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From “Thomas and Margaret Semple History – By Jean Hutchison and Margaret Rice”

In 1930s Depression, Alix, Alberta, Farming, Mirror AB, Pioneer Farming, Pioneer Medical Health, Pioneer tools & Machinery, Railway, School, School Teachers, Settlers, Stone School District on February 16, 2020 at 4:40 PM

From “Thomas and Margaret Semple History – By Jean Hutchison and Margaret Rice”

Pioneers and Progress Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

In 1910 Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Semple emigrated from Scotland, arriving in Calgary in a snow storm on the first day of June.

They spent the first winter in the village of Alix, moving onto a farm (N.E. 6-39-23-W4) about nine miles south west of Alix in the spring of 1911.

Mother found it quite lonely in a new country, after life in the city of Glasgow.  A trained nurse, she was much in demand when illness struck a family…. Mother helped to deliver a good number of babies…. It might mean a drive of 10 to 15 miles with a team and sleigh or buggy.  She would be expected to take care of the mother and new baby, as well as the other children in the family, cook the meals and do all the other household chores.

We used to walk to Stone School, going across the Stone fields part of the way.  Jean started with Miss Clowse (1918).  The old double desks had been dismantled, and we used them to coast down the hill.  Slates were just on the way out.  Miss Clowse got some clay from a nearby creek bank and we did our own version of ceramics.  We used willows for weaving small articles, had plasticine, colored pegs, paper mats to weave etc. The old Waterbury heater took till about recess to throw out much heat in the winter.  We sat around the stove until we thawed out enough to walk around.

There was little, if any, playground equipment, perhaps a bat and ball.  We played steal sticks, run sheep run, drop the handkerchief, fire on the mountain and other favorites.

Later, Stone School was moved to a different location….

Early teachers were Miss Green in 1912 or 1913, Miss Skeuse, Miss Clowse 1918, Miss Edith Code, Miss Bradshaw, Miss Freddie Halpin, Miss Gough, Miss Treena Hunter 1922-23, Miss Harriet Stone, Miss Graham, Lorne Trace, Miss Hawthorne, Miss Chisholm.

We lived about half a mile from the C.N. Railway on the Mirror-Nordegg (Brazeau) line.  I recall a crew of Chinese building or repairing the line in the early days.  Probably the coal from Nordegg made up most of the freight that was hauled.

In the early days coal from the mines on the Red Deer River was the main source of fuel and it was hauled many miles.  Long strings of teams, often with four horses and sleighs would pass our place all winter.  The men sometimes wore buffalo coats and quite often walked beside the sleigh to keep warm.

Dad made trips to Lacombe occasionally, a distance of 30 miles, with a team and wagon to deliver lambs to market.  This took two days for the round trip.  Dad had been accustomed to raising sheep as a boy in Scotland and continued to do so after he came to Canada.  During the depression years of the 1930’s, the price for wool was very low.  I remember once, instead of a cheque for the wool we shipped, we received a small bill for the freight…. In later years, he built up a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle.

The first car our parents owned was a Model T. Ford, purchased about 1924 0r 1925.  Learning to drive was a real experience.  The roads were narrow and usually had mudholes at the foot of each hill.  Gravel wasn’t available and when it rained, we just stayed at home.  Living on a hill was the most convenient, as when the car wouldn’t start we would haul it around with a team of horses.

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