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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.

Alix Residents of the Past (3)

In Carpenters, Farming, Gardens, Genealogy, Pioneer Medical Health, Pioneer tools & Machinery, Railway, World War !! on April 20, 2021 at 7:48 AM

From “People of Alix – as suggested by Gordon and Flora Wilton” part 3

Gleanings after Pioneers and Progress. Alix=Clive Historical Club, 1981

Page, Floyd and Irene: The Pages owned the corner Drugstore, Floyd was a qualified druggist and Irene Page nee McBean was a nurse….

Peacock and Picard kept the general store on the corner in the late twenties and early thirties.  Later this became the Deen’s restaurant.  Wally Peacock was a god amateur carpenter and electrician.  The son’s name was Harvey.

Shepherd: Lee or “Dad” Shepherd was Mrs. Alex Bissett’s father.  He was a man of many parts.  He had been a member of the Royal North West Mounted Police in his younger days. While in Alix, he was by turns shoemaker and harness repair man, caretaker of the livery barn and town policeman.

Spelman, Harvey: Spelman bought the hardware from Bob Toepfer.  He was very tall and rather thin. At one time he had had his arm tattooed with his name, which was the fashion at the time. …

Sailor, Ted: Sailors lived for a few years on the old Tallman place a few miles west of Alix.  Their family consisted of two boys and two girls….

Woods, Wally: He was one of our most enthusiastic hockey players.  Wally married Irene Straub, who was our chief operator in the Telephone Office for many years.

Dr. Hart came to Alix about 1910.  He lived in the tall old house … on the north side of the railway tracks. Elmer Primus recalls Dr. Hart setting a broken leg for him….

Dweaks had a long underground mine with rails and a coal car for bringing the coal to the surface.  Three of the daughters, other girls remember at school, were Jessie, Loretta, and Dolly.

Prokopuk, Joe and Annie:  Joe came from the Ukraine.  Annie was born in Manitoba, a sister of Jake Pidherney.  Joe was a section foreman for the railway at Joffre.  Then he was transferred to Coghill where Annie passed away. Annie … did all kinds of fancy work, grew flowers and gardened industrially.  They had no children.

Zimmerman: The Zimmermans lived near the Free Methodist camp.  Mr. Zimmerman looked after the railway switch called “The Diamond” for years.  They had a large family of seven children:  Jay, Mandy, Vern, Fred, Sam, Jim, and Jennie. Jennie is now [1981] Mrs. Melvin Ripley, and she has three sons.  Some of the Zimmerman boys worked on the railway.

Wilton: During World War II the three brothers, Rex, Ray and Gordon were all in the services.  Duncan had an injury to one eye as a little boy which impaired his vision so that he could not join up.  Roy Pears and Cliff Brookhart joined up at the same time.

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.

Vivian (Murdoch) Clarke

In 1930s Depression, Churches, Clive AB, Entertainment, Fairs, Farming, Organizations, Pioneer tools & Machinery, Railway, School, School Teachers on February 11, 2021 at 11:01 AM

From “My Memories of Clive – by Vivian (Murdoch) Clarke”

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

Who could forget the Village of Clive and the people who lived there during the Nineteen Thirties?  The events that took place at the Community Hall, the School Fair, the movies, plays, dances, and the Christmas Concerts?  The skating, the carnival, and hockey in the winter at the rink?  Ditzler’s ingenious toboggan on runners that was pulled behind the car.  The opening of the baseball season every 24th of May, with the parade and the Maypole dance.  The Strawberry Socials, the Swedish Picnics, the Chicken Suppers, the Box Socials, when the ladies’ decorated lunch boxes went to the highest bidder.

Septembers, with Arbor Day cleanup and tree planning ceremony at the school. George Vanderzyl, our Principal from the year I started school until the year I graduated.  Vic McCormack, jumping on his bike at recess, and racing to his Dad’s barber shop for the score during the World Series.  The school picnics at “the spring” on Grose’s Hill.

Mrs. Brereton’s Mission Band, Mrs. Allison and the United Church Sunday School, with its small church replica to receive our birthday pennies; the Baptist Church’s summer Bible School, and their annual Christmas Concert.

The trains, with their steam engines, that flattened small objects we placed on the tracks; and the dray that was always waiting at the station for trains to arrive; in winter; hitching our small sleighs behind the dray or  the farmers’ sleighs that were hauling grain to the elevators.

Watching Mr. Shore at work in his blacksmith shop; the Minstrel Shows, piano recitals, and chivarees.  The list is endless…. 

I can’t think of anywhere I would rather have gone to school or spent my childhood.

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.

Peter John and Annie Wickenberg

In Churches, Clive AB, Farming, Mail, Pioneer Farming, Pioneer Medical Health, Pioneer tools & Machinery, Urquhart on January 8, 2021 at 8:02 AM

From “The Wickenbergs”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

Peter John Wickenberg and his wife, the former Anie Westling, came by immigration train to Lacombe in 1898.  It was July 17th and upon their arrival it started to rain, and continued to do so for 7 weeks straight, during which time they built a house, which had no roof, during all the rain!  A large lake had formed this side of Lacombe, so finally they brought out their supplies by boat.  This house was to be first frame house built in the district.  The Monsons arrived shortly after and lived with them until their home was built.

The post office at this time was at Urquhart, so the Wickenbergs, settled where Noyce Boddy now lives, [1974] were close to mail delivery.  There were no phones or radios, but Erick Westling had a phonograph, and this delighted everyone.

Water wells were drilled using horse power and these same horses ground the grain in a grinder.  This grinder, and a first threshing machine were all shared by neighbours and relations, and owned on a partnership basis.

The Wickenbergs had seven children, Josie (Mrs. Modine), Rosie (Mrs. Haverstock), Johnny, Roy, Agnes, Molly (Mrs. Chuck Parsons) and Lily (Mrs. Frank Knight).  Agnes died at the age of seven from scarlet fever, and was the first to be buried at the Saron Lutheran Church cemetary…..

Earl Barnes Story

In Coal & wood heating, Farming, freighting, Nebraska District, Pioneer Farming, Pioneer tools & Machinery, Settlers, World War I on December 5, 2020 at 9:45 AM

From “The Earl Barnes Story”(from a story by Earl Barnes)

Pioneers and Progress, Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1974

I was born in Muskoka county, Ontario in 1895.  Dad kept sheep and did butchering for nearby hotels.  There were lots of tourists even then. In winter he worked in the bush, and he and his brothers were guides for hunters….

We then moved to North Bay where my Dad worked in the bush again. 

The last winter we were there Dad hired 19 men and with mother doing the cooking, they got big sleighs, one with a sprinkler on it, and made ice roads to haul the heavy loads.

…[w]hen we landed at Lacombe Dad had $40 left.

We lived 4 miles west of Lacombe in a house of Mr. Draders, all the kids got measles and Dad got pneumonia.  Dad got better and bought a team of oxen and went to work.  We then moved north of Bentley.  Dad bought a 22 rifle and about 6 shells and told me to keep meat on the table.  I went into the woods to get a partridge and shot off all my shells and every one hit a willow bush.  On the way home I saw something that stopped me in my tracks it was a lynx, and the longer I looked at it the bigger it got.  I guess I was the scaredest boy that ever lived.  Dad finally rescued me and by next spring I was out shooting by myself. We lived in a shack about 12 x 16 feet.  We had one little stove and since we did not have coal oil for a lamp, we used to leave the stove door open for light in the evening. Mother and us kids never saw Dad until he came home in the spring.  In 1909 Dad got a job in Lacombe and worked for Carl Nelson in a harness and shoe repair shop.  This man had SW1/4-41-24 W4 in the Nebraska district and somehow, they made a trade and we moved out in 1910.  It was closer to school.  In 1915 Dad joined the army and went to England and France.  I went in 1918 but only got to Sarcee camp in Calgary.

Casey Bates

In Pioneer Farming, Pioneer tools & Machinery on August 10, 2020 at 4:22 PM

From “Casey Bates – By E.D.”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

Casey Bates was a very good mechanic and went around the country repairing threshing machines and other machinery, driving an old McLaughlin touring car.  One method he used was to heat babbet and pour it around bearings thus enabling the farmer to carry on with his job whatever it was.  He was usually a separator man and followed the machine all around the country….

His wife was a daughter of the Chas. Harmons.

Woolgar Family

In Alix, Alberta, Business, Carradale School, Farming, Pioneer tools & Machinery on May 30, 2020 at 10:06 AM

From “Woolgar, Richard, NW-14-39-23 – by Marge Ludvigsson, as told by Sid Woolgar”

Pioneers and Progress Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

Richard Woolgar and his wife Ellen came from England to Alix in 1911.  He was in the plaster and stucco trade, and many are the buildings in a wide radius that carry his workmanship. At first they lived in town, above the then municipal office which is now [1974] Mrs. Vi Cowan’s apartment, and their daughters, Winnie and Betty, were born there. Charles Woolgar, a brother, had a blacksmith shop and the Massey Harris agency next door. In 1916 they moved to the Mansbridge farm, where Sidney was born,….[ten] to NW1/4-14-39-23-4 purchased from a W.L. Wright who went overseas and was killed….

In due course they attended Carradale School, and, as the road wound past their door, they sometimes got rides in the buggy with the schoolteacher, Miss Mary Sanderson from Alix.  When the road was changed to west of the C.N.R. tracks the family found it difficult to get out in wet or wintry weather.  Although the house was practically surrounded by sloughs, it was always a problem to get good drinking water.

Sometimes Sidney was kept from school to accompany his father on a job, and recalls that once during the ‘Thirties his father supplied all materials and applied them in Mirror at the rate of 38c per square yard.

Betty married Medley Rogers in 1937 and for a time they lived on the Horseshoe Ranch nearby, but later settled in Kelowna, B.C….

Winnie married William Rodgers in 1941 and they lived in “Uncle Bob Woolgar’s” place on the south east corner of NW1/4-36-39-23-4…. She succumbed to cancer in 1956, leaving a son, William, and a daughter, Ellen….

Richard Woolgar became a victim of the dust from lime used in his trade.  After suffering with silicosis for some little time he passed away in 1941….

In 1946 Sidney bought the “Mason place”, SE¼-14, kittycorner to his home quarter…. Around 1950 he bought the SW ¼ from Hil Primus, and on it built a new house….  Winnie’s son Billy spent much of his time with his grandmother and Uncle Sid. The original home quarter was sold to Harold Rogers in 1959, and of the remaining area that part east of the C.N.R. railway on the S1/2 – 14- was sold to Jim Robinson in 1959.

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.