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Archive for July, 2016|Monthly archive page

Letter by Giles Estell

In Alix, Alberta on July 29, 2016 at 12:00 PM

The following are some excerpts from a letter written by Mr. Giles Estell to the Union Paper in Lake Crystal, Minnesota, from Lamerton, Alberta, February 28, 1904.

“After being here for some time in “Sunny Alberta”, I thought I would write to you about our prosperous country.  It froze up here Nov. 7, and from that time to February 1, we have had a mild open winter with very little snow.  Stock fed on the range up to the time mentioned.  It has been cold here since Feb. l, with snow about a foot deep on the level.  The mercury ranged from ten to thirty five below [Fahrenheit] with very little wind.

The country is somewhat rolling, with a dark loam soil just sandy enough to make it fine for agricultural purposes.  There are a number of lakes, but especially Buffalo Lake, which is noted for its size and beauty.  There are all kinds of fish to be caught in this lake, even suckers.  We had a fine pickerel for our Thanksgiving dinner that weighed twenty five pounds and measured four feet from tip to tip – how is that?  Can you beat it down there?  There is lots of fishing through the ice.

Our fuel consists of coal and wood which is in great abundance.  The principal coal mines are ten to twelve miles from us.  (The wood costs us nothing but work and time.) Coal costs from $1.25 to $1.50 per ton at the mines.  It is soft, with no soot to blacken the rooms.  This is a great stock country and that is all that is raised here, excepting what feed a rancher wants for his own use.  I saw cattle on the range last fall as fat as cattle would have been if fed on corn for six months.  The grass here seems more fattening after frost than before.  It also makes fine hay if put up in time.  There is lots of game birds and other small game.  As for the coyotes, I am lulled to sleep at night by their yodelling.  There are a few eagles here and numerous pelican at Buffalo Lake.

At present, we have to haul our goods from a town called Lacombe, forty miles from here: it takes three days to make the trip with a load. (Note: Lacombe is now only 26 miles from here by modern roads.  In those days they had to drive around a lot of muskegs and sloughs.)

We are expecting a railroad this coming summer as it was surveyed early last fall.  It will run a few miles west of us.

There is plenty going on such as surprise and card parties, also dances, with a “kissing bee” between so you see I have no time to get lonesome…. There are quite a few English people in this part, but mostly they are from the States: Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Michigan….

Yours truly,

G.J. Estell

This article is from the book Pioneers and Progress, a history of the Alix-Clive area printed in 1974by DW Friesen and Sons Ltd., Calgary.  Copies of it and of its follow-up Gleanings are available for sale at the Alix Public Library, Alix Wagon Wheel Museum, and Alix Home Hardware.

 

Clive (Valley City)

In Alix, Alberta on July 22, 2016 at 12:00 PM

“The Village of Clive was incorporated the 14th of February, 1912.  The first Councillors were: Mr. Fulthorpe, Mr. Longstreet and Mr. Douglas Wilson, the Secretary-Treasurer was L.R. McDonald and the Assessor A.A. Smith.  The first taxation rate was 20 mills for municipal purposes and 10 mills for school purposes.  To finance the Village, the council was empowered to borrow $100.00 from the Union bank and as time went on, more money was needed and $500.00 was borrowed….

Some of the first settlers …were Fred Allison, who had a small store and who had taken over the Post Office from Sammy Johnson (who had taken it over from Mr. Jones), called Urquhart.  This was situated on the site that is now the Cemetery.  Mr. Allison moved the store and Pot Office into Clive, and sold the store to Mr. Brereton.  The Post Office and one telephone were in the Big Store until they were moved to a building built by A.C. Johnstone.  The building was later sold to B.F. Allison.  Fred Allison also had a Real-Estate office in his building for a number of years.

A livery stable was built by G.H. Woods and later purchased by J.T. Reynolds. A blacksmith shop was built by O. Urick, later sold to Lee Phares and then to Percy Shove…. One of the earlier businesses was a creamery operated by Mr. Brereton… which was later called the Golden Rod Creamery also a store which later was operated in this building by Mr. and Mrs. Tom Handley….

The Postmasters who served Clive and district through the years are as follows: Mr. Jones, Sammy Johnson, F.E. Allison, A.C .Johnstone, B.F. Allison, Mr. Coote, Vin Duffy, R. Sissons, S. Graden.

At one time Clive had two newspapers.  The first one (in 1915) was called the Clive News Record with J.H. Salton as editor.  The second paper – The Clive Review – was edited by Mr. Beachman

In the year 1915 the Village Council received an application for permission to install a gasoline bowser on the street.  Council refused permission stating that this would be dangerous to pedestrians, two months later the application was again received and permission was granted to install it behind the store premises so that it would in no way endanger the pedestrians.”

This article is from the book Pioneers and Progress, a history of the Alix-Clive area printed in 1974by DW Friesen and Sons Ltd., Calgary.  Copies of it and of its follow-up Gleanings are available for sale at the Alix Public Library, Alix Wagon Wheel Museum, and Alix Home Hardware

Farming in the Thirties

In Alix, Alberta on July 15, 2016 at 12:00 PM

 From “The Mont Nielsen Story” by Alice Nielson

“1930 was the year of black storms, no one had ever seen anything like it.  I remember one that came up about the time school was let out. Mont dashed in saying he was going to see if the youngsters got home.  Soon my house was full.  The coal oil lamp was useless.  One little girl had run west, across the Bruce place to Mr. Berg’s.  Mont rode all over looking for her, and finally heard her crying by the lakes.  He put her on his horse with him and took her home.  Of course this was just the beginning of the dirty thirties and the bad depression. We worked hard.  Mont drove as many as twelve head of horses in the field and we always had enough grain to feed them through the hard work in the spring.  We drove a team on a buggy and cutter, so the gas companies made no money from us.  In 1937, we had fifty acres of oats that went 100 bus. 

When we were married, we had bought the homestead from Mont’s father.  It had a barn with a thatched roof on it.  It had been repaired once, with rye, grown, and cut then flailed out in the old driveway.  The straw was tied into bunches or small bundles and then fastened to the roof in the same manner as shingles, with the rows overlapping and a wide board for a ridge board.  This was a very big job so as time went on boards were nailed on as patches until finally the thatch was all removed.”

This article is from the book Pioneers and Progress, a history of the Alix-Clive area printed in 1974by DW Friesen and Sons Ltd., Calgary.  Copies of it and of its follow-up Gleanings are available for sale at the Alix Public Library, Alix Wagon Wheel Museum, and Alix Home Hardware.

George Darlow

In Alix, Alberta on July 8, 2016 at 11:32 AM

From “George Darlow”, by Frank Darlow

“As a baby I came with my father and mother … from England to Red Deer….  In either 1905 or 1906 we came to Alix where my Dad opened a real-estate office.  We lived in a house next to Sim’s Livery Stable for some years before moving to the house on Lake Street.  Pettets lived on one side and the other side was vacant right to the Grand Trunk Pacific Station.  Two sisters were born in Alix, Dorothy in 1907 and Edwinna in 1911…. As a small boy, I remember being so proud of our senior baseball team who won the “Calgary Brewery Cup” and held it for quite some time.  Also there was the Citizen’s Band which flourished for several years.  My Dad played cornet in this band and in about 1912 or 1913 I joined also, playing or rather “blowing” a trombone….

I must not forget to mention the Alix Fall Fair.  I remember this as being the big event of the year and we all really looked forward to it….

We had a fairly good school baseball team… even though we were always short of equipment.  We made many Saturday trips to Mirror to play their school team.  We usually made these trips with a team of horses and a wagon, but occasionally some boy took a horse to ride as well.  This was an easier way to travel, and I can recall as many as three boys all riding bareback on the same horse….

One incident I’ll always remember.  One afternoon at recess about four of us had a little joke on our teacher… a man who lived in the country about a mile.  He drove to school in a buggy which he would leave at the school barn during the day.  We reversed his buggy wheel, putting the small ones on the rear and the big ones on the front and he couldn’t figure out what was wrong and drove home in that fashion after school.  Nearly everyone noticed his predicament and got a huge kick out of it.  Next morning, however, it was a different story – he just about wore out a new strap on our poor hands.”

This article was excerpted  from “George Darlow – by Frank Darlow”in Pioneers and Progress, a history of the Alix-Clive area printed in 1974 by DW Friesen and Sons Ltd., Calgary.  Copies of it and of its follow-up Gleanings are available for sale at the Alix Public Library, Alix Wagon Wheel Museum, and Alix Home Hardware.