G. C. Killam was born in Yarmouth Nova Scotia on March 6th, 1863, to farmers John and Lucy Killam, the fourth of seven children. Lucy died on 26 March 1872 and John remarried in 1873 to Mary Louise Hamilton and had two more children.
Killam’s wife Mary, and their three sons, Arthur, Gilbert and Harold, moved back to Canada from the United States in 1905. Mary was born in Prince Edward Island, their sons in the United States. By 1903, Killam was living in Dawson City, Yukon where he worked as a customs agent. That year Killam submitted a design of a stone building for the Carnegie Library to be built in that city. Though his design was not chosen, “the Yukon Sun described it as an ‘architectural dream.’” By 1911 the family was living in Vancouver, the two older boys were working as clerks, Gilbert senior was still with Customs. The Killams came to Smithers around the time the town was starting up in 1913.
In Smithers Killam hung out his shingle as an architect, and we know he was into photography. Some of Killam’s glass photographic plates were found stored in a box in a building on Main Street after he left for WWI. His photos of Smithers, B.C., are treasured today, stored in the Bulkley Valley Museum.
To get into the army in WWI, he shaved ten years off his age, he was 54 and the maximum age allowable was 45. He may have ‘shopped around” to find a recruiter to take him as he joined up with the British Canadian Recruiting Commission which recruited British subjects living in the United States. His wife, Mary, stayed in Seattle, Washington while her husband was in the Sixth Field Company. Killam never returned to Smithers. We find him on the census for California after the war. Then, “old age forced him to stay with his son in Vancouver until his death on October 27, 1945, at the age of 82.”
From: Chronicles of Smithers, pub. 2013
Sister = Eugenie (Killam) Chesley
Mary Jane Sanderson Killam
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