Posts Tagged ‘Settlers’

Christmas Concerts of the Past

In Alix, Alberta, Famous 5 Persons Case, Pioneer Farming, School, Settlers, Stettler on December 19, 2018 at 9:32 AM

Christmas Concert

From “Elmer Primus and Family – by Myrle” excerpted from Pioneers and Progress Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974.

Myrle was born in Glasgow, Montana U.S.A.  June 16, 1908.  Rouses came back three months later and went to Stettler until Myrle was six.  She went to Grade 1 in Stettler from August until Christmas.

There were only two things I remember.  I was in a Christmas concert and was so excited I forgot to start until someone nudged me; the teacher was making frantic motions for me to begin.  We all had candles.  I had to say, “Candles light the cottage small, shine upon the palace wall.”  Anyway, I was too busy watching everyone being moved from the centre of the hall.

The Assembly hall in the red brick school sand one and one-half feet that night, and never was used for a large crowd again as it was condemned.

From Ireland to Lacombe in 1881

In Alix, Alberta, Railway, Settlers on December 1, 2018 at 9:14 AM

From “Rice Story – Told by Mrs. Hester Rice, on tape to B.P. and A.N. in 1971” part 1

Pioneers and Progress Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974


I came from Ireland in 1903.  I was born in Roscarberry, South Ireland in 1881.  I left Ireland to come to Lacombe to be married on May 8.  I was Hester Ann Young.

The boat, the Corinthian, left from Londonderry.  It was a cattle boat and there were so many immigrants that it was so crowded; five women and one or two children to a bunk.  We were were three weeks coming.  It wasn’t too enjoyable, it was so rough.  Except for the captain we’d never have seen the other side.  He stopped for icebergs, and was very careful.  We were supposed to have the mail back, but it was weeks before we did.  My folks were wondering where I was.  We arrived at Quebec in the morning.  The St. Lawrence was lovely, except for bush fires.  It was exceedingly dry.  In Ireland it rained so much we prayed for the sun, but here they were praying for rain.

We stopped in Montreal for customs.  Everyone went to a hotel, but we didn’t stay too long.  We went on to Winnipeg, and stayed at a hotel there too.  I think we went by C.P.R. railway, colonial cars were awful, plain boards, so hard.  We just had rugs for warmth.  I had brought a heat lamp, but had forgot the metholated spirits, so we tried to heat water on the pipes.  We’d get out and and try to get something at the stations.  We’d put our quarter down and “toot” would go that old whistle, and we’d run without our pie.  I finally told my cousin, “Next time I’ll run with a pie and not leave a quarter,” and I did.


Westling School

In Alix, Alberta, Museums, School, School Teachers, School Trustees, Settlers on November 28, 2018 at 4:25 PM

From “Westling School No. 556”

From Pioneers and Progress Alix Clive Historical Club 1974

The first official minutes we have of this area is January 30, 1901 when Wm. Henry was appointed chairman at a school board meeting.  Erick Westling was appointed Secretary-Treasurer and W.B. Mitchell, director.  In February another meeting was held and it was decided to build a school and raise the money by debenture, its location to be on northeast corner of the N.E. ¼ 18-41-21-W4. The land itself was donated by Mr. Forcht.  The debenture was for $600.00 with interest not more than 7% to be repaid in ten equal annual installments.  Later that year at a general meeting, Fred Henry was elected to take the place of M. Mitchell, and Griffin A. Meadows was also elected.  The lumber for a building 20 x 26 feet was purchased from the Co-op company in Lacombe for the sum of $235.00 Fred Westling’s tender was accepted as carpenter.

John Cline was paid $19.00 for delivery of 20 cords of wood to the new school house and the trustees ordered a map of the United States and one of the North West Territories for use in the school.

At a board meeting in 1902, Miss Jean Short was hired as a teacher for a ten-month term at $45.00 a month.   She boarded at the Hartle farm.  The janitor received 50 cents a week and L. Forcht got $4.00 for painting the school building.  The taxes at this time were $4.00 a quarter section.  In 1905 this was raised to $6.40 a quarter with 8% deducted if paid in 30 days.

In July 1903, Mr. Lawrence Cowan was hired as teacher at $50.00 dollars a month.  In 1907, plans were made to build a barn for the children’s horses.  In 1909 the school year was established to consist of an eight-month term, September [through] December [and] March [through] June.  Mrs. Allison, teacher at the time, was paid $65.00 a month for 8 months.

In 1910, as the school was crowded, money was borrowed to build 1o feet onto its length.

About 1943 it was decided to build a new school.  Part of the original school house is at the Westling Museum, as is the school clock bought in 1902 for $6.50.  The teacherage was bought by Lloyd Grose.  The following is a list of trustees from 1901 to 1926: Erick Westling, Wm. Henry, W.B. Mitchell, Griffin A. Meadows, Fred Henry, John Cline, Olaf Strandberg, W, Forcht, C.F. Thompson, Wm. Talentyre, L.A. Larrance, Geo. Hartle, S.M. Lindemood, Art.Strandberg, L.R. Forcht, J. Spink, E. Jeglum, E. Bennett, Astor Strandberg, R.H. Haskins, W, H. Sommerville and Dave Spink.

Teachers, as far as the records show, were: Miss short, 1902; Mr. L. Cowan, 1903; Mrs. Will Allison, 1907; Miss Annie Reynolds, 1909; Mr. Harold Simpson, 1911; Mrs. Jane Sage, Mr. Ferguson, Mr. Sutherland, Mrs. W. H. Somerville, Miss Peterson, Mrs. A. Davis, Miss Caine, Mrs. Keene, Mrs. Illsley, C.J. Williams, Miss Ruby Henn, Miss Lois Pye, Nellie McLean, Mrs. Ray Harris, M.J. Baker, Mabel Dowling, Mrs. Ringsage, Winnifred Johnson, Irene G. Walton, Dorothea Allison, Vic Winters, Don Scot, Miss Eabie, Mrs. Vergil Neis, Dot Bugler, Mabel Mappin, Dorothy Percifield, Mrs. Turnbull, Elizabeth Reimer, Jean Hill, Velma Hockenhull, E.M. Metz, Marge Davidson, Marian Grose, Mrs. Anderson, and J. Weenick.

From Elmer Primus and Family – by Merle” part 2.

In Alix, Alberta, Pioneer Farming, Pioneer tools & Machinery, Settlers on November 21, 2018 at 12:59 PM

From “Elmer Primus and Family – by Myrle” part 2

Excerpted from Pioneers and Progress Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1974.

Elmer began working for “Wong Loon Groceries” after school and on Saturdays.  They used to grind up about 40 pounds of coffee every Saturday morning, then package it.  The brown sugar came in hundred-pound jute bags.  It had to be packaged, also raisins, currants, beans, even cookies came in large boxes.

They had to unpack about 10 or 12 dozen eggs a week per farm family.  They were packed in chop or grain to keep them from breaking on the buggies or wagons.  A few had the large egg crates.  You brought one-pound prints of butter and with eggs, gave the farmer credit, with which he bought the other groceries he needed.  Many people would only buy butter or eggs that certain people had brought in.

Eddie Wong came out from China and had completed school there, so Elmer was asked to take him to school to learn English.  First, he had a desk at the back in Grade I, then each week he would move up a grade.  He mostly had to learn new ways of doing mathematics and the English language.  It didn’t take him long.

After completing his schooling Elmer decided he wanted to farm so he moved out with [his brother] Hillert and Hazel.

Every Friday and Saturday night for a year and a half he worked for George Darlow in the show hall as an apprentice in the projection room.  Everything was hand operated.  The hall was upstairs over the pool room.  Pat L’Hirondelle ran the engine to create electricity.  Then Mr. Darlow sold out; that finished that job.

People were just starting to drive cars so everyone wanted somewhere to go so they had good crowds.  The streets had many model “T” Fords and the hitching posts had teams and top buggies as well as the wagons etc.

Hillert moved to Open Valley District so Elmer batched for 10 years…. He trapped rats, hunted, sheared sheep, raised pigs and ran around.

from Elmer Primus and Family- by Merle

In Alix, Alberta, Pioneer Farming, Settlers on November 14, 2018 at 10:37 AM

Excerpted from 74Pioneers and Progress Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1981.

part one

Elmer was born March 24, 1906 in a dugout on S.W. ¼ of 27-39-23 west of Alix.  Primuses had built a house but were not quite ready to move.

He loved rabbits better than cats or dogs for pets.  He got a pair of rabbits from Steve Foster, both does, then he got one from Mr. McGonigal and it was a doe.  Finally, he sent to Stettler for a buck.  The rabbit cost 50 cents and the express was 60 cents.  After that, they multiplied well and he soon had 60 or 70.

When it was near Easter, they would put away a few eggs every day, then Easter morning they went out and brought in two or three dozen They were boiled and the big thing was, who could eat the most boiled eggs.

At that time, they had a couple of coyote hounds that needed feeding, so his rabbits kept disappearing.  There were quite a few empty twenty-two shells around the yard, so I guess the older brothers were instructed to limit them a bit.  They had taken over the green feed, cow mangers, etc.  Elmer was very worried.  They finally ran out of rabbits.

Then he visited the Sargent boys.  They did enough sneaking, from their father’s tobacco pouch during the week, to have a smoke behind the barn on Sunday.

In the winter he trapped weasels and muskrats.  In those days, you could walk as far as you could stand to go, as these animals were quite plentiful and not too many were trapping.

Every Sunday, they had to carry in snow as Monday was wash day, regardless.  The wood pile, also, had to be carried to the house, and he was the youngest.

Then the Primuses bought the Harbottle house.  They had six acres with the creek running through the edge. They and other families used to put chicken wire across the creek, then a couple of people would go in and chase the fish up to it, and catch them.  The fish were suckers and pike.  They split them down the back, then cleaned and salted them overnight, and next day smoked them.  Dad Primus was the smoking boss.  He laid them on a chicken wire rack over a bed of coals from willow wood.

Elmer and Lou rode horses to school.  Elmer took his saddle horse called Buster to town, so he could ride tout to Hillert’s farm on weekends.  Later he traded Buster off to Tom Ralston for a younger horse called “Tewie”.  He was very hard to catch after being turned out to pasture.  It took his Dad, Mother, and himself to catch “Tewie” every Friday night.

Once when they were going to feed cattle the tongue of the bob sleigh came down and bumped the wagon up in the air throwing Elmer out. He must have struck his leg as he went, as he landed in the snow with his left leg broken at the thigh.  Hillert went for orris; they loaded him in the wagon and took him to town.  Dr. Hart, an Alix doctor, looked after it.  For six weeks he lay in bed with a weight attached to it, Jack Pears visited him every night.  All the kids were good; even we girls visited him.  He played a lot of cards, darned socks, and played the violin.  Still, he thought it was a long time.

While in school, all the boys went swimming in the creek, in the nude.  We had an hour and a half noon then.

Women of Aspenland

In Alix, Alberta, Churches, Museums, Organizations, School, Settlers on September 6, 2018 at 11:57 AM


Mary Sanderson and family.

Mary taught in Alix and area for many years and is one of this summer’s new entries to Women of Aspenland on


In Alix, Alberta, Business, Churches, Dairy Pool, Museums, Organizations, Pioneer Farming, Pioneer tools & Machinery, School, Settlers, War Memorials on July 6, 2018 at 10:29 AM

Alix Wagon Wheel Museum Association is very grateful for funding for our summer students. We are getting a lot of work done, and able to have the museum open all summer.

Chelsey is partly funded by Young Canada Works.

Keyanna is partly funded by Canada Summer Jobs.

Talayna is partly funded by STEP.

Come in to have a tour or browse on your own to see our exhibits: businesses, schools, churches, First Nations, war memorials, railways, service clubs, art by Alix artists, sports, pioneer tools, dairy/Alix Creamery, toys , taxidermied birds, Eager Beaver, and more.


excerpt from “Alix Hotels and Hotel Keepers – by M.L. Ludvigsson”.

In Alix, Alberta, Settkers on December 11, 2017 at 12:11 PM

From “Alix Hotels and Hotel Keepers – by M.L. Ludvigsson”

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

The present Alix Hotel has been part of the Alix scene since it was built in 1904, which was before the C.P.R. came to Alix.  It was then called the Imperial Hotel, and managed by William Spurrell.  In 1911, the proprietor was “Dad” Lee, and “Maw” Garrett was the cook.

The Grand Hotel was built about the same time, on the spot where St. Rita’s Catholic Church [stood].  In 1911 it was a two-storied building with twenty-two bedrooms upstairs.  Downstairs there was a long hallway and parlor, a kitchen … a dining room, waiting room and a bar.

George and Lulu Bell ran it about two years, selling it in 1911 to a Mr. King, who in 1914 sold it to Mr. Frisch.  Daughter, Freda Frisch, worked in the Post Office, and daughter, Minnie, in the Creamery.  The Frisch family left soon after prohibition came in, and the hotel stood vacant until a farmer bought it and tore it down…..

There was also the metal-sheathed Hotel Nelson across Main Street from the Alix Hotel.  For many years the proprietors were Ray and Stella (nee Garrett) Baker whose son is named Garth.  The Hotel Nelson was later acquired by the Alix Hotel and demolished in the early Seventies after Eric and Roberta Sissons purchased the hotels….

Rev. Louis Mott, the first resident Anglican minister, held church services in the Imperial Hotel before the original St. Pancras Anglican Church was built.

Mrs. Alice Bearchell’s story tells that her father, Thomas John Curr, had the Imperial Hotel for a time during the early days, and lost it in a poker game.

Valentine Schnepf

In Alix, Alberta on June 24, 2016 at 9:00 AM

From “Valentine Schnepf” as told by Maggie (Schnepf) Sanderson 

“Father’s name was Valentine Schnepf.  He came to Canada in 1905 and bought land in the Carroll District.  We didn’t move up until 1911.  We left New Windsor, Illinois, by train. Of course, our supplies, horses, and household things were loaded in a freight car and my brother, John, and brother-in-law, Otis Tomlinson came in the car.  It had all been hauled to the car in a lumber wagon and it all left a week before we did. Dad and our whole family came by train from Rock Island, Illinois.

It was in Moose Jaw we got on this train, “Immigrant”, they called it, and we came right on to Calgary.  The seats were slat seats, just benches really, and you couldn’t really sleep, just sat up….. We waited for the train to come to Lacombe.  Then we waited for the train to come to Alix, so we travelled by train all the way….

We got into Alix on March 10, 1911.  We stayed at the Grand Hotel that was there on the same site that the Catholic Church [later stood].  We stayed there a whole week before our car came.  We had to unload everything, so Dad unloaded the horses first and took them to the livery barn.  Of course, our horses ate corn and ate it right off the cob.  The fellow at the livery put some in for the other horses and it scared them.  I know my brother said the fellow thought it so funny to see the horses eat corn like that…

The Grand Hotel was a two storied building and it had 22 rooms upstairs for bedrooms.  There  was a long hallway and a parlour downstairs, a kitchen…then the dining room and of course the bar and waiting room. It was a big place.  Mr. King bought it from Mr. Bell , then in ’14, I think, he sold to Mr. Frisch.  Soon after prohibition came in, he just left and the hotel stood vacant.  A farmer bought it and tore it down.

It was in March [1911] when we came, of course, but when summer came, it was beautiful….

There were all kinds of fruit, saskatoons and wild strawberries you could pick by the pailful, great big ones.  Mom canned them by the quart.  Then raspberries, pinchberries and chokecherries: it would be purple with them.

How did we wash our clothes?  In those days you didn’t have washers and driers, and you carried your water from the well.  We made soap from grease and lye, Mom even made face soap; the only difference was she put perfume in it and made it like a cake of soap.  Then, too, you had to prepare all your own meat, butcher, make sausage, and smoke the meat. We baked bread using a starter, mostly.  My mother made vinegar so there was always plenty of vinegar.  We made butter with a dasher and a stone jar and later with a barrel churn  as thee was a lot of butter made .The smoked meat was put in sacks and usually buried in grain, as it was cold and kept the meat from moulding.  The sausage and spare ribs were fried down, put in a stone crock, covered with lard and set in a cold place.  Yes, everything was done.  If you wanted vegetables and fruit for winter, you canned them.  You didn’t buy anything in those days.  We had a butter maker made from wood, it had a roller to work every bit of liquid out of it.”

This article is from the book Pioneers and Progress, a history of the Alix-Clive area printed in 1974by DW Friesen and Sons Ltd., Calgary.  Copies of it and of its follow-up Gleanings are available for sale at the Alix Public Library, Alix Wagon Wheel Museum, and Alix Home Hardware.