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Archive for the ‘Pioneer Farming’ Category

Pioneer Household Work

In Alix, Alberta, lye soap making, Pioneer Farming, pioneer food preservation, pioneer household work on May 5, 2021 at 2:57 AM

From “The Pemberton Story – “Things I Remember”- by Ella Jane Jewell

Gleanings After Pioneers and Progress, Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1981

Soap Making

Pioneer wives were too busy to waste time feeling sorry for themselves.  One of their duties was soap making. Any kind of fat would make soap.  Some people used canned lye, but if they didn’t have any, they stirred wood ashes in a wooden barrel of rain water, and after setting for a time the water was the same as the water containing lye.  The fat and lye water were boiled together.  I don’t know if they used a recipe or if they just made it. If not boiled enough, it would just take a longer period of time to harden and cure.  I remember it took a lot of stirring as it boiled over quickly.  When the boiling process was done the soap was poured, after cooling a bit, into a wooden box lined with cloth.  After a few days it was cut into bars and stored for future use with the old corrugated washboard. It was hard on hands, but it turned out clean white clothes.

Making Jelly Glasses

One warm summer day I watched Mom make jelly glasses from empty bottles.  Dad had picked them up from the railroad camp.  String soaked in coal oil was tied around them and lit with a match, and as soon as the fire burned around it, the bottle was dropped into a tub of cold water.  Most of them broke off neatly and were used for years.  Of course, care was needed to wash and dry them, but Mom did that herself.  We were trusted with the other dishes, and any little girl old enough to stand on a chair by the table was old enough to help.

Canning and Drying Food

Before Mom had sealers for canning, they dried saskatoons. They were tough and seedy, but people boiled them; discarded the berries, and used the juice. Dried peaches and prunes could be bought, but usually only a couple of trips were made to town in a year, and several days were needed for the long trip to Lacombe.  Money was scarce and saskatoons were plentiful, so pioneers used whatever was available.

Threshing Time at the Thomas Farm

In Farming, Leedale, Pioneer Farming, Pioneer tools & Machinery, Threshing on April 27, 2021 at 12:56 PM

From “Threshing Time – by Howard and Iona Thomas”

Gleanings After Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1981

A tribute is due all the farmers for all their hard work, long hours, and worry through the spring, summer and fall: their reward being a crop that was in the granary before the first snow fell.

A tribute also to the farmers’ wives, for the extra chores they carried while the husbands were away threshing.  For their long hours of cooking and baking, and making sure that lunch was to the field on time.  Their reward was the thrill of watching strong men devour great quantities of home cooking, and, once in a while, even getting a few compliments. After tummies were full, with a fresh burst of energy, the men would take off for work again, determined to get the crop in before winter caught them.

To a small boy, the best part of threshing was lunch in the field with Dad and the threshing crew! 

To the threshermen, the challenge of a hard job well done!  They always took great pride in their well cared for teams of horses.  The horses were fed first thing in the morning, at noon, and properly cared for at night, before the men had breakfast or supper.  Anyone that would mistreat horses soon went down the road.

We had five young fellows from Leedale District who came to thresh with us for five years in a row. They were the Herringer twins, Harry and Harold, Joe and Ivan Cornforth, and Bruce Johnson. 

Pike and Ella Thomas always raised turkeys, and every year the story went something like this, “That sure is a beautiful bunch of turkeys out there, Ella.  I guess I’ll have to steal one of them some night and have a turkey feed,” says Joe.  “If you can catch that big gobbler, “says Ella, “I’ll cook it!”  To make a long story short, the gobbler always lost his head, and the threshers had a full course turkey dinner.

SCHOOL GARDENS

In Alix, Alberta, Gardens, Organizations, Pioneer Farming, School, U.F.W.A. on April 18, 2021 at 5:21 PM

“Children’s Gardens- By Alice Nielsen”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1974

Before 4H groups were formed in Alix, I thought of having small gardens for children.  Since I belonged to the local U.F.W.A., I presented my idea to the Ladies and they went along with it whole heartedly.  So in the spring of 1947 we bought packages of seeds and portioned them out in small envelopes. That first year the age limit was 14 years and under but the next year it was lowered to 12 years and under and somewhere along the way it was changed to under 12 years.

The D.A. gave us advice but now [1973] 26 years later plans are being made for improvements in the general set-up.  Last year we gave extra plaques to winners as 25th Anniversary mementos.

The first year the gardens were divided into town and country as the country gardens had so many hazards and no water sprinklers, as the town gardens were so much better.  Some of the country hazards were pigs, gophers, and even a gosling. Of later years the gardens have reversed and the country gardens are of far better quality.

The winners of the first gardens were – town – 1st Ross Lyle, 2nd Hugh Thorp, 3rd Connie Lyle. Country – 1st Larry Primus, 2nd Elaine Primus, 3rd Walter Hopkins. There were 47 children that took seeds, the youngest was Alder Nielsen.  True, he did get weeds and plants mixed up much to his older brother Eric’s disgust.

Seeds have been distributed to as many as 90 children, then in the fall teams of women and children drove around eliminating the poorest gardens so the judges had less to do. After a few years it was decided to have a Children’s own Show with a tea, bake sale, and a raffle to help with expenses, the last week of August. These made them pretty well self supporting. The raffle has been a stuffed toy that the Lacombe Globe gave away with subscriptions, and Mrs. Rouse has kindly gotten the necessary subscriptions.  With the higher cost of seed, it has been harder.  There has always been a set of rules with cultivation given 25 points so an industrious youngster can win more points even if one of its plants didn’t grow.  However, this hasn’t stopped ambitious little folks, all through the times, from going home and planting their seeds period. No one knows just where.

All through the years since 1950, trophy cups have been given to the aggregate winners.  Also shields with the winner’s name for each year are kept for display. In 1964, Alberta Nurseries and Seeds presented the F.W.U.A. with a marble-based, silver rose bowl with nine shields to be used each year.  The winner keeps it for a year and gets the privilege to polish the bowl before returning it. 

Now daughters and sons of mothers and fathers that had gardens earlier have won many prizes in these later years.

[Some of these prizes can be seen at the Alix Wagon Wheel Museum.]

John and Muriel Hennel

In Alix Arena, Alix, Alberta, Business, Dairy Pool, Farming, Pioneer Farming, Pioneer tools & Machinery, School, Settlers, Sports News on April 2, 2021 at 5:52 PM

From “John Christian Hennel – by Muriel Hennel and B. Parlby”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

John Christian Hennel was born on April 23, 1909 of Esthonian parents whose country was at that time under the control of Russia.  His father, William, and his mother, Ida Anete, and their seven children emigrated from the city of Tver to Canada and settled to the south of Stettler.  John, the youngest of the family, was only one month old.

After their arrival in Alberta, three more children were added to the family before tragedy struck in 1915 when William died suddenly…. Ida faced the challenge of bringing up all ten [children] as a close-knit family as well as operating the family farm very successfully.  With her help, all her sons were gradually established on farms of their own.

John was educated at Descendo School near his family home….

While living and working on his mother’s farm, John hauled cream to the Central Alberta Dairy Pool at Alix, then under the management of Mr. Nels Larson.

On December 21st of 1935, John married Muriel Knight whose parents were among the Alix District’s early settlers.  In 1936, the Hennels built their first little house in Alix….

About this time the C.A.D.P. purchased a fleet of trucks to collect cream…. John was now put in charge of servicing the entire fleet and operated the shop to the north of the plant.

When the trucks were later sold, John bought the Creamery equipment and went into his machine shop business on his own.  On the first day of December 1945, John moved into his newly built Hiway Machine Shop which the Hennels have operated ever since. [1974]  Muriel has always been his right hand assistant, keeping the books and looking after repair parts.  Muriel was also a car saleslady for Adamson Motors for two years and was top saleslady for her district.

Gradually John obtained first class papers in mechanics and welding so in demand in a country area.  Oil field welding is his specialty.

The Hennel’s daughter, Maxine, was born on July 18th, 1943 and obtained her public and high school education in the Alix Schools.  Later she took a business course in the Key Secretarial School at Red Deer.  Maxine’s skating talent in the carnivals in the Alix Arena will be long remembered.  In 1964 Maxine married Eugene Winchester of Red Deer.

They have three children, a boy, Gerry, Gay and Gid.

Former Residents of Alix (2)

In 1930s Depression, Alix, Alberta, Business, Churches, Dance Band, Farming, Organizations, Pioneer Farming, Settlers, World War !! on March 28, 2021 at 9:54 AM

From “People of Alix – as suggested by Gordon and Flora Wilton” (2)

Gleanings After Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1981

Flemming: Mr. Flemming used to have a tailor shop in the old Underwood Building on Main Street in the 1920’s.  He made suits fitted to order for his customers.

Henry: Henrys kept the drug store on the corner during the 1930’s.  Mrs. Henry was a trained druggist.  This store contained many things attractive to young people….The two sons, Frank and Jack, attended school in Alix.

Hurley, Nora: Nora Hurley came out to Canada with her brothers from Ireland in 1911 and lived with or near them south of Alix.

Jones, Eric: was a veteran of World War I who took up a quarter section of land under the Soldiers Settlement Scheme Board.  He played the banjo to the accompaniment of Tom Bullivent’s piano for the dances. He retired to the coast of British Columbia.

Loney: Mr. Loney drove the bus from Alix to Edmonton via Camrose.  The children attended Alix School.  Everett Loney lives in Blackfalds [1981] and has been Brand Inspector for some years.

Marks: Mr. Marks was Mr. Loney’s father-in-law, Mrs. Marks was very active in the U.C.W.  they lived east of Alix near the overhead bridge.

Matheson, George: George Matheson worked as a mechanic in Lymbery’s or perhaps Holling’s garage.

Monts: Two brothers and their families lived in the old Early house on Lake Streetin the 1920’s.  They were probably brothers of Mrs. Oscar Sims.

Morgan, George: Mr. and Mrs. George Morgan and their family arrived from Britain some time after World War I to take up land two miles north of Alix under the Soldiers Settlement Board.  They arrived in Alix when the creek was in food.  Ulric Marryat met them at the train with his team and democrat.  On the way to their new home the team went off the grade covered with water and they got stuck.  Mrs. Morgan and the little ones had to be carried to dry land before they could continue their journey.  The boys’ names were Merlin, Herbert, and Benny.  Their sister’s name was Enid. Herbert married Isabel Martin and they had two daughters, Shirley and Pat.

Madsens lived near the overpass and not far from the Free Methodist campground.  A daughter, Lydia, became a teacher in Lacombe and is now [1981] on the town council.

Owens:  Mac Owens was born in Ireland and came to Alix in 1930.  He later left to homestead I the Peace River country but found it too hard to break land so returned to alix.  Alex Findlater found him his first job at Tom Bullivant’s.  From there he went to Harbottles.  Later he took up farming on the old Toepfer place.  Then  he sold his farm and moved to Red Deer….

Jerome & Lucy (Underwood) Thomas

In Clive AB, Entertainment, Farming, freighting, Pioneer Farming, Settlers, theft, Trails on February 21, 2021 at 12:21 AM

From “The Jerome Thomas Story – by Howard Thomas”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

Jerome Thomas was born in 1854 and his wife the former Lucy Underwood was born the same year.  Grandfather came by democrat the year before moving up from Iowa to the Clive area about 1901.  His possessions were shipped to Lacombe and then moved out by wagon.  Their homestead is … NW 22-40-24-4. 

Grandma ran a “stopping house” for travellers freighting between Lacombe and Red Willow on the old Buffalo Lake trail.  This trip used to take 3-4 days.  They used to hang a lantern from the peak of the roof out the upstairs window and this could be seen as you came over Church Hill….

One fellow tells how he used to stop for supper at Thomas’ and while he was inside eating, he had a bent pin through a kernel of corn tied to a string and fastened to the wagon outside. An old hen would swallow the corn and when the traveller drove off the chicken led behind firmly tethered by that string pinned in the corn.  Once driven over the hill, ole hen would get her neck wrung. [T]hus the fellow had his next day’s dinner as well.

The Thomas children were all musical.  There were Bert, Jess, Belle, Lorena, Will, Minnie, Jim and Roy.

They played for dances miles around the country and would travel in the winter by sleigh with hot stones to keep their feet warm.

Jerome Thomas died in 1912 and Lucy Thomas in 1918….

Roy the youngest son, never married.  He stayed on the family homestead for many years. His sister Lorena Handley kept house for him.

Rude-Rottenfusser part one

In 1930s Depression, Alix, Alberta, Business, Farming, freighting, Great Bend School, Hairdressers, Pioneer Farming on February 11, 2021 at 8:59 AM

From “Rude-Rottenfusser – by Mrs. Jenny Rottenfusser” part 1

Pioneers and Progress, Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1974

My parents, Olaf and Irene Rude, were visiting at the home of his brother, John, and Lena Rude when I was born. John had homesteaded the quarter south of Jim Blades in the Delburne district.  At that time, 1917, they lived in a log house on the bank of the Red Deer River.  In the spring Dad obtained work at Cadogan until a cyclone wiped out the farmer for whom he was working.

We moved to the Millet-Wetaskiwin area and lived there until I started school at Larch Tree.  Our family included Olga, Ivan, and Nels by now.  Dad always wanted to return to the lumber camps in B.C. where he had first worked after coming from Norway.  In the spring of 1925, my parents loaded everything in two hay-racks, one wagon and a buggy, and started south.  They had twelve horses.  Another fellow drove one outfit.   One hay-rack had a canvas over it, and we lived in that, travelling like early pioneers.  It took two weeks to reach Midnapore.  I remember Mom waking Olga and me to give us our first sight of Calgary, a row of lights on the horizon. Going through Calgary, under the railroad track, barefoot ragged kids stood, yelling and throwing things and calling us gypsies.

Dad and his friend obtained work hauling pipe to Turner Valley.  They unloaded the hay-rack beside Sheep River and there we camped for some time.  There were a lot of other people camped also.  Towards fall we lived in a house in Okotoks.  I went to Pine Creek School.  Just before Christmas Dad sold the horses and wagons, and we took the train to Nevis and hired a car to take us to Uncle John’s.  My brother, Carl, was born in March.  In the spring Dad went farming for Arthur Chaffin.  We lived in the district for many years. Gordon and Stuart were born later. We all obtained our schooling at the Great Bend School.

A farmer could work out his taxes by driving the school van, usually at the rate of of thirteen days to a quarter of land.  When I was in High School I drove the van for thirty-five cents a day. When I first started to work out I received eight dollars a month.

I moved to Alix in October, 1942, and opened Jenny’s Beauty Shoppe. There had not been one since Nancy Drushka had closed hers.  Perms were $2.50, $3.50, and $5.00.  When cold waves came in I charged $6.50.  A set was 50 cents, a shampoo and set, 75 cents.  For 10 cents they could get it combed out when it was dry.  I sold out to Jean Cosentino in 1947.

Fred and Annie Stalia Fisher

In Clive AB, Enterprise School, Farming, Infrastructure, Lakeside District, Pioneer Farming, Pioneer tools & Machinery, Railway, School, Settlers on February 1, 2021 at 9:58 AM

From “Mr. and Mrs. Fred B. Fisher”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

Mr. and Mrs. Fred B. Fisher came from Kearney, Nebraska to Lacombe, Alberta and on March 1st, 1900, [they] and five daughters moved out 7 ½ miles south-east of Lacombe to the Lakeside district.  The family lived on a quarter section of land owned at that time by Mr. Darling.

Mr. Fisher purchased a team of horses, a walking plough and two sections of harrows. No one in this area owned a seed drill.  Mr. Fisher sowed his feed by broadcasting.  In his spare time Dad walked to his homestead in the Clive area and built a log house and barn on NW-20-40-24-4.

In 1903 we moved to the homestead 1 mile south-east of Clive.  The land was cleared by cutting huge trees and roots with an axe.

Directly across the trail was… the land [where] the first school was erected by Dad and some of the neighbors.  All of the labor was volunteered with no wages for anyone.

The name of this first school in the area was “Enterprise” No.701….

During this time several of the men, Dad included, prepared the site for the village of “Valley City” which was later named Clive – with a team of horses and a bob-sleigh.

Dad hauled lumber, groceries, etc. from Lacombe to Lamerton, Erskine and Alix as there were no railroads yet….

Dad, Mother and we children lived in the log house until 1918, when we moved to the Lakeside district.  Dad bought a half-section of land from Mr. Mole, who had built a lovely brick house here, in 1915.

There were quantities of delicious wild fruits, including saskatoons, chokecherries, raspberries, strawberries….

My mother’s name was Annie Stalia Fisher and our family consisted of 11 girls and I boy. They were Daisy, Myrtle, Ida (myself), Mildred, Lorena, Minnie, Rosie, Fred Jr., Josephine, Violet, Annie and Ruby….

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Johnson and their daughter Sarah, later she married Jim Grose; Mr. and Mrs. Fred Fisher and five daughters; Mrs. Ernie Short, Clem, Bill, Jennie and Grace, a baby in her mother’s arms; Mrs. Aden Joslin and her daughter rode on the same train coach from the States until we all landed in Lacombe.  Gussie, their daughter, teaching school in Minnesota, followed them here when summer holidays took place, later marrying Jim Tees.

De Jong Family

In Clive AB, Pioneer Farming, World War !! on January 31, 2021 at 12:17 PM

From “Spike and Hylke De Jong – By Mrs. Ed Morrical”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

Spike and Hylke came from the Netherlands to the Clive area in April, 1927.  Spike worked for John Duffy and Hylke worked for George Duffy.  In 1928 they went to Blackie, Alberta and then returned to Clive in the fall and purchased the land originally owned by Carl Hecht.  When they purchased it Harry Jeynes was living there.    In 1929 Spike and Hylke’s mother and dad, Mr. and Mrs. John De Jong and two daughters, Doetje and Henneka came to this farm from the Netherlands.  In 1932 they rented the McCleish place which was owned by George Scorah.  In the spring of 1932, Henneke went back to to Holland.  In 1933 Doetje married Ed Morrical.  In the fall of 1935 Spike and Hylke quit farming and Spike married Miss Minnie Monts in December.  In 1936 Spike and Minnie went to Southern Alberta to raise market gardens.  During this time Hylke worked out at various places.  In the fall Spike and Minnie returned for the fall harvest and lived on the Carl Hecht place.  In the spring of 1940, Spike moved his family to B.C….  Hylke joined the army and after the war moved to B.C. also.

In 1945, Mr. and Mrs. John De Jong moved to B.C., returning to Alberta in 1946 where they worked for Richard Bavender for one year.  In 1947 they moved to Clive where they lived until their passing.

John Anthony and Margaret Jane Thomas (Carter) Family

In 1918 "Spanish" Flu, Alix, Alberta, Cattle, Horses, Pioneer Farming, School Teachers, Settlers, Stone School District on January 19, 2021 at 2:12 AM

From “Carter Story – By Lydia Carter”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club 1974

John Anthony Carter was born in England in 1849.  His wife, Margaret Jane Thomas (Carter) was born in Wales…. [T]hey shipped by train from North Dakota in 1900.  Their family was Orlando, born 1876; Francis b. 1877, d. when 18 years old; John Edward b. 1879; Charles b, 1881; Griffin b. 1884; Les b. 1886, Evan Earl b. 1889, d. February 1920 of the “Flu”; Les died a few days later of the same epidemic; Ira died when a small boy; Archie Oral, b. 1891; Laura Ann, b. 1893.

Before they left U.S.A., they drove by team from one state to another. One incident was – Jesse James stole one of their mares but left the colt.  She kept whinnying so much that they turned her loose, and she returned home.

Arriving in Alix they settled in the Stone district and built a log house.  Fred Stewart, years later took it down, log by log, and moved it.  A frame house was guilt in 1905. Les, Eve, Archie and Laura went to Stone School.  The teacher was Belle McLeod, later Mrs. Charles Stone…. Eve married Lydia Nelson Sept. 28, 1912. For the occasion they drove a team hitched to a democrat borrowed from the Larkin Bros. Myrtle Nielsen attended Lydia while Archie Carter was best man…. Reverend R. White married them in his home…. Eve had built a house that summer…. Previously, Eve had homesteaded north of Coronation and Orlando had homesteaded here, near Alix.  But they traded homesteads…. The Carters ranched, raising both horses and cattle.  The open range in eastern Alberta was plentiful so they raised their colts there, then drove them back to the Stone district to break and sell.  The Carter’s horse brand was EA on the right hip. Those horses were a wild lot….

The senior Carters moved to Coronation….

Eve and Lydia had three boys, Oral, Riley, and Dell….