The Hewlett Family

The Hewlett Family​

William George Hewlett and Melia Ann Hewlett left England for Canada in 1905 with seven of their children. Three of their sons were already in Canada at this time and later came to Westbank. The family first settled in Vancouver and then came to Westbank around 1910. They had 13 children, the youngest of which was born in Canada. Two children died in infancy. William was an Italian trained tailor who invented the reversible overcoat. The family first lived in cabins in the Powers Creek area. William became the Postmaster and opened a general store, he sold groceries and hardware.

In 1915 William G. Hewlett died, leaving his wife Melia to raise the family, take care of the store, and manage the post office. Melia had been used to living in a more urban area in England and it must have been a big change for her to move to Canada and settle in a place as small and remote as Westbank.

Many of the Hewlett brothers were involved in World War I, one brother was involved in World War I and II. Three sons of William G. Hewlett bought a store after returning from World War I. They managed to triple its size by 1941. The Hewlett brothers were also helped build the Westbank Community Hall (1927-28).

A daughter of William and Melia, Dorothy Hewlett, married David Gellatly. They started the Gellatly Nut Farm. Dorothy wrote A Bit of Okanagan History and also wrote for the Courier. She was a member of the editorial staff for many newspapers. Dorothy said her father was her inspiration for writing, and indeed a number of the Hewlett children became wirters of some sort. Dorothy was also part of the Suffragettes movement and was involved with the Westbank Women’s Institute. She became a lifetime member of the Okanagan Historical Society and contributed to their reports. Dorothy joined the board of the Central Okanagan Indian Friendship Society just after it was formed, in 1977. She was made an honorary member. Dorothy worked on the formation of the Okanagan branch of the Canadian Author’s Association. She has established bursaries for local students to continue schooling. ​