Stephen Vaughan Kinsey: A Strong Arm Man

Hidden on the Google News website, is it's archived newspaper section.  Regretfully, Google has recently begun to move away from scanning newspapers.  However, with some creative searching one can find some gems from the past.

One of these gems, was this great interview of Stephen Vaughan Kinsey as he is about to leave for Boissevain, Manitoba:
Stephen Vaughan Kinsey in the 31 July 1940 Saskatoon Star-Phoenix (page 4)
Veteran Mason, Steve Kinsey, 86, Leaves City to Stay in Manitoba 
Pioneer resident of Saskatoon, who watched the city grow from its infancy to its present size as Saskatchewan’s second largest city, Steve Kinsey, 86, left Tuesday evening for Boissevain, where he expects to spend his remaining days with a brother (John Henry Wilson Kinsey).  Mr. Kinsey was particularly well-known in Masonic circles here as he held the unique distinction of having officiated at more Masonic funerals than any other officer.

Hale and hearty, with all his faculties unimpaired despite his advanced age, Mr. Kinsey packed his grips Tuesday afternoon and walked into the railway station.

“The only trouble with me,” he told a reporter with a twinkle in his eye, “ was that I never married. Had I married, I would have children, a family and lots of money.  I could write a cheque on the Royal Bank and go over and cash it.”

“Now all I have is grey hair,” he continued and lifting his hat showed me a full growth of silver hair.

Mr. Kinsey is a native of Wales. He came to Canada in 1868 as a mere lad of 14 with his father and mother and eight other children.

“I had not much education,” he said, “and being the oldest boy I had to strong arm it.  I had to go to work.  Mind you, I learned to read and write in Wales but I did not get any education in Canada. The family needed me to work after we settled in Simcoe County.”

Mr. Kinsey came to Saskatoon in 1899 to operate a creamery but that job didn’t last long because in his own words: “Farmers in those days were more interested in wheat than anything else, so the creamery just went and I had to go to work again.”

After the creamery business went Mr. Kinsey obtained a job a job with the Northern Railway as a pumpman. He remained in this position until 1914 when he was made general manager of the Masonic branch here, having joined when it was founded in 1903.

“All you see around the temple,” he said “is my work. You just take a look at the hedge and all the other improvements.”

Mr. Kinsey was a Tyler of the Masons until 1930.  He explained how, at the early Masonic funerals, the officials wore full regalia for the funeral procession.

“When I first came here, you could have bought a corner lot for $30 dollars and an inside lot for $15,” Mr. Kinsey reminisced.

“I could have bought numerous lots and sold them at a great profit but it seemed, I never got around to it, I was just a strong arm man.”  Asked if he regretted not having speculated in real estate, he replied laughingly: “I should say not. I’ve still got my health. Most of the old fellows are dead now.”

Mr. Kinsey has eaten his meals in the same downtown restaurant for 25 years.

As a parting shot, he remarked: “Now, I want you to write that up well in tomorrow’s paper, young fellow.  Don’t worry, I am getting it, I made arrangements to have the paper sent. That cost money, but that’s all right.”

Google News does not allow one to copy or download the articles.  However, you can enjoy the original article online.  Enjoy!


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