Archive for October, 2016|Monthly archive page

Sydney and Julia Roberts

In Alix, Alberta on October 28, 2016 at 7:08 AM

From “The Sydney Roberts Family, Written by Raymonde Roberts Archibald” from Pioneers & Progress

Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974, Friesen

Sydney Roberts came to Washington, D.C. from Leeds, England with his father and mother, Edwin and Amelia Roberts, in 1893…..

The grave of Sydney’s mother is in Washington, D.C.  When Edwin remarried … Clarence and Lawrence Stanley were babes in arms….  Edwin married Florence Tathem and returned to Canada in 1904 with Percival, Sydney, Clarence, and Lawrence Stanley.  The family lived in Lacombe for a short while….

The Roberts family took a homestead north of Castor, and it was from here that Percival, Sydney, and Lawrence Stanley enlisted in World War 1 with the Lord Strathcona Horse Regiment.  Sydney spent four years in the trenches of France.  In March of 1918, when the war was almost over, Lawrence Stanley took two horses to water, and a bomb was dropped on him. Sydney found only his belt…. The war held some pleasant moments for Sydney, however, as expressed in this note on a postcard to his brother, Clarence, At Alix “Yes I am going to bring home that French girl….”

Sydney and Julia  Huyben Roberts arrived in Alix…. …:”…Julia, who had grown up in the city of Lille, France, found life very different in the woods of the parkland…. They bought a farm from the Soldier Settlement Board… at the old junction of Highways 12 and 21….

Percival came down from the North where he was supervising…Hudson Bay Co. employees on the Mackenzie River. The River scows were the main mode of transportation and cargo distribution for for furs and supplies.  Percival Roberts was quite a character with his buckskin fringed jacket, army breeches, and moccasins….

Julia’s mother, Mrs. Octavie Vandenbrouche, came to the farm at Alix in 1923.

In Late 1939, Sydney was hospitalized by a wartime catastrophe until his death in 1958…. Grandmother Vandenbrouche was a very strong and guiding influence in the lives of Sydney’s four girls, Raymonde, Gloria, Madeleine, and Rosina, … as she and Julia struggled valiantly …after Sydney and Stanley were taken out of their lives during the relentless call of duty in the form of World War II…. Sydney’s eldest child and only son, Stanley, joined the services in 1939…and returned from Europe with a  lovely English bride….

Mansell Smith

In Alix, Alberta on October 21, 2016 at 3:43 PM

“Mansell Smith – from a tape of Mansell Smith’s voice made by B.G.P.”

Dad (Isaac Smith) and I came to Canada in 1910 … sailing from Liverpool.  We came directly to Edmonton….  While in Edmonton, I joined the Boy Scouts Troop there of which the Reverend Oswin Creighton was Scoutmaster at that time…. Mr. Creighton soon moved t Mission of Lamerton of which St. Monica’s was the central point.

My first visit to Alix was in the summer of 1910 when I came down with a scoutmaster…to help with a Boy Scout Camp which Mr. Creighton was directing. I drove him from Alix to St. Monica’s Lamerton, for a service one Sunday and mentioned that I liked the country so much.  He immediately got a job for me with Edward Parlby where I worked for three years.

The First World War was on and my brother, Sid, and I tossed a coin to see who should go overseas and who should stay on the farm.  Sid won the toss, enlisted and was killed at Passchendaele before he was quite nineteen.

H.L. Witherby was overseas so I rented his place and also some land from Henry Leslie Gladstone Worke.  In 1916 Bert came down from Edmonton….

Mother, Mary Hannah Smith nee Mansell, came here to live in 1917 and Dad, after his discharge from the Canadian Army in 1919….

About this time, Mrs. Walter (Irene) Parlby was Provincial president of the U.F.W.A.  and started a Junior U.F.A. both provincially and at Alix.  I became the first president….

About this time my sister, Norah, married William Kent in Alix and at the wedding I was best man and met the bridesmaid, Eleanor Kent. … The following year Eleanor became my wife….

Eleanor and I had three children, Sidney Kent, who was killed while on active duty with the R.C.A.F over England in world War II; Marguerite Eleanor, who is now [1974] Mrs. Norman Haywood and Oswin Creighton, called after the Reverend Oswin Creighton.

This article is taken from published in Pioneers and Progress, Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1974.It is available for sale at Alix Wagon Wheel Museum, Alix Public Library, and Alix Home Hardware.


Pioneering in Pleasant Valley

In Alix, Alberta on October 14, 2016 at 8:29 AM

From John Alexander McCutcheon – Sheila McCutcheon Sorensen

Johnny McCutcheon, my father, homesteaded S.W. 28-39-24-4 in Pleasant Valley in 1899.  He had nothing but the clothes he stood in when he left home.   I believe he worked for a Scotch couple, the McFarlanes, who lived along Haynes Creek.  Proving up was done the hard way, batching in a single board shack, clearing land with an axe and elbow grease, and breaking with a walking plow.  But in August of 1902, the quarter became his.  Two years later he married Agnes Hall.  She had come as a girl with her family from Nottingham, England where they worked in the lace mills, to Winnipeg where Granddad Hall and eldest son Dick worked in the C.P.R. shops….  Then they came west and homesteaded S.E 1/414-39-25-4.  I’ve often wondered how they and other city-reared people coped with the loneliness, and the backbreaking work necessary to exist; not to mention the hordes of mosquitos in the wet years (they were so bad, grown men were known to sit down and weep when hunting for stock in the dense bush).

In those early days no one was turned away who needed an overnight stopping place…

Many were the dances attended by young and old, and box socials, held in North Star School….

…[M]usic was always available.  The one who stands out most vividly in my memory was Nat Jameson and his banjo….

From a child’s point of view, Christmas concert was the highlight of the year.  Mother helped the teacher make bags of colored net into which treats supplied by the school board… were apportioned  How excited we were about putting our best foot forward on the stage. And the almost unbearable wait for Santa’s arrival with a treat, and hopefully a gift, for each child!

All farming was done by horse, or mule power. Breaking the “broncs” to pull plow, harrow or drill without kicking it, or the driver, to pieces, was an art in itself.

This article is taken from published in Pioneers and Progress, Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1974.It is available for sale at Alix Wagon Wheel Museum, Alix Public Library, and Alix Home Hardware

Can You Identify These Remarkable Women?

In Alix, Alberta on October 10, 2016 at 10:40 AM


  1. Barbara Villy Cormack          Anita Olson    3. Lucylle Holsworth       4.  Eve Keates
  2. Marjorie Ludvigsson 6. Muriel Lund 7.   Sheila Marryat       8. Pearl McDermand
  3. Pauline McDonald 10. Alice Nielsen    11. Beatrice Parlby    12. Irene Parlby   13. Alice Whitfield


___ taught at Gadsby Lake School and was instrumental in building a playground there.

___ founding member of Alix Wagon Wheel Museum &ran an electrical business with her husband

___ participated in drama, teacher, Girl Guide Leader,  major contributor to Pioneers & Progress

___received a “Caring Canadian “award from the Governor General in 2008.

___recognised for her good work with foster children

___First Radio Secretary & Director of Programs at CKUA, the original U of A radio station

___lived most of her life in the Stanton District, known for her beautiful flowers

___builder of community resources, member of the Rebekahs for 62 years

___first woman cabinet minister in the British Commonwealth

___received the Order of Canada for service to people with mental disabilities

___helped establish the Alix Horticultural Society, owned & operated a bakery

___secretary to many community organizations, newspaper reporter, contributor to Pioneers &

Progress & Gleanings    

___Member of United Church, Rebekah Lodge, Mirror Legion, Alix Wagon Wheel Museum.  By the time her husband returned from WW II, she had saved enough for a tractor.

Answers: 6,13,11,4,2,7,8,3,12,1,10,5,9.



Alix Agricultural Society

In Alix, Alberta on October 7, 2016 at 8:35 AM

Alix Agricultural Society – by Alice Nielsen

On April 11th, 1908, a group of fifty five residents of the Alix area, business men, farmers, ranchers, and clergymen, applied to the Minister of Agriculture of the Province of Alberta for the formation of an Agricultural Society under the Provisions of Agricultural Societies Ordinance, and on June 11th1908 the Ordinance was signed establishing the Alix Agricultural Society.

R.W. Sanderson was the first President, and W. L. (Bill) Petit was the first Secretary-Treasurer.  The first show was in 1909 in a building on Main Street.  A picture of the fair grounds shows a rail fence, and I believe it to be the fence leading to the first bridge over the C.N.R. tracks, near the present coal tipple.(1980s)

However their first big project was to buy fourteen acres of land west of Diamond Lake, known also as Alix Lake, for $564.00.  In 1910 they built a large building, and held the first fair in it that year.  Pictures show the beautiful building and the beautiful displays of vegetables and other exhibits.

The fairs carried on with Mr. Robert Whitfield as Secretary-Treasurer of the Agricultural Society, and year after year the exhibits of livestock, poultry, hogs, cooking, handicrafts, gardening, etc. grew in size and quality…. Another building was later erected on the grounds, and sometimes dances were held in it.

The last big fair was in 1940, when World War II was in progress.  After that, the buildings were closed, and the Central Alberta Dairy Pool creamery in Alix used them for storing crates…. In 1956 they were sold by the Alix Athletic and Agricultural Association, torn down, and the materials used for rebuilding in other locations.

This article is taken from “Alix Agricultural Society”,  published in Gleanings, (the follow-up book to Pioneers and Progress), Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1981. Both books are available for sale at Alix Wagon Wheel Museum, Alix Public Library, and Alix Home Hardware.