Mount Taynton, Taynton Creek, Taynton Bay, Taynton Bowl, Taynton Road (Windermere), Taynton Trail (Invermere)
Jack Taynton was described as “a bit of a renegade.” His brother, Bill, was “soft spoken, loved flowers and displayed gentlemanly manners.” Both brothers, and their sons, ended up living or retiring alongside Windermere Lake in an area that became known as Tayntonville or Taynton Bay.
The Taynton Brothers
Jack and Bill Taynton were born in Ross, Herefordshire, England to parents John Hopkins Griffith Taynton, a plasterer, and Harriet Walsh. The brothers also had a sister (Jane Elizabeth). Their mother, Harriet, passed away in England in 1871, and a decade later their father had remarried to Mary (unknown last name).
The family immigrated to Canada sometime in 1882 including John, his wife Mary, John’s three children from his first marriage (Jack, Jane, and William), as well as an infant daughter from his second marriage. Almost immediately after arriving in Canada it seems that twenty-one year old Jack struck out on his own. Once in Canada, John and Mary Taynton also had at least four more children (half siblings to the Taynton brothers).
Jack first arrived in the Windermere Valley c.1884, and eighteen year old Bill joined him in 1887. The two briefly went into ranching together, concentrating on cattle farming on what later became Thunder Hill Ranch, as well as on what was later East Firlands Ranch near Radium Hot Springs.1
Both brothers ended up living or retiring alongside Windermere Lake in an area that became known as Tayntonville or Taynton Bay. In addition to a house each for Jack and William, both had sons (William and Gilbert) who also lived on the bay.
John (Jack) Hopkins Griffith Taynton (3 June 1861-27 June 1954)
The older of the two brothers, John Hopkins Griffith Taynton, was given the exact same name as his father (also John Hopkins Griffith Taynton). This is likely why the younger John was often known as Jack (although not always – it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between the two during research, particularly as father and son also shared the profession).
Jack arrived in Winnipeg in the spring of 1882, working at bricklaying and plastering until December when he left for Moose Jaw. During 1883 and 1884 he worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a brakeman before going to the railway construction camps in the Selkirks in the summer of 1884. There, he packed supplies for the contractors and engineers until late in the fall, when he was employed to drive the engineers’ horses up the Columbia River to be wintered near Windermere Lake. This was Jack’s first entry into the Windermere Valley.
In the fall of 1885, Jack went part way through the Crows Nest Pass, intending to join the Riel Rebellion before learning that it was already over. Instead, he backtracked to Toby Creek, where he spent a summer panning for gold. After spending the winters of 1885 and 1886 on Columbia Lake at the ranch of Bill Hardie, Jack decided to take up a ranch in about 1886 near the upper end of the lake. This became Taynton’s “Hillahee” Ranch, later Thunder Hill Ranch.
In 1887, Jack sent a letter to his younger brother, Bill, asking if he wanted to join him. Bill agreed, and the two brothers lived at the Hillahee Ranch for a couple of years while also taking on other jobs. Jack looked after the store and ranch of Captain Armstrong for a summer, and packed supplies for James Brady (of the Thunder Hill Mine), the North West Mounted Police, and the contractors of the Baillie Grohman Canal.2
Jack returned to Winnipeg in 1888 to see his parents and while he was there he married his cousin, Lydia Ellen Masters (Nov 1859-28 Feb 1941). Jack brought his wife back to Windermere, and sold the Hillahee ranch for $250 and two ponies. He and Billy reunited in 1889 to ranch near what is now Radium Hot Springs.3 While there Lydia gave birth to a son, William Sinclair Taynton. William was the first white child born in the Windermere District, and was named after his Uncle Bill and what was then known as Sinclair Hot Springs (now Radium Hot Springs).4
In the spring of 1890 Jack moved to Brisco and then to Golden where he helped to build a bridge over the Kicking Horse River.5 The family moved again c.1892 to Pilot Bay near Nelson, where Jack helped to build a smelter, then on to Kaslo.6 While in Kaslo, Jack worked as a plasterer and bricklayer and experimented with manufacturing and firing bricks.7 Eventually, in 1898, he and a man named Milligton began a brickyard employing four men.8
Jack and his family moved back to the Windermere Valley around Christmas 1899, however during a visit earlier in the year he had done the masonry for the Windermere Hotel (possibly his brother’s Lakeside Hotel).9 Jack continued work as a plasterer in the Windermere Valley while also branching out as a general contractor. He built the chimney for the Athalmer jail, part of the hotel at Canterbury (Invermere), worked on the large “gingerbread house” of JL McKay’s ranch at Sinclair (Radium), plastered the new Wilmer Presbyterian Church, laid the stone foundations for Sam Brewer’s house in Fairmont, plastered the maternity ward of the Windermere District General Hospital of 1916, built the offices of Basil G Hamilton on Main Street Invermere, and worked on the Invermere Cenotaph.10 Jack was also a sometimes game and fire warden, and was part owner of the Bunyan Mine.11
Soon after arriving in the Windermere Valley, Jack Taynton started a brickyard in 1900 on the shores of Windermere Lake at Canterbury (Invermere), giving employment to seven men.12 He made shipments from his brick yard for years, eventually installing a brick making machine.13 By 1911 Jack was managing the Invermere Brick and Lime Company.14 In 1903 he began building a house near to the brickyard: the first house in what was later to be known as Tayntonville, or Taynton Bay.15
Jack was described as, “a bit of a renegade”.16 He ran in the 1906 Provincial Election on the Socialist ticket, and was also elected as a trustee for the Windermere School.17 Poor health in his later life prompted Jack to move in with his son, William, in Kimberley. He passed away in Kimberley on 27 June 1954 and is buried in the Windermere Cemetery.18
William (Bill) Walter Taynton (31 Dec 1869 – 5 Feb 1968)
William (Bill) Taynton was the younger brother, arriving with his family to Winnipeg in 1882 at age 13. When he got a letter from his brother Jack in 1887 suggesting that he come west, Billy jumped at the idea. He first saw the Windermere Valley in 1887 at the age of 18. Thinking, “what a lovely valley!” Bill ended up spending the rest of his life there until shortly before his death at age 98.19
After Jack married in 1888, Billy struck out on his own with the Columbia River Lumber Company at Brisco. A decade later he had returned to Windermere where he leased property to ranch. Bill also went into partnership with Hugh Gordon in 1898 to take over the Windermere Hotel from George Geary, renaming it the Lakeside Hotel.20 The two did reasonably well with the hotel through 1899, building a large addition and having, “an unusual large trade this season.”21 At the same time, Bill and Hugh also continued ranching just behind the hotel.22
In addition to ranching and the hotel business, Bill also got interested in prospecting. In 1898 he became treasurer for the first Miner’s Association in Windemere, and made a number of small claims that never really turned out to much including a claim on Tegart Creek east of Windermere and a property adjoining the Mineral King Mine on Toby Creek.23 Bill also at one time had a part interest in the Red Line claim up McDonald Creek.24
Bill kept a number of odd jobs during his time in the Valley. For four days he had worked on the canal at Canal Flat.25 He was a sometimes foreman of road construction and guide/outfitter for big game hunters to the area.26 Bill was also on the survey team for the Kootenay Central Railway through the valley.27
Bill got married in Fort Steele on 11 November 1899 to Edith Annie Wilks, a childhood friend from Ross, Herefordshire in England.28 The couple lived in Windermere, where their son Gilbert Griffiths Taynton was born on 29 September 1900.29
In 1912, Bill started work as foreman on the new Experimental Farm in Invermere, and when the farm moved to Windermere in 1929 he went too, staying until he retired in 1932.30 After retirement, Bill and Edith moved back to Invermere where they built a little home alongside Jack’s on Taynton Bay. Bill’s son Gilbert also lived nearby.
Bill was a founding member of the Windermere Rod and Gun Club in 1919, having previously been involved in its forebear, the Windermere Rifle Association, in 1903.31 Bill’s wife Edith was also a member of the Ladies Rifle Association in 1904, which “[put] the men to shame,” and was one of the first (if not the first) Ladies Rifle Associations in the province.32
Where Jack was described as a renegade, Bill was “soft spoken, loved flowers and displayed gentlemanly manners.” He was a good singer, enthusiastic about amateur dramatics, and was known to sing Welsh ditties to his great grandchildren.33 Bill died in Vernon at age 98 after a long illness, predeceased by his son. He was survived by two grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
The presence of the Taynton name in the Valley is not surprising given the longevity of the brothers’ residence in the area. It is very likely that Taynton Road in Windermere originates in association to William Taynton’s ranch there, located behind the hotel he helped operate. Taynton Bay, a local name rather than an official one, also stands in recognition of the family’s long residence on the shores of Windermere Lake near what is now Kinsmen Beach.34 Mount Taynton was adopted in 1915, with Taynton Creek and Taynton Bowl both derived later through association.