Carothers and Richardson Families
In 1911, Beulah Heslop-Carothers, Samuel Carothers and their eight children, Lee Roy, Maceo, Benjamin, Grace, Louella, Ladell, Doris, and Alvey, chose to flee the Jim Crow Laws and racial discrimination of Oklahoma in search of a better life. Having crossed the Canadian border at Emerson, Manitoba, they continued by train to Edmonton. From Edmonton, the family, along with several others, formed a mule train and travelled another 100 miles (161 kilometres) to Athabasca Landing, where they then blazed a trail to Pine Creek, later known as Amber Valley.
Once settled in Pine Creek, Samuel built a house and barn from logs. A blacksmith by trade, he operated his blacksmith's shop, the community's post office, and a general store. He and Beulah had five more children: Willa, Mayola, Bert, Helen, and Cordie.
Beulah Carothers passed away in 1935 at the age of 58. Samuel Carothers succumbed to cancer and passed away in Calgary in December 1946. He was 73.
In 1938, Mayola Carothers met Willis Richardson in Calgary while walking down the street with her sister Louella. One day, upon hearing that Willis was ill, Mayola dropped by his mother's house to see him. From then on, the pair began to exchange letters.
Mayola was working outside of Calgary as a cook for the Boler family; Willis was working on a ranch in nearlby Strathmore. Later, in 1940, Willis got a job on the spare board for the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Mayola got a job in a café owned by Thelma Armstrong of Calgary. It was then that Willis and Mayola decided to marry. They wed 12 July 1940 in the Nazarene Church in Calgary. The couple's son Russell Edgar was born 6 July 1941. Russell died of a massive embolism in 1979.
Willis's job with the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) afforded him many opportunities. During the Second World War, when the trains transported troops, Willis made a trip to retrieve soldiers from theQueen Mary, which was to dock in New York City. The presence of enemy submarines in the Atlantic meant that the ship had to be diverted; this afforded the CPR crew the chance to tour New York City.
In 1960, Willis, along with many other porters who worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway, was transferred from Calgary to Vancouver. He and Mayola found the move difficult; they missed their friends and relatives in Calgary.
In 1975, a slight stroke forced Willis to retire after 35 years with the CPR. Mayola continued working: she helped mind a doctor's children and ironed clothes for his family.