Not knowing some banking history I thought it very unusual to see a “Eastern Township Bank” cheque from Keremeos, BC. I thought Eastern Townships usually relates to a group of towns back east and that it would be unusual for such a group to have branches out in British Columbia. I did know, however, that the Bank of Hamilton (Ontario) had at least one branch out here, so…
For those mainland Vancouver types who do not go much into the interior, Keremeos is a village (which is sort of again another reason for wondering why an Eastern Townships bank office?) in the southern interior Okanagan region of British Columbia. It is named from the Similkameen dialect of the Okanagan language word “Keremeyeus” meaning “creek which cuts through the flats”.
There was an “Upper Keremeos” community prior to 1909 – that started in 1898, but, Keremeos as it is today is where, in 1909, Mr. George Kirby, the postmaster of the “upper” community, anticipated the coming of the V.V. and E. Railway through the area in the present spot. He was right and other businesses thus followed. The bank was However, the 1910 Henderson’s Directory does list a branch and a R.H. Carmichael as its manager. The directory listings for Keremeos amount to only three pages.
- Harry Tweddle was a rancher in the community in 1918 who paid Percy Howell $113.60 with cheque number 74, which might indicate a rather short period of having had an account with the bank. Percy Howell is not listed in either the 1918 or 1910 directories. In 1910 a Halliburton Tweddle is listed as a laborer. They were one and the same. He was born in Cumberland, England in 1876, ran a stage into and out of Keremeos at the turn of the century up to at least 1912, but was not listed in directories in the town until the 1910 date, and married a Florence Elizabeth Richter in Victoria, in the latter year. The 1901 census lists him as a servant in the Yale-Cariboo district to an H.W. Conkling. It is just possible that this person paid for his emigration to Canada and he had agreed to pay him back in work for the passage. He died in Keremeos at the age of 80 in 1957. The directories up to 1910 make no mention of a Eastern Townships bank branch.
The Eastern Townships Bank was founded in the Eastern Townships region of South East Quebec in 1859. It opened branches in Quebec and Western Canada and, by 1912, when its shareholders agreed to merge with the Canadian Bank of Commerce, it had over 100 branches. At the turn of the century one or two directors of the bank were involved in developing mines. Thus the bank made a great leap to British Columbia. Their first BC branch opened in Grand Forks. This latter bit of information is courtesy of Ron Greene.
The rather amazing thing, to me, is that the writing appears to be in pencil. Even in the late 1940’s banks could refuse to cash or deposit checks written by a ball point pen. They liked checks written in ink with fountain pens. It might be that this was a very small community where everyone knew everyone.