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from “Walter C.H. Parlby – by Humphrey M. Parlby”

In Alix, Alberta, Churches, Famous 5 Persons Case, Museums, Organizations, Pioneer Farming, Settlers on July 31, 2018 at 8:05 AM

From “Walter C.H. Parlby – by Humphrey M. Parlby”, Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive History Club 1974, printed by D.W. Friesen & Sons, Calgary.

Walter Parlby was born at Manadon, Crown Hill, near Plymouth, Devon, England, May 31, 1862.  … he went to Oxford, where he graduated with an M.A, degree.

After leaving Oxford, he went to Assam as manager of a tea plantation for two years… [and then] to Canada to see how his brother was getting along.

He arrived at his brother Edward’s Ranch at Wolf Creek, a few miles west of the present town of Ponoka.  This was in 1890 and there was no railway between Calgary and Edmonton, so he had to come up with the mail….  and when they got to Red Deer, the river was in flood and the ice going out.  The crossing was tricky.  You had to go out to a sand bar in the middle of the river then down a few hundred yards and then over to the north bank…… Edward was at the crossing to meet his brother and drove him on to the ranch at Wolf Creek.

Walter thoroughly enjoyed the life and decided then and there to go into partnership with Edward.  That summer when they found out that the new railway between Calgary and Edmonton was going to go right through their place, they decided to move.  In the summer of 1887, Edward had made a trip around Buffalo Lake, and had spotted what is now known as Parlby Lake. It had good hay flats close by, and unlimited range.  They settled on the west end of the lake, and called the new place, Long Valley Ranch…

In 1895, Walter applied for a Mission Grant of 40 acres, which became the Mission of Lamerton, and the little log church of St. Monica’s was built….

In 1896, Edward married Anne Wilkins of Red Deer, and the brothers’ partnership was dissolved.  Walter then started Dartmoor Ranch on the north side of the lake.  After the survey was finished, they found they were both living on the same quarter section…. In 1897, Walter married Irene Marryat…. They had one son, Humphrey, born November 15th, 1899.

Up until 1900, life consisted of cattle and horse ranching.  A few acres of oats were put in for the horses….  August and September w[ere] spent putting up hay.  The only machinery was a horse-drawn mower and a dump rake…. Fires were a constant menace, both spring and fall….

The winter of 1906,1907 will be long remembered as one of the coldest on record. Six feet of snow and temperatures down to 68 degrees below zero [F.]….

In 1908, we had a telephone installed…. 1909 Sandersons installed gasoline lights…. 1910 Model T. Fords made their first appearance…. In 1918 a Delco Light Plant was installed.

After 1921, as my mother was in the Alberta government, and Father was … the U.F.A. director for Red Deer, they decided to sell Dartmoor and buy a place closer to town.  Major Amphlett’s place, a mile north of town was for sale…. My father bought it.  Dartmoor was sold, but the deal did not go through….

My father had a heart attack in 1946, and in the spring of 1948, Walter and Irene came back to Dartmoor.  Walter passed away in February 1952.  Irene continued to enjoy working in the garden until she too passed away in 1965 at the grand old age of ninety-seven.

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