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The grand old lady of the Nelson Daily News

Updated: Sep 9, 2019

When the Nelson Daily News celebrated its 50th anniversary in April 1952, they printed a special supplement that included mugshots of all of their employees. The most intriguing was Amelia Thompson, about whom a short story appeared elsewhere in the same section:

“She was highly respected,” says Alan Ramsden, who then worked at CKLN, the radio station owned by the Daily News. “She was one of the proofreaders, particularly of misused words, like their/there/they’re. She’d been there so long, she was like part of the masonry!”

Amelia (Minnie or Frannie) Precious was born in Cobourg, Ont. on June 16, 1862, the middle of three children to Joseph and Elizabeth Mansel Dawkins Precious. She married Robert Thompson in Northumberland in 1887, and a son, Joseph Malcolm, was born to them at Caledonia in 1893. Their marriage certificate is seen at right.

They moved to Nelson in 1912 and lived at 118 High Street. The house (seen below right, date unknown) is still standing.

Robert, a teacher, moved back to Ontario around 1924 and died there ten years later, age 73, but Minnie and her son remained in Nelson. She was 56 when she began working at the Daily News in 1918.

While that would be close to retirement age for most people, she was just getting started. In all, she was associated with the newspaper for 39 years and was presented with a long service award on her 94th birthday by company president R.H. Green. By then, she was still coming in twice a month, but a broken hip finally forced her off the payroll.

According to a later account, after she was moved to Mount St. Francis, current and former newspaper staff “would be given a hearty welcome when they visited this game old lady and she would say ‘Oh, but I wish I were back at the News.’”

She died on Dec. 13, 1957, age 96, and was buried in Nelson. Her obituary called her the “grand old lady of the Nelson Daily News.” Oddly, however, her death registration listed her occupation as “at home,” i.e. a housewife. She was survived by her son and two grandchildren, all of Nelson.

The pictures seen here were provided by her great granddaughter, Janet Jeffery. The following clipping is an undated letter to the editor from the Nelson Daily News. While it doesn’t name any names, it is unmistakably about Amelia Thompson.

Updated on Dec. 27, 2018 to add the images from Janet Jeffery.

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