morning of Saturday, Dec. 19.
His funeral, held the following Monday morning, was well attended by Pincher Creek mourners. His passing made front page news in the Christmas Eve edition of The Pincher Creek Echo.
Farley Wuth is the curator at the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village.