Woodley Family at Old Entrance - by Mary Luger April 2, 2009
The Woodley brothers left Cartwright, Ontario in 1910 for work with the survey crew during construction of the Canadian Northern Railway grade. My grandfather, Roy Thompson Woodley (May 14, 1890 – June 29, 1969) and his younger brother Earl Francis Woodley (June 5, 1893 – March 13, 1979) arrived at Hinton in 1911 at the ages of 21 and 18.
Roy had been employed as a store clerk in Cartwright, Ontario for seven years prior to taking employment with CNoR during construction of the transcontinental railway. During the winter of 1912-13 Roy remained in Hinton working at Leslie Zohrab’s store while Earl continued working with the CNoR crew until completion of the transcontinental line to Vancouver in October 1915.
Roy met his future wife Theodora (Dora) Webb (March 6, 1893 - October 27, 1975) at Hinton when she stepped off the train at the end of the railway steel in spring of 1912. They were married in Edmonton September 13, 1914. A year earlier, Roy had moved onto vacant land and filed for homestead on the portion of SW2-51-26-W5, lying north of the Athabasca River at the location now known as Old Entrance. Roy built a house, general store and restaurant alongside the Canadian Northern Railway station. Dora began residence at Entrance when the railway steel reached Solomon Creek in 1913. Roy was awarded the contract for the Entrance Post Office January 1, 1915. Their first son Francis was born at home in Entrance on May 14, 1914, Clarisse (Mrs. Tom) Groat, nee Moberly, delivered the baby. Earl joined Roy in business at Entrance about 1916 after completion of the railway to the west coast and together they operated Woodley Bros. General Merchants until 1923.
Earl Woodley married Edna Badgley October 23, 1921. Edna (February 1, 1899 – May 1, 1971) was the daughter of Sarah and Ward Badgley. Ward was supervisor of the Athabasca Forest Reserve and resided at the Entrance headquarters from 1917 to 1922. Earl and Edna built a house on Roy’s homestead and lived at Entrance prior to moving to Red Pass B.C. in 1923, after that time rented their house at Entrance to various people. They bought Red Pas Hotel and operated it and E.F. Woodley General Merchandise store until retirement to Abbotsford B.C. in 1946.
After Earl’s departure from Entrance, Roy operated his store briefly as R.T. Woodley General Merchant then sold to Thomas Monaghan on June 16, 1925 and leased the store buildings at Entrance (now Old Entrance). Monaghan relocated the store and post office in 1927 to the other side of the river into a new store building that he had constructed near the original GTPR Dyke railway station, operating as Entrance General Store. The DYKE station had sat idle for ten years as the railway steel had been removed for the war effort from the GTPR. The station was rehabilitated by CNR and renamed ENTRANCE in 1927.
Roy’s wife Dora Webb had travelled from England to western Canada with her friend Connie Nickerson with intentions of going to the west coast. These two young women were among thousands of men in the area at that time involved with the construction of two major railway bridges for the two railways, the GTPR crossing at Prairie (Maskuta) Creek and the CNoR crossing of the Athabasca River near Entrance at Dyke.
In 1923, with his growing number of children, Roy Woodley had a log schoolhouse constructed at Entrance, however in 1926 with completion of the trestle west of Entrance the CNR main line by-passed this location. The rail line remained in place through Old Entrance as a spur line for the CNR to the Bliss gravel pit until 1932. The Woodley family with ten children resided at Entrance until 1933, with a short departure to Vancouver and then to Edmonton in 1925.
The Roy Woodley family relocated near Hinton in 1933 onto a new homestead filed in Dora's name. Roy and Dora had thirteen children with the last two being born after they left Entrance. Roy managed Frank Seabolt’s store in Hinton for several years, then after the Second World War briefly operated a coal mine at Hinton with his sons and later in life worked as a watchman and timekeeper at various mines and logging camps. Roy and Dora retired on their property at Hinton known as “Woodley Acres” where the Howard Johnson (Crestwood) Hotel is located.