Archive for August, 2016|Monthly archive page

The Rufus Belt Story

In Alix, Alberta on August 26, 2016 at 12:00 PM

From “The Rufus Belt Story” by Harley Belt

“My father, Isaac Rufus Belt, was born in 1855….[and] he came to Canada in 1901…. He worked around the country to earn enough to bring his family here. One person he worked for was J.B. Cundiff and was paid with a $50.00 American Bank Note. He homesteaded across the River on the river flat and put up a log cabin, and some other buildings.

In 1902, a young man who gave his name as Ellsworth, stopped and stayed a few days. Some neighbours met him there; then both men disappeared. The police were notified and they found that Ellsworth was really Cashel, whom the police were seeking for forgery. Cashel was found on May 14, 1903, and was sentenced to three years in jail.

Father’s body was found that summer, July 23, opposite the Haynes Creek, where it empties into the Red Deer River. He had been shot in the back. When Cashel had left, after putting Father in the river, he took his horse and saddle and money belt with a $50.00 American Bank Note in it. These were recovered long before Father’s body was found.

Cashel was put on trial October 19, 1903. Since the police had an air tight case, Cashel had lost much of his composure. His lawyer was Paddy Nolan, Alberta’s all time great criminal lawyer, but Cashel was sentenced to be hanged, December 15, 1903. His brother smuggled a gun to him and he broke jail. Then followed one of the most noted mounted police manhunts on record. He was, however, captured and the hanging sentence carried out February 2, 1904.

There were six of us in my family, three boys and three girls.”

You can read more about Cashel’s lawyer, Paddy Nolan, here

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.

Medicine in Pioneer Days

In Alix, Alberta on August 19, 2016 at 12:00 PM

From “Medicine in Pioneer Days” by Dr. A.E. Shore

“I commenced the practice of “Medicine” in rural Alberta in 1911 and rented the Dr. Graham building as my office and used the upstairs for a small hospital which accommodated four or five patients. Dr.Graham was the second doctor who served the Alix area and was appreciated by all.

During this period … the doctors in rural areas did not have access to X-rays, laboratories, consultants etc., but had to rely on one’s own resources and abilities. Frequently the doctor had to drive with horses many miles to examine patients. He had to take equipment with him as he did not know what the patient’s disability was until his examination was completed. Most roads were mud in the Spring and Summer seasons and snow in Winter. So, the automobile was impractical most of the year.

My early hospital training as an Intern extended over a period of nearly two years. However, with all that training it was impossible to see all the various ailments and injuries to which the human body is subjected. I had been only a few days in Alix when I was called to attend to a patient who had been knocked down by a bull. I naturally expected to find broken bones. I had never seen a patient with a dislocated hip. On examination, one leg appeared longer than the other which gave a clue to the diagnosis. I gave him chloroform anesthesia and with manipulations, the dislocation was reduced in a few minutes.

Also during the first few days, I had two cases of appendicitis. The first was operated on and the recovery was incomplete in the usual time and the patient is still living. The second was a young lad of fourteen. He was brought in on a stretcher and had been ill for a few days. He had a ruptured appendix. I opened the abdomen and put in drainage, but he died the next day from peritonitis. The Calgary branch of the GRAND TRUNK PACIFIC railways was under construction and there were patients with injuries most of the year of 1912. I had frequent trips by hand car to visit patients with injuries South of the Red Deer River.”

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.

Peter Russell and Family

In Alix, Alberta on August 12, 2016 at 12:00 PM

From “Peter Russell and Family”, by grand-daughter Viola Russell Mattie

Peter Russell (1856 – 1941) and his wife Janet (1855 – 1940) were Scottish.

“In 1894 [Peter] came with his family to Canada.  It took ten days to cross the ocean.  They landed at Quebec where they took the train for Red Deer, Alberta.  The coaches were made of wood and they had to prepare their own meals.  After consultation at the land office in Red Deer, Mr. Russell walked out to the Canyon District where he chose a homestead.  

The neighbours had a house building bee for them, men came with two teams of horses, a walking plough and axes.  They cut large logs for the walls and smaller ones for the roof which was covered first with hay, then with sods they had ploughed and cut into pieces, which were called “government shingles.”

A sod roof was fine in dry weather, but after two or three days of rain, it would start to drip and continue to do so for some time after the rain had stopped.

In the spring of 1895, Mr. Russell went back to England to work at his old job as they needed more capital.  The family stayed until 1896, when they decided to go back too….

[Two sons,] John and Charles came back to Canada during the gold rush in the spring of 1898.  They worked for neighbours, haying, herding cattle, etc.  Charlie McLeod had squatters rights on a quarter of land south of Alix on the river, where he had built a log house, barn and corrals.  He sold his squatter rights to John including land and buildings for $15.00.  Mrs. Russell came to this home when she came back to Canada with the other children in 1899.  She homesteaded this quarter by proxy for her husband who came back to stay in 1900….

In the early years, the boys didn’t have much land under cultivation but raised cattle and horses.  In winter they mined and at one time there were twenty-two coal chutes on the river bank.  Coal sold for $1.25 per ton and most of it was hauled by teams up the river on ice…. One team of horses could haul two and a half tons.”

This article is from the book 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


Country School Districts – Carroll

In Alix, Alberta on August 5, 2016 at 12:00 PM

The first settlers to arrive in the Carroll district were Mr. and Mrs. John Guss, and Elvey and Mandy;  Mr. and Mrs. Merrifield with Jesten and Ernest; and Mr. and Mrs. W.N. Jaeck.  The Carroll family came to settle in 1903. Other early family names  included Anderson, Bissett , Docherty , Papineau, Jaeck,  Sanderson,  Sundberg , Stothard and Walker. The first meeting to form the Carroll School District No. 1049 was held on June 18, 1904.  The Carroll community Club began in the 1930s, dissolved in 1944, then reorganized in 1951, when they bought the Carroll School building from the Stettler School Division.  It was then known as the Good Will Club, but in 1955 was incorporated under the name, Carroll Community Club.

A letter written by Charles Stothard in 1910 states, “I came to this country in 1893 and settled nine miles east of Lacombe.  I lived there for eleven years… and went back to Ontario.  I stayed in Ontario only two years.  That was enough for me there.  I tried Los Angeles, California…three years was enough and I came back to Sunny Alberta.  I have raised fourteen crops in Alberta and never lost a crop.  For stock this country cannot be beaten.”

(information from Pioneers & Progress Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974)