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Widow Smith of Spence's Bridge by Jessie Ann…
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Widow Smith of Spence's Bridge

by Jessie Ann Smith

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0929069005, Paperback)

Newly-wed Jessie Ann Smith left Scotland in February, 1884, and traveled with her orchardist husband, John, to the south western British Columbia community of Spence's Bridge. Thirty-year-old Jessie Ann's strict Presbyterian upbringing and her training as a teacher, musician and banker did little to prepare her for the exciting life she was about to lead as a pioneer in British Columbia's fledgling ranching and fruit industry.

Her story, a love story with an historical twist, begins with her childhood in Scotland and follows her by ship across the Atlantic and by rail across the U.S.A. to the west coast of British Columbia. Her introduction to Canada includes a work train trip through the Fraser Canyon on the then under construction Canadian Pacific Railway. The young couple initially settled at Spence's Bridge where John Smith worked for orchardist, John Murray. However, after an attempt at her husband's life, they left "The Bridge" for a harsh decade of homesteading in an upland valley south of Merritt. In 1897, after the death of John Smith's former employer, the family returned to purchase and rebuild the ailing Spence's Bridge orchard.

John Smith died in 1905, partly as the result of an earlier Granite Creek mining accident. Jessie Ann Smith and her children continued working the Spence's Bridge orchard. For nearly a decade their Grimes Golden apples won top honors in shows in Canada, the U.S.A. and England. King Edward VII sought the apples of the "Widow Smith of Spence's Bridge" at a London Horticultural Show in 1909. The King? Ay, ay - no less than he,
None other than His Majesty;
His car already comes to stand
At Islington's exhibit grand,
Ingenuous to a high degree -
"I've come," he says most graciously,
"Those luscious Golden Grimes to see
Of Widow Smith's from fair B.C."
With dainty taste and polished mien
He deems them fitting for the Queen.
Forthwith he executes command
That they be sent to Buckingham.

With the aid of three of her granddaughters, Jessie Ann Smith began writing her life story in the mid-1930s. Half a century later, Murphy Shewchuk was approached by granddaughter Audrey Ward to help complete the book and it was first published in 1989. It has now been reprinted twice. The latest reprint, in July, 1998, includes corrections on an addendum on the inside back cover.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:22 -0400)

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