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Featured Articles

The older reports published by the Okanagan Historical Society are full of interesting articles and tidbits of history. We are pleased to share with you some of our favourites on this page.

Grace Worth Autobiography since 1910
Grace Worth, "Autobiography (Since 1910)," Report of the Okanagan Historical Society 34 (1970): 120-142.

The second and final instalment of Grace Worth's autobiography reveals that her pioneering activities extended far beyond carving out a farm in the Trinity Valley alongside her husband Harry. Grace, for example, was elected to the Lumby Farmer's Institute in 1917 at a time when "the very idea of a woman in public office was scorned by the majority," and her experiences during the Great Depression led her to become an active member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the precursor to today's NDP which championed many of the social programs that form the basis of Canada's welfare state. Her left-leaning views were shared by her biography subject, James Christie, who gained considerable notoriety in the Vernon area during the Dirty Thirties through numerous letters to the local press in which he railed against the lack of benefits available to elderly veterans such as himself, berated local politicians for neglecting the needs of the "common people," and advocated for the implementation of a basic social safety net along the lines of that proposed by the infant CCF (founded in Calgary in 1932).

Grace Worth Autobiography
Grace Worth, "Autobiography (1900-1910)," Report of the Okanagan Historical Society 33 (1969): 113-144.

Followers of this page have already been introduced to Grace Worth, the author of the previous Featured Article on Vernon-area pioneer James Halbold Christie. Grace and her husband Harry were pioneers in their own right-they were amongst the earliest settlers in Trinity Valley east of Vernon-and her two-part autobiography, the first of which is featured here, makes for a fascinating read. It also serves as a reminder of how much things have changed since the early 1900s, and how the recorded memories of OHS members such as Grace Worth help put those changes into perspective by allowing you to "walk in the shoes" or "see through the eyes" of earlier generations of Okanagan residents.

James Halbold Christie
Grace Worth, "James Halbold Christie," Report of the Okanagan Historical Society 31 (1967): 157-172.

Grace Worth (1879-1972) was born the youngest of twelve children to tenant farmers in Devon England. Both parents died before she finished her schooling, requiring she move first to live with a sister in nearby Ashbourne, and later, in London, where she completed teacher training, learned about poverty and class, and thereafter became a life-long and committed socialist.

In 1901, she married her sweetheart Harry before they both emigrated to Canada. There they acquired 160 acres of forest in Trinity Valley, where they proved themselves hardy souls, and with her feisty intelligence and interest in people and society, she became a community leader.

In her later years, Grace became interested in an earlier Trinity Valley pioneer, James Halbold Christie, who she tracked down when he was an old man and visited in 1937 and 1942 in Vernon. She later wrote of him in the 31st annual report (1967) of the Okanagan Historical Society, and this is the article that is currently featured. Without Grace Worth's tenacity and research skills, we might to this day still not have known of her friend "Jim," a remarkable person and pioneer.

Stay tuned for a further OHS story on the fascinating life of Jim Christie, which will build on what Grace Worth spoke of in OHS 31 and in her own two-part autobiography in OHS 33 and 34 (1969 and 1970), both of which will be featured on this webpage over the next few months.

Vernon Brothers