Alfred Callaway Family of Brushy Ridge

Fred Callaway recently contacted CHAPS about 2 family histories and a history of Cochrane.  This is Harry Johnson’s recollections of the Callaway and Johnson families. 

The photos are from CHAPS archives of the Brushy Ridge area. Mr. Johnsons history was typed in upper case on very thin paper. We’ve converted it to an electronic format but left the case as we found it. The feature image is of the Brushy Ridge school in 1940.

It’s a great story of the hardships and joys of homesteading in the area.

THE ALFRED CALLAWAY FAMILY

ALFRED ERNEST CALLAWAY WAS BORN AT BRUSHY RIDGE IN 1908, THE YOUNGEST SON OF E.J. CALLAWAY. HE LIVED ON THE “HOME PLACE” UNTIL AFTER HIS FATHER’S DEATH. IN 1932 HE MOVED TO THE NE Sec. 15 AND SET Sec. 22. THE FOLLOWING YEAR HE MARRIED MIRIAM JOHNSON WHO WAS TEACHING AT BRUSHY RIDGE SCHOOL AT THAT TIME. IN 1938 A DAUGHTER, LOIS, WAS BORN AND THE NEXT YEAR A SON, FRED, ARRIVED. LOIS ATTENDED BRUSHY RIDGE SCHOOL FOR ONE YEAR WHILE MURRAY CARMACK WAS TEACHER THERE. BECAUSE OF THE SHORTAGE OF TEACHERS, MIRIAM HAD TO RETURN TO TEACHING

IN 1944 WHEN FRED WAS READY TO START SCHOOL. BRUSHY RIDGE SCHOOL WAS CLOSED AND ALL HAD TO ATTEND LITTLE JUMPING POUND SCHOOL. THE FOLLOWING VEAR LITTLE JUMPING POUND SCHOOL WAS CLOSED AND ALL ATTENDED BRUSHY RIDGE SCHOOL FROM BOTH JUMPING POUND AND BRUSHY RIDGE. IN 1946 MARIAM WENT TO TEACH IN COCHRANE AND TOOK LOIS AND FRED TO ATTEND SCHOOL THERE.

Brushy Ridge 1947

IN 1948, BECAUSE OF ILL HEALTH, ALFRED WAS FORCED TO LEAVE THE FARM.

HE SOLD THE PLACE TO LAURIE EDGE AND MOVED TO COCHRANE, WHERE HE WORKED FOR WILLIAM ANDISON, GENERAL MERCHANT. IN 1951 ALFRED AND HIS FAMILY MOVED TO CALGARY WHERE HE WORKED FOR UNIVERSAL MOTORS AND OWNED THE “WARDROBE” DRY GOODS STORE. IN 1952, BECAUSE OF ILL HEALTH, THE STORE HAD TO BE SOLD. MARIAM CALLAWAY B.ED. BEGAN TEACHING IN CALGARY WHERE SHE TAUGHT UNTIL HER RETIREMENT IN 1974.

LOIS CALLAWAY B.ED., A.R.C.T., A.T.C.M., A.W. BD. IS NOW ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL IN CALGARY, WHILE FRED CALLAWAY C.A. IS MANAGER OF THE SPECIAL PROJECTS  DEPARTMENT FOR HUDSON’S BAY OIL AND GAS.

LOIS MARRIED DOUGLAS W. BROWN B.ED., M.A., AN INSTRUCTOR AL S.A.I.T.  THEY HAVE TWO CHILDREN DOUGLAS STEVEN AND KRISTA ANNE.  FRED MARRIED ELIZABETH PATRICIA CHIVERS. THEY HAVE TWO BOYS PATRICK BOYD AND MICHAEL DEAN.

THE JOHNSON’S AT BRUSHY RIDGE

COMING TO COCHRANE IN 1920 IT MIGHT BE SAID THAT THE JOHNSON’S WERE SOME  THING OF “JOHNNIE COME LATELIES” TO THE DISTRICT BUT MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILY WERE AMONG THE EARLY PIONEERS IN ALBERTA.

THE FIRST INTERESTS OF THE FAMILY IN CANADA I SUPPOSE WERE AROUSED WHEN WILLIAM AND REBECCA PECK (DISTANT RELATIVES) LEFT KNOTTINGLEY, YORKSHIRE ABOUT 1880 FOR THE GREAT WEST. THEIR JOURNEY OVER THE OCEAN AND BY WAGON ACROSS CANADA TOOK THEM THREE MONTHS.

THEY EVENTUALLY HOMESTEADED IN THE DIDSBURY DISTRICT JUST 1/2 MILE NORTH OF WHERE THE TOWN IS NOW.

MRS. PECKS BROTHER SYKES TAYLOR WITH HIS 14 YEAR OLD SON SYKES FOLLOWED THEM IN 1883 REACHING CALGARY JUST AFTER THE RAILROAD HAD BEEN COMPLETED TO THE OUTPOST

HIS WIFE MARIA WHO WAS MY MOTHER’S AUNT, AND INCIDENTALLY OUR REAL CONNECTION WITH THE NEW WORLD, FOLLOWED HIM IN 1984 WITH THEIR FIVE OTHER CHILDREN, WHICH MUST HAVE BEEN QUITE AN UNDERTAKING FOR A WOMAN ALONE IN THOSE DAYS.

THEY HOMESTEADED ON THE NORTH HILL WHERE 16TH AVENUE IS TODAY BUT LATER GAVE THAT LAND UP.

In 1885 SYKES TAYLOR SENIOR DIED AND WAS THE FIRST MAN BURIED IN BURNSLAND CEMETERY, THERE BEING JUST ONE LITTLE GIRL BURIED THERE BEFORE HIM.

AFTER THE FUNERAL AUNT MARIA TAYLOR WAS IN THE OLD ALBERTA HOTEL AND MR. NI BLOCK, A C.P.R. OFFICIAL, SEEING THAT SHE WAS IN DISTRESS ENQUIRED WHAT HER TROUBLE WAS AND FINDING THAT SHE WAS WIDOWED, OFFERED HER A JOB COOKING FOR THE SECTION GANG AT MORLEY, MR. TOM BATEMAN OF JUMPING POUND TOLD ME THAT ALL THE COWBOYS WOULD HEAD FOR MRS. TAYLORS TO GET A GOOD MEAL WHEN THEY WERE IN THE AREA.

LATER, HER SON SYKES HOMESTEADED AT BRUSHY RIDGE AND IN 1908 MY UNCLE, HERBERT RHODES, CAME OUT FROM YORKSHIRE TO WORK FOR HIS COUSIN SYKES AND HOME ON THE HILL ON SECTION 18.

IN 1915 HE GAVE THE QUARTER SECTION TO HIS BROTHER CHARLES, JOINED THE ARMY AND WAS KILLED IN FRANCE IN 1916. HIS BROTHER TOM CAME IN 1910 AND THE REST OF THE FAMILY IN 1912.

MY FATHER, MOTHER, MY SISTER MIRIAM AND I CAME TO CANADA IN 1920.

DAD GOT A JOB AT W.H. CUSHING’S FACTORY IN EAST CALGARY AND STAYED THERE FOR OVER 10 YRS.

MY FIRST JOB IN THE DISTRICT WAS HAVING ON PHIL KASTER’S PLACE ON SECTION 13. LATER I STACKED GREEN FEED FOR MR. R. COPITHORNE. THAT FALL WE  THRESHED KASTERS AND RHODES CROP WITH AN OLD SEPARATOR POWERED FROM A POWER TAKE OFF FROM AN OLD MODEL T FORD CAR.

BILLY VOWERS LIVED WITH HIS FATHER ON NW 10. MR. VOWELS WAS VERY SICK AND DIED SHORTLY AFTER WE ARRIVED. JERGEN MESSER WENT TO COCHRANE FOR THE CASKET WITH A DEMOCRAT. THE ROAD ACROSS COCHRANE FLAT WAS NOTHING BUT BIG BOULDERS AND WHEN HE HOT BACK HOME THE BOTTOM OF THE CASKET HAD FALLEN OUT AND THEY HAD TO DO A REPAIR JOB. IN THOSE DAYS THE BRIDGE OVER THE BOW WAS DIRECTLY SOUTH OF COCHRANE TOUCHING THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE RIVER BETWEEN GEORGE BUNNYS AND GEORGE RATRAY’S PLACES.

IN 1921 I HIRED OUT TO SYKES TAYLOR FOR A YEAR FOR $300.00 THEN AFTER WORKING IN DIFFERENT PLACES DAD AND I, IN 1927 BOUGHT THE SW OF SECTION 16 FROM MR. ISAAC HUGHES, HE HAVING HOMESTEADED IN 1904. MR. HUGHES LIVED IN COCHRANE BUT DIED SHORTLY AFTER FROM GAS FUMES HE INHALED WHILE SOLDERING THE FURNACE PIPES IN BILLY ANDISONS NEW STORE.

I BATCHED FOR A WHILE THEN MOTHER CAME OUT TO THE FARM AND MIRIAM STAYED IN CALGARY TO TOOK FOR DAD AND CONTINUE HER SCHOOLING. WE CONTINUED THIS ARRANGEMENT FOR THREE OR FOUR YEARS THEN DAD CAME TO THE FARM WHEN THE DEPRESSION HIT CALGARY AND CUSHING’S MILL WAS FORCED TO CLOSE.

1927 WAS THE YEAR OF THE GREAT HAIL STORM AND THE ONLY YEAR WE WERE EVER HAILED OUT.

IT IS THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH THAT THERE WERE HAIL STONES AS BIG AND THE SHAPE OF QUART SEALERS, JUST CHUNKS OF ICE. WE WERE JUST ON THE EASTERN EDGE OF THE STORM. ALEX CALLAWAY, ON THE NEXT QUARTER EAST, GOT VERY LITTLE BUT FURTHER WEST THERE WERE SEVERAL CATTLE KILLED BY THE STONES. DAVE LAWSON AND FRANK SYBALD WERE CAUGHT IN IT AND HAD TO TAKE SHELTER UNDER A STACKER BUT ONE STONE HIT DAVE ON THE FOOT AND BROKE BONES.

TED HARRISON’S SHACK NOT ONLY HAD THE SHINGLES BROKEN OFF BUT SEVERAL OF THE ROOF BOARDS WERE BROKEN BY THE STONES. BUCK COPE PICKED UP FIVE WHICH FILLED A WASHBASIN.

WE LOST ABOUT FIFTY CHICKENS AND SOME OF THE COWS HAD THEIR HIDE BROKEN.

WE HAD A DANDY CROP OF BARLEY ABOUT 4 FEET HIGH AND IT DISAPPEARED INTO THE GROUND.

THIS STORM OCCURRED IN JULY, TWO DAYS AFTER THE GRAND VALLEY DISTRICT HAD A BAD STORM.

IN 1929 I GOT YOUNG TREES AND CUTTINGS FROM THE GOVERNMENT STATION AT INDIAN HEAD AND PLANTED A WIND BREAK WEST OF THE BUILDINGS. THEY DID WELL AND MADE A GREAT SHELTER.

IN 1929 THE DEPRESSION HIT OUR AREA ALONG WITH THE REST OF THE COUNTRY. PRICES FOR OUR PRODUCTS DROPPED DRASTICALLY. BUTTERFAT WENT DOWN TO 12 CENTS A POUND, EGGS FETCHED FIVE CENTS A DOZEN AND WE HAULED HOGS TO CALGARY FOR AS LOW AS TWO CENTS A POUND.

ON TOP OF THESE LOW PRICES THE AREA WAS SUFFERING FROM A SERIES OF DRY YEARS WHICH LASTED UNTIL 1937.

IN 1932 A GROUP OF TABLE CREAM SHIPPERS GOT TOGETHER AND FORMED THE COCHRANE AND DISTRICT TABLE CREAM PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION.

TED CALLAWAY WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT AND I WAS SECRETARY OUR FIRST OBJECTIVE WAS TO TRY TO BE RELIEVED FROM THE BARN IMPROVEMENT REGULATIONS WHICH WERE BEING FORCED UPON MILK PRODUCERS BY THE CALGARY CITY HEALTH BOARD.

LOUIS NICOLL AND MYSELF APPEARED BEFORE THE COUNCIL AND RECEIVED A FAVOURABLE HEARING BUT THE CHIEF HEALTH OFFICER, A DR. GOW, PUT A MONKEY WRENCH INTO THE WORKS AND EVERY ONE HAD TO COMPLY OR QUIT SHIPPING TO THE TABLE CREAMTRADE.

ALL FLOORS HAD TO BE CEMENTED AND THERE HAD TO BE 8 FEET FROM THE FLOOR TO THE CEILING AND 2 SQUARE FEET OF WINDOW FOR EVERY ANIMAL. MANY OF THE BARNS HAD ONLY 7 OR 7 FEET OF SPACE AND THE LOFT FLOORS HAD TO BE RAISED TO COMPLY WITH THE REGULATIONS.

THIS CAUSED A LOT OF EXPENSE TO THE DAIRYMEN AT A TIME WHEN THERE WAS NO MONEY TO SPEND.

IN 1933 THE CALGARY MILK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION MADE APPLICATION TO HAVE THEIR PRODUCT PUT UNDER PUBLIC UTILITY CONTROL. WE HEARD WHAT WAS AFOOT AND ARRANGED TO JOIN FORCES WITH THAT GROUP. WE MET IN A ROOM IN THE CALGARY PUBLIC LIBRARY AND FORMED THE CALGARY AND DISTRICT MILK AND INSPECTED CREAM PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION. I MIGHT JUST MENTION HERE THAT THE RENT FOR THE HALL WAS TWO DOLLARS AND THOUGH THE PLACE WAS FULL THE HAT HAD TO BE PASSED AROUND TWICE BEFORE THEY COULD GET ENOUGH TO COVER THE RENT, MONEY WAS SO SCARCE.

TED CALLAWAY AND I WERE ELECTED TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND BOTH OF US SERVED FOR OVER 10 YEARS. THE TIME FOR THE HEARING BEFORE THE ALBERTA SUPREME COURT FOR OUR PETITION EVENTUALLY ARRIVED AND THE DISTRIBUTORS BATTLED US TOOTH AND NAIL FOR EIGHT DAYS BUT IN THE END, WE WON OUR CASE AND SAVED THE PRODUCERS FROM THE MONOPOLISTIC GRIP OF THE DISTRIBUTORS.

FOLLOWING SEVERAL APPLICATIONS TO THE COMMISSION FOR INCREASES IN PRICE  OF MILK AND TABLE CREAM BASED ON OUR COST OF PRODUCTION, WE SUCCEEDED IN HAVING THE PRICE OF MILK RAISED TO $2.60 PER 100 LBS. AND TABLE CREAM TO 40 CENTS PER LB. BUTTERFAT.

AFTER THE WAR STARTED IN 1939 CONDITIONS IMPROVED IN CALGARY AND MOST OF THE TABLE CREAM PRODUCERS IN OUR AREA STARTED SHIPPING WHOLE MILK TO THE CITY.

MIRIAM AND ALFRED CALLAWAY WERE MARRIED IN CALGARY APRIL 17, 1933 AND THE NIGHT BEFORE WE HAD A TREMENDOUS SNOWSTORM. 17 TOOK US EIGHT HOURS TO GET TO CALGARY.

IN JULY 1934 I WAS BADLY GORED BY A BULL, RECEIVING INJURIES WHICH EVENTUALLY FORCED ME IN 1947 TO LEAVE THE FARM AND SEEK LIGHT WORK.

I WAS PUTTING UP HAY ON JOHN PARK’S PLACE AT THE TIME AND THE NEIGHBOURS FORMED A BEE AND FINISHED THE HAYING FOR ME.

1936 WAS THE DRIEST YEAR WE EVER EXPERIENCED. ALL THE CROPS HAD TO BE CUT WITH A MOWER AND EVERYBODY SCRAPED A BIT OF HAY WHERE EVER THEY COULD, THEN ON NOVEMBER 19 A FIRE, WHICH HAD BEEN BURNING FOR SEVERAL DAYS IN THE FOOTHILLS, FANNED BY A 90 MILE AN HOUR WIND BROKE OUT INTO THE OPEN COUNTRY. BY THE TIME IT GOT TO THE BRUSHY RIDGE DISTRICT IT WAS NEARLY SIX MILES WIDE. WATCHERS STAND ING ON COCHRANE HILL SAID THAT AFTER IT CROSSED THE JUMPING POUND CREEK IT TOOK BUT THREE MINUTES TO COVER THE FIVE MILES TO BRUSHY RIDGE SCHOOL.

ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE, WE LOST ALL OUR FEED. THE BARN WAS BURNT WITH 17 PUREBRED REGISTERED COWS BUT WE MANAGED TO SAVE OUR HOUSE. SEVEN HOUSES AND BARNS WERE BURNT IN THE HOLOCAUST.

WE HAD A HARD TO ME MAKING THINGS MEET THAT WINTER BUT THEN OUR LUCK CHANGED AND THINGS WENT RIGHT FOR US.

WITH 1937 THE WETTER YEARS RETURNED AND WE HAD GOOD CROPS EVERY YEAR AFTER.

FOLLOWING THE FIRE | WORKED WITH BILL BATEMAN REPLACING BURNT TELEPHONE POLES.I GOT 25 CENTS AN HOUR AND WAS GLAD TO GET IT BECAUSE MONEY WAS SO SCARCE. WE WENT HOME EVERY NIGHT AS BLACK AS COAL. THE PHONE SYSTEM AT THAT TIME BELONGED TO THE PEOPLE IN THE AREA, IT HAVING BEEN FORCED UPON THEM BY THE ABERHARDT ADMINISTRATION.

LATER ALF CALLAWAY AND I WORKED FOR A CONTRACTOR BUILDING THE NEW BRUSHY RIDGE SCHOOL. THIS BUILDING WAS LATER MOVED FROM THE DISTRICT WHEN THE GOVERNMENT INTRODUCED THE BUSSING SYSTEM.

AFTER PUTTING IN THE CROP I BUILT A NEW BARN WITH THE HELP OF SOME NEIGHBOURS AND THE EXPERTISE OF BOB CHAPMAN OF COCHRANE.

THAT SPRING A FRIEND LOANED ME SOME MONEY AND I BOUGHT FOUR REGISTERED  HOLSTIENS FROM MAURICE GIFFEN, A DEALER, AND WHEN WE SOLD OUT IN 1947 WE SOLD OVER 30 HEAD OF REGISTERED ANIMALS.

FROM 1920 TO 1947, TWENTY ODD YEARS, LIKE EVERYONE ELSE IN THOSE TIMES WE HAD LOTS OF TROUBLES AND MANY JOYS.

WE WORKED HARD, SOMETIMES FOR VERY LITTLE REWARD BUT THOSE YEARS WERE A PART OF OUR LIVES WE WOULDN’T WANT TO HAVE MISSED. WE HAD LOTS OF GOOD TIMES BOTH IN THE OLD BRUSHY RIDGE SCHOOL AND THE JUMPING POUND HALL.

WE MADE MANY TRUE FRIENDS DURING THAT TIME WHO WERE, AND STILL ARE, WILLING TO SHARE IN OUR SET BACKS AND REJOICE IN OUR GOOD FORTUNE.

I CLEARED BUSH AND BROKE SOD AND FEEL THAT IN SOME SMALL MEASURE THE JOHNSON’S HELPED TO MAKE THE AREA A SOMEWHAT BETTER PLACE WHEN WE LEFT THAN WHEN WE CAME

HARRY JOHNSON

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