From “Thomas Uriah Blair – by Rose Ann (Blair) Schmaltz and Dennis Blair

In Cattle, Churches, Coal Mining, Delburne, Eclipse, Farming, Gaetz Valley, Gardens, Pleasant Valley on March 22, 2020 at 1:01 AM

From “Thomas Uriah Blair – by Rose Ann (Blair) Schmaltz and Dennis Blair

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

Thomas Uriah Blair was born at Lorette, Kentucky January 13th, 1860.  Annie Gedruty Kennedy was born in Miama County, Minn., April 20th 1862.  They were married about May 19, 1885.

They emigrated to the Pleasant Valley District … about April 10th, 1899, with their family, Nancy, Dennis, Thomas, James, Rose Ann, John, and Catherine. Uncle Guss Kennedy and a friend met us in Lacombe.  They took us by team and sleigh through a foot of slush and snow to Uncle Dave Kennedy’s home.  We lived there for a time and moved to the George Wood place.  It was an old log house with dirt floor and sod roof.  We could not live there as it rained so much and the roof leaked badly.  Dad filed on homestead S.W. 32-39-24-4 in Pleasant Valley.  He got a job with Mr. J.L. Walters for the summer.  Mr. Walters was away with his invalid wife who died later.  We lived in his house until Dad and the neighbours built a house on Dad’s homestead.  We moved into it…[on] April 20th, 1899.  The neighbours supplied us with vegetables, and we trapped prairie chickens, partridges and rabbits, using muskrat traps with grain set on the “plate”, and snares for the rabbits.  Dad earned money enough to buy a cow.  That winter he operated a “drift mine” for coal at the Red Deer River….

Uncle Dave’s land joined ours on the east and he and Dad worked together and put in a huge garden. In the fall the neighbours all came and helped Dad get his crop in for the winter, and Dad worked all around helping other neighbours to get their crops gathered in.  In the fall of 1900 dad moved us all to the coal mines.  Mother baked bread for the other miners and served meals to the coal haulers. In the spring of 1901, we moved back to the farm ….

Dad made enough money to buy a team of mules, so he could put in our own crop and take it off.  He used to walk to and from the mines, and to and from Lacombe for groceries, and carry them home on his back….

In the fall we picked blueberries and other wild fruit…. In 1901 the North Star School was built and we started school, the first schooling we had since we arrived in 1899…. In the fall of 1904 Dad sold our farm to Link Morrical for 108 head of cattle and some cash. We moved to the Rowley place until the spring of 1905, where we attended the Eclipse School. 

On February 8, 1905 Dad moved us across the river to brother Den’s place in Gaetz Valley District.  He built the Gaetz Valley School and a log church in the country, also St. Michael Catholic Church in the town of Delburne…. We farmed there until 1917. Dad bought the Delburne Hotel and operated it until 1920.He sold it toa Mr. Leach and built a home where they resided until 1942 when they retired….

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