Race Week in Cochrane – A Memorable Event

A Peep into the Past - by Gordon and Belle Hall Vol. 1 pg 46

The gala event of the year in this area was a full week of racing on the only mile turf track west of Winnipeg. This was before the great depression had hit before the 1930s. Everyone attended the races. 

The track was situated about one and one-half miles west of the village, on the north side of the railway track and south of the Calgary-Banff road. There was the mail mile track, complete with a grandstand, about 10 big horse barns, various feed barns, etcetera, and on the east side of the race track was a full size polo field, complete with a clubhouse. 

In the years I knew the race track, it was owned and operated by the Rhodes Brothers, Bumpy and Dusty. They also owned a large ranch in Grande Valley. I was school age at the time and rode a pony to school in Cochrane. A day or two before the races, I would keep watch from school windows. When the racehorse train arrived, I would ask to leave the room, and I was gone, along with the pony. Anyone who was there could get $1 per head to lead horses from the train to the track, or racehorse barns, Usually I could lead two at a time, unless one was a stud, then just a single. Having delivered my horses, I would race back to get some more. I usually made about $8 to $12. 

During the races, I had a job with Bumpy Rhodes. He was a timekeeper, but after partying at night, sometimes he had a hard time seeing the other side of the helped him and took the time. His question was always, “Are they started yet?” When I got the time, I printed it with chalk on a huge blackboard facing the crowd. I received $8 for the afternoon, plus a ringside seat. 

People came by saddlehorse, buggies, cars, train and airplanes, Yes, there would be three or four monoplanes land in the polo field, some said they came up from the States. The CPR advertised and filled a train in Calgary. It would stop next to the track, let everyone off, then back up to Cochrane and the sidetrack and pick up their load again after the day was over, and return to Calgary. 

Then there was our own Walter Crowe, who ran Crowe’s Livery Stable (it sat where the Royal Bank is now). In the front of the barn, he had a big, old touring car, the make I don’t remember. Raceweek the car come down off its blocks, and the tires were pumped up. Walter would put on a white outfit with a white straw hat; and that was the racetrack taxi, from Cochrane, anyway. 

The jockey’s dance was held on Friday evening of race week. Of course, it carried on until way into Saturday. Morning. It was held in the Chester Hall, upstairs, in the Howard Block, which is above Kerfoot and Downs Hardware Store. Why the floor didn’t cave in will never be known, as the place was always packed full. Bolter’s orchestra used to play. 


Where Graham’s Pharmacy now stands, a few years back stood a Chinese laundry, run by Yee Lee, but before that, it was a boarding or rooming house. A man at the racetrack, who had had one-too-many beers, was kicked by a horse and killed. It was late in the day to take the corpse to Calgary, so the authorities put it in the room house for this night. About midnight the beer started to ferment, and the corpse began burping and making strange sounds. Strange as it may seem, by morning the corpse had the house all to itself. 

Racing continued into the 1930s. Under the grandstand were living quarters. I remember Scotty Garthwaite living there Bob Wilson and Major Mortimer and his family lived there as well. Mortimer was a great cricket man and we played quite a few games out on the polo field, but it was one game I wasn’t fond of. 

In later years, I remember Fred McCall, the airman, bringing a plane by trailer to the field and attempting to fly it. But, it crashed on takeoff with no one hurt. So went another era into history, when the track and buildings were dismantled and sold, or just ploughed under. 

Photo courtesy Glenbow Archives

Cst. “Happy” Davies

by Lynn Ferguson

The first detachment in Cochrane seems to have been started about 1908, as a result of Cochrane attaining village status as well as being an established CPR stop. In the chart on the “Distribution of the Force in September 1909”, taken from the book, Riders of the Plains, Cochrane is reported as having a detachment with a single constable and horse.

One of the earliest, if not the first constables in Cochrane was a young Englishman, Francis Walter Davies, known as “Happy” Davies. He joined the Force in Regina in April 1909, and his application read that he could ride well and understood the care of horses.

He was assigned to Cochrane and integrated well into the community, becoming a founding member of the Oddfellows Lodge. He wrote to his parents upon his transfer to Brooks in March 1912 “I am pretty good and getting on okay at Brooks though I wish I was back at Cockrane (sic)”. Constable Davies was killed not long afterwards in June 1912 on patrol in pursuit of some natives who had robbed and shot at a CPR worker.

Although buried in the Calgary cemetery by the RNWMP, he was obviously well-liked by the locals, and a monument commemorating Frank Davies was erected and still exists in St Mary’s Cemetery in Cochrane, paid for through a subscription taken out amongst the Cochrane townspeople at the time of his death.

Davies Monument St Marys

Related reading

Death of a Mountie”, Richard Goss p 2-9, Alberta History, Spring 1998 Vol 46, #2 which is online and has a picture of Happy Davies. There is more detailed biographical material on him in this article. 


John Potts

Add Your Heading Text Here

by Mrs. Ethel Hilton pg 777 Big Hill Country 1977

Grandfather (James) Potts, with his son John (Jack) and daughter Isabella (Bella), came West from Ontario to the Morley district in 1884. They had brought cattle from the east for John Graham of Morleyville. Jack’s friend, Alec Jamieson, also accompanied them. Grandmother Potts and the other children, Lucy, Jessie and Walter (Watt), came out around 1886 or 1887 to join the others. William, the eldest son, lived in Montreal. 

Jack Potts and Alec Jamieson, before either of them were married, joined the Klondike Gold Rush in the “Trail of 1898.” After that Jack made two trips to Alaska and the Yukon as a chainman with two Government surveyors. He finally settled down as foreman for a Calgary cattleman on the Red Deer River. He stayed there 15 years. 

I still have Jack’s cooking vessel from the Klondike, interesting because of being made out of a whole sheet of copper, there being no possibility of a seam, for which there was no means of any repair. 

In 1912 I sailed for Canada (on a ship called “The Canada”), a few days after the Titanic had sunk. We were almost a week going through the 

ice field. It was very cold and many icebergs were visible north of us. Our destination was Quebec, but, finally, we were landed at Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

I arrived in Calgary looking for a job, and in a few days went to the Potts brothers’ ranch in Jumping Pound to teach three children. I had trained as a teacher and spent five years in a boys’ school in South Wales. My reason for coming to Cochrane was the incentive to see my sister and brother. Anyone wanting to teach in a Government School, at that time, was required to go to Normal School. This I refused to do. My sister Alice (Howlett) had been appointed teacher at the new Glendale School and had been teaching there a year or so when I arrived. She married (Prigge), and was later given the Brushy Ridge School. My sister is now 85 and living in Victoria. 

As I was a very poor sailor and was ill from my trip, Dr. Park, the local doctor, introduced me to C. W. Fisher, the Speaker in the Legislature, and I was given a permit for a year, the result was, a little later, being given a job at the Jumping Pound School. 

The Potts brothers had their ranch in full swing with horses and some purebred cattle. Jack Potts’ brand was the Double Egg Bar (locally known as “The Dumb Bells”) on the right hip for cattle. Watt Potts’ brand was the Running or Flying W on the left shoulder for horses. When Watt drove me out to the ranch, I was very pleased to see a large lake. I couldn’t understand why they had no boat, so I advanced 

my feelings. Frank Fletcher, a boat builder from Eastern Canada, was working for the Potts brothers and it was only a few days before a lovely boat arrived on that lake, and we all enjoyed it. The cattle and horses used to go into the water when the weather got very hot. 

My pupils, for the six months I was at the Potts Ranch, were the children of Mr. and Mrs. Watt Potts, Johnnie, Jewel and Jimmie. Their youngest child, Gwen, was born while I was there. Mrs. Watt Potts’ brother was Charlie Mickle, who ran the livery barn in Cochrane. I used to visit the Mickles often and stay the night because I was giving their daughter, Nellie, piano lessons and their elder daughter, Elva, arithmetic. They also had a son Lennie, and a daughter Violet. Another girl Belle died while I was there. 

After I became a teacher at the Jumping Pound School, I boarded at Bateman’s. Mrs. Bateman was Jack’s younger sister, Jessie, and John Bateman drove in and out of Calgary with the mail, weekly. They also had a Post Office for the Jumping Pound district, until John Bateman’s

cousin Geoff arrived from Cork in Ireland and took over the weekly drive. John Bateman also had land and stock and was one of the school directors. Another director was Mr. Copithorne, who had several children. He had also come from Ireland and had land and cattle. I bought a saddle horse while I was teaching, and went visiting, getting to know the neighbours. Some of my pupils were Margaret and Percy Copithorne and a younger sister; Dolly Bateman, 16; Jim Bateman about 14; and Bill Bateman. Dolly and her sister Lucy were drowned in the Jumping Pound. 

On inquiring as to the source of the funny name, Jumping Pound, I was informed that it came from the Indians [sic], who were supposed to have “jumped over it,” others said it was thus named because fish were easily seen skipping about therein. 

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Ricks had a ranch next to the Potts brothers, and Mrs. Ricks, (Belle), Mrs. Jessie Bateman (Jumping Pound), and Mrs. Lucy Jamieson (Morley) were all sisters of Jack’s. Mrs. Rick’s husband shot himself the year I arrived in Canada. Their son Walter carried on, but he became blind and moved to Calgary. 

Jack Potts and I (Ethel Howlett) were married in August 1914, and our daughter Jean was born in 1916. When she was four she had 

diphtheria. Jack had been in bed for a year with a stroke, from which he slowly improved, but we knew we would have to leave the ranch. It was then rented to Brewsters from Banff, who ran their horses there until it was sold to the Indian Department of the Federal Government. It is now part of the Stoney Indian Reserve. 

When we were first married, the Potts brothers ranched together and Jack built our ranch house. Before that, Jack lived in a shack, but a log house had been built for Watt and his wife. Jack had his shack close to Watt’s house and had his meals with them. After my six months from school, I became engaged to Jack and he built our house. 

In 1912 Potts’ close neighbours were Arthur and Stanley Cope. Arthur Cope drove me into Calgary and took me to the first Stampede. On the other side of Potts was the Merino Ranch. The owner sold it to an English lady, Countess Bubna. She was married to a Count. They had two daughters, who were also Countesses; the younger one was often at our place. She and I used to ride together. The next neighbour to them was Dr. Ritchie, who was retired, with one or two grownup children. We used to pass these two places every time we went to Cochrane. It was about ten miles I think. Dr. Ritchie had purchased the Butler homestead at the mouth of the Jumping Pound, and on this land, he grew the first wheat to be ripened in the Cochrane District. It was shipped from Cochrane in the fall of 1908 and was the first carload of wheat ever sent from a point west of Calgary. 

My memory recalls “Happy Davis,” the local policeman for Cochrane and district. He was very much liked and talked about at the time that I arrived. He was shot walking down the village street with his dog. After his funeral, there were many discussions as to who was to look after his dog. Everyone wanted the job, he had been so popular and much liked. 

Another man in Cochrane was Mr. Johnson, who ran the butcher shop. 

Watt Potts, in town, to buy a sack of grain, discovered, as he carried a sack out to his wagon, that there was a hole in the sack and the grain was running out. So of course he pointed this out, and the serious answer he received from the owner was, “Well, we are not charging you for the hole.” 

My husband’s older brother Bill’s wife died in Montreal in the early days, and Watt Potts was sent down to bring Bill’s three children up to the old home on the Ghost River to live with Grandfather Potts and his family. Their names were Bill, born in 1885; Walter (Watty), born in 1889, and Edith, born in 1887. Edith married Frank Wellman, who managed the shop for the Indians [sic] at Morley Station. The Wellmans had three children: Edith, 1914; Lorna, 1908 and William, 1918. Wellman died of flu, the winter of 1920 when it was so bad. 

Young Walter (Watty) worked for Brewsters, who had a contract from the C.P.R., transporting American millionaires and guests from Banff station to the magnificent Banff Springs C.P.R. Hotel, 60 miles west of Cochrane. 

Neighbours over near Grandad were Mr. and Mrs. Coleman. They had a few head of stock but were not in the ranching business. I think he was an official, perhaps a magistrate because he was legally able to marry Jack and me, but we had arranged to go to Calgary. Their daughter Frances was at school down East and was home for holidays when I met her. When she left school she became secretary to an important man who discovered something – was it chloroform? I have forgotten. 

Some pleasures on the ranches consisted of, sometimes, a visit of Chautauqua, a small entertaining society. In winter the ranches had dances, and on a summer evening folks came from the roundabout and enjoyed what was called a “weeny roast.” Mrs. Ricks often played the mouth organ for the dances. 

Another neighbour was Ernie Bacon, who came out from Norfolk, England, followed a few years later by his brother Fred, and he lived at Bateman’s. For some time he drove the mail in and out of Calgary until he took up a homestead that adjoined the Potts’ ranch. There being only a barbed wire fence between him and us, we saw a great deal of him. 

Doctor Saunders, living north of Cochrane, sometimes assisted Dr. Park, and I bought my 

black mare “Queenie” from him for $125.00. She had been raced. 

Jean’s pony, called Bluey, was very quiet. Jean, being about three, used to bring him into the kitchen sometimes, and I was terrified he might get burned in passing round the kitchen range, and throw her off. So this had to be stopped! She took great pleasure driving three or four cows into the milking shed alone. We only milked about three or four cows, being sufficient for the two houses and for making butter. We also kept a pig who relished buttermilk. 

Cattle buyers used to arrive in the fall. One fellow was having a meal with us when he lifted up his leg to show a very large foot, saying this was the cheapest boot he could buy and it cost him $14.00. I was not surprised when I saw the size of it. The cattle buyers always amused me when they had decided to buy some of the cattle. They would go to the telephone and say to the agent of the C.P.R., “Will the C.P.R. or God Almighty provide me with a coach to take this bundle of cattle to Chicago?” 

When we finally had to leave the ranch, I took my husband and daughter to Vancouver. My husband could not walk and in fact, was an invalid; I nursed him for eight years. We lived in various places in British Columbia. We had a little farm near the United States border at a place called Cloverdale, which I thought would be good for Jack, as he was not a town man, but he died in 1928. Several years later I remarried. 

The first time Jean and I came to England was in 1935 when we sailed on the “Europa”, a German ship with over 2000 passengers. Being a German ship, it did not berth in England, and in mid-ocean, we were transferred to a launch for Southampton. 

The second trip was in 1938 when we sailed from Vancouver and came by the Panama Canal, on a lovely new cargo ship. It took a month, and over the Azores, we had a bad storm 

of eight strength. We were not allowed on deck as the decks were loaded six feet high with lumber from Vancouver Island. We spent the time below, as we were the only passengers except for an elderly man, who preferred to be below with the crew. 

Having had a year in business college, Jean very soon got a job as secretary to the manager of an advertising agency in London. Later on, she became a director of the firm and has been so for over 40 years. She and her husband, George Begley, were married on May 17, 1948. They have a house in Greece, where they go for holidays. I am very proud of her. She was named Jean after her Scottish grandmother. 

On the ranch, I took pictures and developed them myself. 

I am now 91 years old, and I reside in London, England.

Bert & Marion Powlesland

pg 657 More Big Hill Country 2009

Bert Powlesland was born in Cardston, Alberta, on July 25, 1925, and was raised on a mixed farm at Del Bonita, Alberta. 

I received my schooling at Del Bonita and furthered my education at Olds School of Agriculture. I graduated in 1945. 

It was at Olds I met my future bride, Marion Clayton of Airdrie, Alberta. We married on November 16, 1946, at the Anglican Pro-Cathedral Church of the Redeemer. Calgary. 

After graduating from Olds my parents, Bernard and Effie Powlesland and I purchased a ranch north of Cochrane from Mr. and Mrs. Frank Bezjack of Madden. Land purchased consisted of Section 31 Twp 26 Range 3 W5M. and the SE 36 Twp 26 Range 4 W5M. all at $25.00 an acre. At the same time, we purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Harry Beadle, Sec 35 Township 26 Range 4 West of the W5M at $20.00 an acre.

Our herd of Registered Hereford cattle was established in 1936 by my father. In 1945, the herd had grown to the size that our holdings at Del Bonita could not accommodate them all. My father and I went searching for land and after looking at several parcels that were for sale, we decided to settle in the Cochrane area. 

On Thursday, November 1, 1945, my brother Ray and I trailed 30 head of cows and a few late calves from the farm at Del Bonita to the station at Whiskey Gap, 14 miles. Here they were loaded in boxcars to be shipped by Canadian Pacific Railway to Cochrane on Friday, November 2, 1945. 

My father and I loaded our faithful saddle horse “Old Tony” in a 1941 International, half-ton pickup and headed for Cochrane. We arrived in Cochrane Friday evening but had a hard time finding a bed as the Jumping Pound Gas Field was booming at this time. Finally, we rented a room from Miss Gillis in a boarding house. 

The weather had been real mild “chinook winds” and we expected the cows to arrive Saturday, November 3, but found out that the Canadian Pacific Railway wasn’t very efficient. On Sunday morning the weather changed, a very bad storm blew in from the north. Father had to return to Del Bonita, so left me in charge of getting the cattle to their new home, nine miles north of Cochrane. 

We waited and waited for that train all day Sunday and the snow got deeper as the temperature fell. Finally, about 8 pm the cattle did arrive. My helper Joe Allen and I took a look at the cows and decided to leave them on the freight cars for the night. We were up before daylight Monday morning November 5th, as I couldn’t wait to see how the cows and calves had stood the trip. The cows looked pretty good however the calves had 

shrunk quite a lot. After unloading the cattle, I said to Joe “Sure would like to feed those cows before starting to trail them.” 

Joe had a friend Andy Garson (a relative of Alan and Victor Garson of Drumheller) who had a team and a hayrack. Andy was very kind and brought about half a ton of loose hay so the cows were fed before leaving Cochrane Stockyards. I believe the hay cost $10.00 delivered. Andy said, “Best bunch of cows ever to hit Cochrane.” 

By this time the snow was 18 inches deep and the temperature was 20 degrees below Fahrenheit. After feeding the cows and having a good dinner at Mrs. McGurdy’s Café, Joe and I headed out with the 30 cows and 6 calves. I was riding my faithful old gray horse Tony and Joe had a good brown mare. Actually, we did very little riding as it was so darn cold and still storming. 

About two miles out we met Del Sperry pulling a little two-wheel trailer with a tractor, delivering his milk, as the road was impossible for trucks and cars to travel. We stopped for a cup of tea at Earl Fenton’s as we were darn near frozen. Finally, near dark, we arrived at one of the farms we had purchased, five miles north of town. Luckily we had a stack of hay here and were able to feed the hungry cows again. 

Joe and I stayed overnight with Mr. and Mrs. Harry Beadle who were still living in the house at the time. The next day, November 6th, we moved the herd another 4 miles to where we would winter them and live at the Ranch near the head of Big Hill Springs. 

It took almost a week to move the cows and calves that were to be the nucleus of Rusticana Herefords. Today a cattle liner could do this job in as many hours or much less. 

In 1947 we purchased the N Sec 30 Twp 26 Range 3 W5M from Mr. Clark. 

The winter of 1947–1948 was one of the worst I can recall here at Cochrane. There was no snowplough service at that time and we were snowed in for most of January and February. I would ride into Cochrane about once a week or sometimes take a team and sleigh. Some may recall the controversy over the Cochrane and Cremona road that winter. Even with the Government Snow Blowers, the road could not be kept open. Finally, about March 1st, the people in the district hired a bulldozer. After many days the main road was opened but we still had to persuade the dozer operator to come to our ranch so we could get our bulls out to the Calgary Bull Sale. We sold 15 bulls at Calgary in 1948, as it was the only sale close to us at the time. 

One very cold day in the winter of 1948, I decided to ride to Cochrane for the mail and a few groceries, Meanwhile, Marion had phoned in so it was all ready for me. Blue jeans were really hard to come by so I had asked the clerk to save me a pair if any came in. I took the parcel of goods from the store and tied it on the back of my saddle and started for home. The parcel seemed a bit bulky so I thought, by golly, she put in a pair of jeans for me. Curiosity got the best of me so I had to pull off the paper and what do you think? Marion had ordered four rolls of toilet paper! 

1949 was a very dry year with poor crops and hay. We attended the Bull Sale again with a string of bulls and also I had the Grand Champion Steer. We contributed Hereford Bulls to sales for 35 years, winning many trophies and ribbons. 

Our son Lawrence Ivor (Larry) was born on April 15, 1949, on Good Friday, at the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary. It was unusually warm weather for this time of year. 

When he was four years old, he was very ill and we were snowed in and couldn’t get out for approximately two weeks. When we finally did get him to a Doctor in Calgary he was admitted to the hospital with appendicitis. 

Our daughter Donna Marion was born at the Holy Cross Hospital, September 22, 1951, and the weather was terrible, snow, rain and lots of mud. 

When our children were big enough, we would walk to Big Hill Springs Park. They would play and we’d have a wiener roast. While we lived at the Ranch, a fish hatchery was built at the Big Hill Springs Park but to no avail. Because of the water temperature, it was removed. 

When Larry was old enough for school, we had to take him to meet the School Bus, kitty-corner of the section and it was a difficult chore, meeting the bus at 7 am and again at 5 pm. We had to go any way we could 

by tractor, truck or however we could get there, as we had to compete with the weather, mud or snow. George Webb was the Bus Driver. 

We lived at the Ranch until the summer of 1956 when we sold a portion of the Ranch to Graham Greene of England, a noted author. 

We had already purchased N Sec 25 Rge 4 W5M. and W Sec 36 Rge 4 W5M for $20,000 from Dick and Evelyn Gilbert. We moved here in August of 1956 and continued to raise Purebred Herefords. We held four cattle sales at our Sales Barn and then sold cattle in Calgary and Lethbridge. 

We hayed the north half section of 35, which was native hay. George Webb, Dewey Blaney, Happy Bansemer, Orville Webb, Bill and Harry Webb were the crew. 

Larry and Donna both attended Westbrook School. Larry attended Mount Royal College in Calgary after graduation and then attended Northern Alberta Institue of Technology in Edmonton and the Foothills Hospital, graduating as a Radiology Technician. He worked at the Foothills Hospital for 15 years. 

Donna continued on to Cochrane High and then graduated from Olds College. She met her future husband. Ian Airth, and they married June 10, 1972, at Parkdale United Church, Calgary. 

We have always been very involved in our community and have seen many changes, from having no power, no natural gas, a haphazard telephone system and very few roads. 

Bert was instrumental in helping these luxuries arrive. He served on the Cochrane North Mutual Telephone Company and has served as Director of the Cochrane Lake Gas Co-op for 50 years. 

We raised Purebred Horned Herefords for over 40 years and he was Past President and Director of the Alberta Hereford Association, Past Secretary of Alberta Hereford Quarter Century Club. We were inducted into the Alberta Hereford Association Hall of Fame, and are past leaders of Westbrook 4-H Beef Club. 

Marion is a Past President of Chinook Hereford Belles and was instrumental in the formation of the Alberta Junior Hereford Club, Past President and Secretary of the Westbrook Parent Teacher’s Association, volunteered to help with the formation of the Westbrook School Fair and volunteers as a Judge for Baking Classes. This fair is still continuing after 45 years. She is a member of Lochend Ladies Club since 1951, a charter member of Cochrane Lioness Club and a Past Secretary, also served a term for the Lions and Lioness District as Lioness Associate for all Lioness Clubs. She served as Secretary for Big Hill Senior Citizens Association for many years. 

Bert is a member of Cochrane Lions Club and was instrumental in the forming of the Cochrane Lions Rangeland Frolics held each year in Cochrane on Labour Day Weekend 

We both received Melvin Jones awards, the highest award given by Lions International. We are both Life Members of our respective Clubs. 

In 1992, we received the Cochrane and District Chamber of Commerce Community Builder Award and also an Outstanding Citizenship Award from the Municipal District of Rocky View #44, and in March 2001 the Canadian Hereford Association Honour Roll, Hereford Breeders of Distinction Award. 

Since 1949 we have been members of the Weedon Pioneer Association. 

In 1974 we moved to where we are today. Our daughter Donna and husband Ian Airth live on the Rusticana Ranch, raising hay and a commercial herd of cattle. 

They raised two boys, Howard and Clayton. Howard and his wife Jolene live close by with their two children, Keely and Justin. Clayton lives in Red Deer and has two children, Michael and Andrew. 

Larry lives in Indianapolis, U.S.A. He has a daughter Leanne and she and her husband Martin live in Edmonton. They have two children, Emelie and Austin. Larry’s son, Brett, and his wife Cara also live in Edmonton with their two children, Nicholas and Taelynn. 

We enjoy living in our community but find it is changing too much and too fast. We celebrated our Diamond Wedding Anniversary, November 16, 2006. We have been blessed to have lived here all these years. We enjoy our grandchildren and great-grandchildren and our family. We have enjoyed travelling with our motorhome and to England and the U.S., Our hobbies and gardening keep us busy. Family gatherings in the summer and at Christmas, visits with our numerous friends and the class reunions each year at Olds are great times to enjoy and remember. 

Hawkwood Family

pg 498 More Big Hill Country 2009

Arthur and Isabella came to Calgary in 1913, Isabella from Cautley, Yorkshire and Arthur from Rochdale, Lancashire, England. Arthur had come to Calgary in 1910 but went back to England, met and married Isabella Richardson on March 12, 1913. Her sister Jane Davidson, married to William, lived in Calgary so this became their destination. 

They were pioneers and for Isabella to leave a beautiful home with carpets and running water was a cultural shock. They lived on several small acreages and milked a few cows. In Calgary, Arthur worked at the C.P.R. freight yards. 

In 1921 they bought a quarter section of land SE Sec 16, Twp 25, R 2 W5M from R.B. Bennett, who was to become Prime Minister of Canada. It was situated at 85th Street and Morley Trail with rolling hills and a big slough near the road. Travellers, including Morley Indians [sic], would often camp near the slough to rest and water their horses. 

They came with a few head of dairy cows and continued shipping milk to the Union Dairy. At this time they had three children; Agnes, Tom and Betty. 

To supplement their income they also grew a beautiful garden, selling potatoes to the Hudson Bay Company and also to the Tea Kettle Inn. They had four hundred white Peking ducks at one time which they raised on the big slough and sold to the market in Calgary when mature. Mrs. Hawkwood’s fresh eggs were a popular item for people who stopped by. 

As time went by their family increased with the arrival of four more children; Miles, John, Margaret and Joe. 

With the need for more land to pasture and feed the cattle, they bought land from Burns Ranch, north of their farmland which is now Scenic Acres and here a Twelve Mile Coulee. 

Everyone worked hard to make a living for their family through the drought and depression years of the 1930s. 

In the early years (where Silver Springs is now the land was open with no fences, so the Hawkwood children would take the cows over the Morley Trail and pasture them on the thick grass. One time, when Tom was a litttle boy on his horse, he saw an owl come out of a hole in the ground with its little ones. (It would have been a burrowing owl which is all but extinct now.) When he went home and told his mother, she scolded him for making up such a wild story. 

The eight-gallon cans of milk had to be cooled immediately for good quality milk. They would be put in big troughs of water near where the water from the well would be pumped in from one end and at the other end of the trough the water would run out to another pipe to the trough outside which would supply drinking water for the cows. 

During the hot summers of the ’30s, the Hawkwood’s had blocks of ice brought up from Alberta Ice Co. at Bowness. They stored it with wood shavings and sawdust layered between ice blocks in a hand-dug well which was fifteen or so feet deep and had gone dry Every milking time they would put a block of ice into the trough of water with the cans to cool the milk. This icehouse was a wonderful place to keep food, lettuce cheese, and meat cool. The Alberta Ice Company was one of Bowness’s first business enterprises with operations spanning from 1914 to 1954. Ice was shipped to Calgary homes for the old iceboxes. The C.P.R. train got its ice here at the Keith Station for cooling train cars and for preserving food in the passenger cars. 

All the Hawkwood children went to the Bearspaw School, walked or rode horseback (no buses then). The little country school has now been moved from its original site near the Bearspaw Lion’s Hall across the road south of 1A Highway near the new Bearspaw School The old school has been restored, put on a basement with plumbing and electricity. Children come from other schools to see how our old schools looked with so little space for eight grades (no computers – very few shelves for books). 

Agnes went to England, got her training to be a nurse and nursed in London, England hospitals during the years of WW II. On her return to Canada after the war. she married George Alton in Lucknow, Ontario in 1947 and they had a son, Douglas. George was a widower 

with two small girls. After George’s death in 1956, Agnes married Jack Ritchie and had another son, Kenneth. She passed away in 1961. Douglas Alton is now manager of the Watergrove Mobile Home Park in Crowfoot and is married to Joanne Craig from Cochrane. They have two children, Casey and Shelby. Shelby married Shawn Befus and they have little Wyatt. 

Betty married Jack Bancroft of the Glendale district in 1945. They lived up the Lochend Road, about two miles north of 1A Highway and milked cows. The road was not gravelled at that time. They had two children. Bill and Judy. Bill married Judy Knight from Irricana and had two children, Jennifer and Guy and they now have two grandchildren. Judy Bancroft married Rod Sydenham and they had three children; Stephen, Michael and Laura. Jack passed away in 2006. 

Miles married Leona Walters from Calgary in 1952 and they had four children; Sue, Brent, Janet and Carol.  Miles had a dairy farm where Ranchlands is now, sold it and their farm is a few miles north of the Calgary Provincial Gaol. They raised beef cattle and grain. Miles passed away in May 2002. Sue married Gordon MacCraig from Ontario, and they have two girls, Hallie and Kelsey. Brent married Gina and has a son Ryan and a daughter Crystal. Janet lives in Halifax and teaches drama. Carol married Jon Rasmussen from Bearspaw. They have two children, Paula and Ben.

John  (Jack) was in the Canadian Navy during World II. In 1952 he married Doreen Clifford of the Sandale district. They bought the Charles Cohoe place, milked cows there and had two children: Debra and Robert. Debra is married to Jim Watkinson. John died in 1991.

Margaret married Sam Chalack in August 1948 and lived on the John Standring place six miles up from Highway 1A for fifty years. They have milked all their lives. They had four sons: David, Dennis, Tom and Tim. Tom passed away in 1978 and Sam in 1986.

Joe married Aurica Chalack in 1955 (a cousin of Sam). The original Hawkwood farm became their place where they, too, milked cows for several years. They raised four children; Howard, Greg, Joanne and Todd. Howard married Nielle Hendricks from Irriicana in 1980, ranches in the Lochend district and they have two sons, Joe and Daniel. Greg married  Janice Tolarico from Grand Forks, British Columbia in and they, too, live in the Lochend district and ranch. They have three children: Erin married Alliston Machan,  Scott is a welder at Kevin Hoare business in Bearspaw and Megan is at home. Joanne married 

Kevin Fraser from Camrose, Alberta in 1986, They live in the Lochend district and have two boys; Garrett and Brandon. Todd lives at home with Aurica. Joe passed away in September 1989. 

All the children from all the families attended Cochrane Schools. 

Arthur Hawkwood passed away in April 1956, at the age of 68 years, and Isabella, age 88, passed away in 1980. They are both buried at Queen’s Park Cemetery in Calgary. The Hawkwood family had its 60th Christmas Party in December 2006. Originally it was to celebrate Grandma’s birthday, Dec. 25th. Since then the families have grown and there are now seventy-two family members, which includes many little great great-grandchildren. 


Tom Hawkwood Family 

Thomas Hawkwood and I, Gertrude Hanes, eldest daughter of Gladys and Frank Hanes of the Glendale and Cochrane district, were married April 26, 1947, at Crescent Heights United Church in Calgary. The Hanes family came from Manyberries, Alberta to Glendale in 1924 with Gertrude and the twins, Betty and Lois. 

We came here to our farm at 12 Mile Coulee and 1A Highway S Sec 19 Twp 25 Range 2 W5M and this has been our home ever since, sixty years later. It was a bare piece of property – some of the land had been broken for a crop but no fences. Many crops of prairie wool hay had been harvested here. 

Tom had bought a small house and had it moved on the land and drilled a well. He had a two-ton truck for custom trucking. Rationing was still in existence…sugar, jam, butter, and meat. Not much for two people. We grew a good garden and Tom built me a chicken house. We bought a few cows so we soon had eggs and cream for sale. Five dollars for a five-gallon cream can! Tom built our dairy barn, our dairy herd increased and we were able to get our milk quota to ship milk to the Union Dairy in Calgary. We milked our cows by hand as most people did in those days. Water was pumped by windmills or gasoline engines or by hand. 

At this time (1949) the Foothills Rural Electrification Association was formed. Bill McNeill was President, Ernie Vickie Secretary-Treasurer, Bill Osler and Tom were directors. After many discussions and decisions, the Calgary Power Company brought power to the district. The farmers dug the holes for the poles to speed up the progress. In September 1950 the “lights came on”. Everything from milking machines to washing machines were some of our new acquisitions. What a

thrill! With the advent of power, people were able to have water pressure and plumbing came into our homes. 

In the early 1950s, hay balers came into use and swathers and combines for grain crops. The old binders and threshing machines, horse-drawn mowers and rakes became obsolete. 

The Bearspaw Lions Club was formed in 1953. The members acquired an old building from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology which has been used by airmen at the #2 Wireless School during WW II. This building was brought out and placed near the Bearspaw School on land north of 1A highway and generously donated to the Bearspaw Lions Club by Mr. Lauritz Pedersen. The members worked hard to make the building into a hall. Before the natural gas came into the district (1970 to our place), it was heated by propane. The hall soon became the hub for social events, 4-H meetings, W.I. meetings, card parties, dances, showers for young people….so many good times. The Lions had Halloween parties and Christmas parties for the children. Over 50 years later the Lions still serve the community so well. Tom was given his life membership for Lions in June 1988 

Norman Newsome and his sons, Darrell and David, hauled our milk for over twenty years until they moved away to the Cremona district in the 1970s. Then Les and Bob Gathercole took over their route. At this time eight-gallon cans of milk were lifted from the cooling troughs and then onto the truck. 

In 1961 everything changed and all the dairy farmers had to have refrigerated stainless steel milk tanks installed into the milk houses which had to be attached to the barns. The milk was then pumped into the stainless steel tanks on the milk hauler trucks. A big change for everyone. 

In 1946 Cliff Gillespie and his brother-in-law Ted Cushing, veterans of WW II, open an ESSO Service Station just east of where the Bearspaw Road and 1A highway connect, on the south side of the road. They kept the neighbourhood machinery and vehicles in repair. A lot of world problems were discussed and solved around their pot-bellied stove. Dorothy and Cliff and children Ronnie and Leanne moved to Water Valley and were very much missed in the community. Cliff died in 1981 and Dorothy in 2006. Kathleen and Ted Cushing and children Gordon, Linda and Maureen all moved away. 

In 1953 we built our new house. What a thrill to have a forced-air furnace, an electric cook stove and plumbing. 

In 1951 Tom became the Secretary-Treasurer for the Bearspaw Mutual Telephone as well as helping Leigh 

Blackwell as a linesman. Keeping everyone happy on a busy party line often took great diplomacy. Tom was good at that. The Alberta Government Telephones (A.G.T.) took over the Bearspaw Mutual Telephone lines in September 1970. Lines went underground. The district had become more populated with many acreages. Times changed. 

George Stryker and his brother, who had bought the Pallesen dairy farm when it had a complete sale of land and cows in 1950, bought sections 26, 27, 28 and 33. He sold the land in 1956 to the Alberta Government for the site of the “Spy Hill Gaol”, SW Sec 27 Twp 25 Range 2 W5M. The first inmates came in December 1958. 

On top of Spy Hill, there is a huge water tank holding 340,000 gallons. This water is pumped up there from the Bow River, some four miles away. The filtration plant is at the river with a booster station just south of Highway 1A. 

We have always had wonderful neighbours. The Maxwell Smiths (Max, Marella, Doug, Dianne and Sandra), just over the 12 Mile Coulee on the east side W5M. McNeill family; Bill, Dorothy and five children 

There were Leigh Blackwell, Jim, Mary, Terry and Anne. To the south lived the Damkar family; Brent. Ernie, Norman, Ruth and the Oslers, Bill and Jess and family: Kathleen, Bill, Jack and Hugh. They had come in 1947 from Winnipeg. In 1963 the Calgary Power bought their property for the new Bearspaw Dam site. York Shaw moved their lovely big home up those steep hills to the NE Sec 18 Twp 25 Range 2 W5M. It is still there among the many homes in the Blue Ridge subdivision.

In later years people by the name of Rudolph bought the Osler land and built a big riding arena there. In 1968 the Bearspaw Lions Club and the Glendale Women’s Institute started the Bearspaw and District Country Fair which is now held in Cochrane every year. Our first fair was held at Rudolph’s Arena and was a great event for everyone. Our girls decided that they just had to put their cat, a big yellow fellow “Freddy, the FreeLoader” into the show. After putting him in his cage on the table with all the other cats, he didn’t think it was a good idea. He shouldered and moved the cage to the edge of the table and was soon away. Two tearful children knew they would never see their cat again! However, when we got home and went over to the barn for milking, there he was waiting for his supper. 

In 1958 Tom and I became parents. Glenda was born on Oct 15, 1958, and Kathleen in 1961. Our girls went to Cochrane schools with Bob Thomas and fran Pedersen, their bus drivers. In due time they joined the Bearspaw 4-H dairy club and 4-H sewing club. Glenda

took a secretarial course at Olds College and Kathleen took Secretary Arts at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Glenda married Jack Johansen of Strathmore in 1980 and they have two sons, Calvin and Mark. Kathleen lives in Calgary and has worked in the brokerage business for many years. 

Miles and Leona Hawkwood got the first TV that we knew of in 1954. Ed Sullivan was very special. 

In the early years, an event happened that could have been tragic. It was September with the evenings short and the temperature cooler. Our girls were tucked in bed, the milking done and Tom’s Mom, Tom and I were sitting down for a cup of tea after a busy day. The phone rang and it was the police telling us that a small boy was lost and they needed help to find him. Tom got his flashlight and off he went. The Rocky Ridge Road wasn’t built then and the countryside behind Eamon’s Drive Inn and to the north for miles was rough hills, willow bush, groves of poplars and many sloughs. A lady had a children’s daycare in her house just north of the IA highway and along what is now the Rocky Ridge Road and it was from there that the little fellow had wandered.

Many people had come out from Calgary and the police had them divide into groups and so they travelled up over that rough terrain in the dark. Around midnight after many hours, a very tired but happy Tom came home. He had been with a very distraught father of the boy and a policeman when they found the little boy asleep in a willow bush. He was unharmed, just cold, but no one ever heard of this terrifying event again. 

We became purebred Holstein breeders in 1963 and in 1976 sold our dairy herd to Donald Chalack at Innisfail. We had established a purebred Hereford herd os then and enjoyed meeting with a new group of people who raised and sold registered cattle. In 2002 we sold this herd to Greg Hawkwood. 

These have been busy, happy years on the farm. We had some good trips to Ontario, England, Hawaii and Arizona. Tom enjoyed his many years with the Bearspaw Lions Club and I enjoy my membership in the Glendale Women’s Institute and attending St. Andrew’s United Church in Cochrane. Tom passed away on Dec. 25, 2004, at the age of 87 and am thankful for dear family and friends. 

Richard and Sophia Copithorne

by R.P. Copithorne pg 754 Big Hill Country

Richard Copithorne arrived in the North West Territories and Calgary in 1887 following his brother, John, who came four years earlier from Cork, Ireland. 

Upon arrival, Richard took a job making a grade on Mission Hill in Calgary. After working there for several months he had earned enough money to buy a team of horses, wagon and other homesteader’s supplies to file on a homestead. 

John, who had been freighting supplies to the Morley Indians [sic], liked the Jumping Pound area and remarked that it looked more like Ireland than anywhere else he had been, so Jumping Pound was the district decided on for their homesteads. 

Richard filed on the NW14 32-24-4-5 and built a log cabin which had a sod roof and cellar under the floor, a place to keep groceries and vegetables. The cellar is still discernible to this day. 

John filed on the SE 146-25-4-5 which was close by and they decided to go into partnership and enter the dairy business which consisted of making butter and hauling it 25 miles to Calgary. Eventually, a range herd was built up and Lazy J on the left hip was the registered brand. 

Money in those days was hard to come by. The grocers could not pay cash for the butter so everything was taken out in trade and a good many times the round trip was made over the prairie trail because there was no cash to stay overnight in Calgary. 

This partnership lasted till about the turn of the century when Richard applied for his own brand which was CL Right-hip and CL Right-ribs for cattle and CL Left-hip for horses. 

During the early years, the fences were made of poles or rails nailed onto A-frames. I remember seeing some of these fences still in 

use and also some snake fences which consisted of logs notched into one another in a zigzag fashion. I have since marvelled at the amount of work it took to erect these fences. 

Both Richard and John were great sportsmen. There were apparently lots of ducks and pin-tailed grouse in the country. Some years there was water in every little slough and ducks in every puddle. They used muzzle-loading shotguns. If a long shot was required, more powder was used or as much as a man could stand up behind. 

Richard kept hounds and loved to organize coyote hunts. People from as far as twenty miles would attend to prove they had the best horse. Whoever was first to the kill received the brush (tail) which was the trophy. No barb wire fences in those days to worry about, but sometimes a kit fox or rabbit would distract the dogs from the main objective. 

Richard married Sophia Wills in 1895, a daughter of Geo. Wills of Springbank. He built a new house for his bride on the NE 14 31-24-4-5 which he bought from the C.P.R. This house was also built of logs with a sod roof, but boards were put on top of the sods to drain the water off. This also kept it from raining inside for days after the storm was over. 

A family of five boys and two girls were born to them in the following order: Robert Percy, Margaret Jane (Mrs. J. C. Buckley of Springbank), George William (deceased), Francis Richard and Annie Winnifred (Mrs. Idwal Jones) who were twins, Arthur James, who was killed by a horse in 1915 at the age of five years, and Clarence, who has been a Minister in the Alberta Legislature. 

Around 1900 a sawmill was started about six miles from home and a new house was built in 1902. Bill Pepper was the carpenter who built the two-storey frame building which is still being used and in good repair

In 1895 a plan was proposed for an irrigation canal to serve the district from Jumping Pound through Springbank to Calgary. Almost every resident signed the petition, but Richard and John Copithorne’s names were not on the list. I surmise they thought that a country that was too cold to grow a pratie (potato) did not warrant the expense of an irrigation canal. This project did get started and about ten miles of the ditch was completed when it was abandoned on account of excessive rainfall about 1900. 

The South African Boer War had now started and several of the local boys joined a regiment named the C.M.R., (Canadian Mounted Rifles). 

A story told by Napoleon Blache, a close neighbour of Richard’s, was of how Napoleon and his brother, Arthur Blache, attempted to raise hogs by letting them run all over the range during the summer months. In the late fall, the hogs were rounded up for slaughter. Not being very well acquainted with the method of dressing hogs, they tried scalding which did not work so well. They also tried shaving which did not work either, so they ended up skinning them. The weather was quite frosty and the hogs froze solid overnight. They looked such a horrible mess a decision was made to store them up in the barn loft and cover them with hay before anybody else would see them. The following Sunday evening a neighbour, Mr. Tesky, called in for a visit. Of course, he was invited to put his horse in the barn and stay for supper. After putting his horse in the barn Mr. Tesky decided he should give the 

animal some hay, so he went up in the loft, took the fork and pulled the hay off one of those frozen hogs. The light being not very good at that time of day he was quite startled, took two or three steps backward and fell down through a hole into the manger. 

In 1911 the Jumping Pound Stock Association was formed. A lease comprising of 12,800 acres was acquired and is situated along the full length of the Forest Reserve between the Morley Indian Reserve and Bragg Creek, it appeared to be quite attractive. This lease was drawn up for a term of twenty-one years at the annual rental of $256.00 and a capacity rate of one head per 20 acres. It was termed as doing business under the name and firm of The Jumping Pound Stock Association Ranch No. 3972 with the Honourable Minister of the Interior, representative of His Majesty King George the Fifth. The names of the members of this lease are as follows:

W. Ellis

C. Barnes

H. Ricks 

Oliver Ellis 

Frank Sibbald 

Leo J. F. Ward 

Louis D. Nicoll

R. Copithorne 

Eugene E. Nicoll

S. Copithorne

C. Gardner 

John Park

W.H. Edge 

Thomas Cope

C.E. Sibbald

J. Copithorne

W.A. Mickle 

W. R. Duncan 

W.R. Potts 


J.D. Potts

D.V. Saunders 

Robert Logan 

Oswald Ward

J. A. W. Fraser

C. W. Mickle


This lease is still in operation and intact although many changes have been made in the Constitution. It is still used by the third generation of some of the above-mentioned members including Richard Copithorne. 

During the winter of 1907 and 08, Richard and John went back to Ireland to visit their kinfolk. They sailed from New York on the Lusitania, a ship which was the latest thing for speed and style. However, they admitted they were darn poor sailors but did have a marvellous time at the old home where their parents still lived. 

The winter of 1906 and 07 made history for being one of the worst winters on record, a heavy loss of cattle across the prairies being the prime tragedy. 

In the fall of 1914, Richard decided to retire to a small farm consisting of eight acres bought in Gordon Head, a district a few miles out of Victoria, British Columbia. His brother Sam was to operate and be the general manager of the Jumping Pound ranch, so in November the whole family moved to Gordon Head. Livestock consisted of one horse and one tough old milk cow; the new farm was quite a let-down in the family’s point of view. Some chickens were ordered from the home ranch and when they arrived the rooster’s comb looked black and wizened, while some of the hens’ toes were missing. Then we realized we were missing an Alberta winter. 

While the family did make some nice friends at the different school’s everybody was homesick. By September 1, the beginning of the next school year, everybody was back home in good old Jumping Pound. 

Richard was a man who liked horses and when the First World War broke out there were about three hundred Clydesdale horses on the ranch. A horse in those days never had a rope on him until he was four years old. A hurry-up call for horses for the cavalry made a considerable lot of work. It was often marvelled at how these wild horses tamed down when taken off their home range and put in a military camp. 

During the war years, suitable help for haying was quite a problem and every morning one would wonder what was going to happen next. Luckily, they never quit making new mowers and hay rakes. 

Somewhere about 1915, the first car, a Model T, was bought from Tom Quigley of Cochrane. Those cars could tell of some experiences if cars could talk. Although nothing very serious happened to Richard, some of the other neighbours had their trials. In one case, a rancher bought a brand new Model T and that night when taking it home across the prairies it stopped miles from nowhere. He cranked and cranked and finally being so exasperated, he said, “You S.O.B. if you won’t run, you won’t see either”, and kicked out all the lights, 

On another occasion, this particular rancher had a large round corral where he thought was a good place to learn how to drive the new car. He had a boy holding the gate shut and after several rounds in the corral, he yelled at the boy to open the gate and let her go. But the boy did not get the gate open fast enough. Luckily the gate was made out of light rails and there seemed to be plenty of them at the time of impact. 

In 1922 Richard’s wife, Sophia, took ill in the late autumn and passed away the following March 1923, at the age of 43. This was a hard blow as she loved to ride over the ranch with him. She loved to ride a good horse and in the earlier days would ride on the coyote hunts. She always used a side-saddle which is still kept on the ranch and is in good repair. 

One time in the early days while Richard was away riding a man walked to the cabin door and wanted to borrow a horse so that he could catch his own horse which got away from him. Luckily a man who was working for Richard on a new shed said that he would have to go to Glen Healy’s about one mile away to get a horse. After he left, the hired man told Sophia he would stay around close because he did not like his looks. That night some policemen slept on the kitchen floor as they were looking for Ernest Cashel, a man wanted for murder. 

In 1927 Richard bought his first tractor, a Model D John Deere all fitted with extension rims and lugs. This spelled the end of the horse era and the beginning of farming for his boys 

who stayed with him through all the good and grim years. 

Richard passed away on April 27, 1936, at the age of 75 years and was buried in the Springbank Cemetery along with his wife and deceased son, Arthur. 

During almost 50 years of ranching, from the time he first took out a homestead until his death, Richard built up a ranch comprised of about fifteen thousand acres of deeded land well stocked with Hereford cattle. The ranch still remains in the family but has been divided into three equal units. 

Martin Rossander

page 268 Big Hill Country

In 1932 at the age of fourteen, I sought an escape from the Saskatchewan dust bowl, Broadacres. Taking a few items of clothing, a violin, a dollar and a quarter, and a freight train, I headed west. My big brother Albert was trucking hay from Cochrane to feed the buffalo in Banff, so there was no better idea than to go stay with him. I got a job as a truck swamper for a while then I worked on ranches in the district. 

During the 1930s Cochrane people sent teams to work on the highway at Lake Louise. In 1934 1 drove a team for Ernie Copithorne. I shared the expenses and wages with him, the wages being 75 cents per hour. 

Some of the Cochrane boys I worked with were: Dave Bryant, Art Coburn, Johnnie Brysh, Ian McKinnon, Lee Bouck, Lorne McKinnon, and Jim Burrels. The boss was a no-nonsense man by the name of McDonald. My dog’s name was Ramsay McDonald and the boss soon learned to like him better than he did me or my team. 

We had lots of entertainment in camp. Art Coburn played the gramophone and had every Wilf Carter ditty in the catalogue. I played the button accordion, one man played classical music on his violin, and Scotty played the 

bagpipes. Les Chadderton and his friend played the guitar and one boy played the banjo. None of us had a common beat but we had a terrific range. In a road camp miles from home even bad music hath charm. 

In 1935 I bought a horse and teamed it up with a horse of Fred Ritsons. I tanned a hide and made my own harness, shod my team, and again set out on the week-long trip to Lake Louise. Les Chadderton overtook me and we drove up together. He was driving a team Jim Elder had bought at a local auction sale after the death of a Cochrane farmer, Mark O’Neil. I led a saddle horse behind as far as Banff, one Brewsters had boarded at J. B. Rodgers for the winter. 

To get a team on at Lake Louise you had to be a staunch Liberal or Conservative, flexible to 

whatever party had the upper hand in the government. I must have bought my job as I was not old enough to vote. The only tragedy at Lake Louise was when the wind blew my tengallon hat off and it floated away in a treacherous glacier chasm

In 1938 I decided to build a house on wheels. Everyone was interested in my idea. Blacksmith Murray suggested I make the frame of steel, carpenter Fletcher recommended wood, I didnt ask the local bricklayers but I decided if a hornet could do it I could. Working in Doc River’s garage, Albert and I built a temporary frame covered with several pasted layers of laminated paper, then painted, furnished and launched it. Theodore Braucht and others were so enthused with the finished project they encouraged me to apply for a patent. I sent for an application form but the patent attorney joined the Army and that was the end of that. Today fibreglass is being used in the same technique as I cooked up in Doc Rivers garage

I remember Andy and Flora Garson very well. When I was working on a water well drilling rig owned by an Irish gentleman, who had a yen for the tavern, and we were set up next door to Garsons, Paddy had to go meet somebody so I thought I would have asleep in the sun. Flora sent Vera Nagy over with a pillow to make my work easier. Flora milked several cows and sold milk to many customers in Cochrane. The Nagy family lived across the street and Amy and Vera helped Flora with a lot of work

I now live at Powell River, British Columbia. I married twice but have lived alone for the last twelve years. I had one son, Stanley, who met death in a drowning accident, in 1956, at the age of twelve years. 

I retired in 1965 in protest against the rat race. I am self-employed, have a country home, have an experimental garden as a demonstration unit for survival when the food trucks cease to come. I own a few houses which I rent out. 

I am very involved in experimental issues, do research, promote recycling, am involved in the Greenpeace project, and attend the oil-spill seminars. I am very interested in Bill Malcolm’s “Crusade Against all Cruelty to Animals Campaign”, one of Bill’s main objectives being to do away with the steel leg-hold and jaw traps. 

Albert was in the trucking business in Cochrane for several years. He now owns a sash and door factory in Ponoka, Alberta. 

William Robinson Family

by Annie Derrick pg 268 Big Hill Country

My mother, Sarah Quigley, was born in Westville, Nova Scotia, and came to Cochrane in 1885. Dad was born in Pembroke, Ontario, and came West with a harvest excursion. Dad was on his way back to Centralia and decided to stop at Cochrane to visit his brother Jack, who had come to Cochrane in 1904 and took out a homestead in 1905. Uncle Jack moved to Gleichen in 1906. Dad was persuaded to stay at Cochrane and work at Uncle Tom Quigley’s sawmill, as a millwright. Mother was cooking at the mill and it was here that she met Dad. They were married in September 1905. I was born in the old Quigley house at the east end of Cochrane (Barnharts live there now). Mother and Dad were still working at the mill when I was born and they used to tell the story about Dad keeping the horses ready several days before I arrived, in case there was a rush trip to Cochrane. 

Later Mother and Dad moved to Cochrane. Dad and the Chapman brothers built our house just across the road from Grandpa Quigley. Edna was born in the old Quigley house, and my brother Jim was born there too, but it had been made into a hospital by the time Jim was born. Jack was born in Grandpa’s little brick house (Sibbald house). 

Later Mother and Dad moved to Cochrane. Dad and the Chapman brothers built our house just across the road from Grandpa Quigley. Edna was born in the old Quigley house, and my brother Jim was born there too, but it had been made into a hospital by the time Jim was born. Jack was born in Grandpa’s little brick house (Sibbald house). 

I can recall the flu epidemic in 1918. Grandma Quigley was kept busy nursing all the ill members of her family. She went from house to house tending to them all. 

Dad did carpenter work for a few years and also ran a garage. We moved to the house beside Chapman’s garage. I attended school in Cochrane and took part in the Drama Club. In 1922 the family moved to Exshaw, Alberta, where they lived until Dad’s death in 1942. 

We have many happy memories of our parents’ parties, Quigley reunions and picnics at Big Hill Springs. One time I took the dance crowd home because it was too cold in the Orange Hall. Mother and Dad got up and made lunch for all of us. Our friends were always welcome at our house. Mother often spoke of the Cochrane races and the one thing that she recalled was the oranges and bananas. She said they looked forward to the races because that was the only time they could have such fruit. 

Edna married Maurice Walker of Exshaw, they have one son, Russel, and a daughter, Jean. They have seven grandchildren. 

I married Dan Derrick of Warner, Alberta, and we have three sons, John, and twins, Ronald and Donald. Dan passed away in 1938 and I went back teaching school. 

Jim married Doreen Dewell of England and they have three children, Marilyn, Michael and Martin. 

Mother lived with me for several years until she passed away in 1972, at the age of 89.

C.W. Fisher

by Marjorie Spicer Big Hill Country Pg 228 

Charles Wellington (C. W.) Fisher was born near London, Ontario, in 1871. His parents came to Canada from Perthshire, Scotland. At the age of 28 years, Charles came west to the Cochrane area. 

In 1899 Charles purchased the Merino Ranch and a large amount of business property in Cochrane. He stocked his ranch with registered Shorthorn cattle and after tearing down the trading store owned by James Johnstone and Tom Quigley, he put up a large business block, known as the Fisher Block. The building had a store, hardware, meat market, business offices, doctors’ offices, and in later years the Union Bank, the telephone office and the office of the Cochrane Advocate. Besides all these businesses a room was reserved as Liberal Campaign headquarters. 

After putting up the business block Charles sold the Merino ranch to A. McPherson. 

In 1905 Charles entered the political field. Alberta had been declared a province and a cabinet was being formed. Charles, who was a strong Liberal and had a lot of Liberal supporters in Cochrane and the surrounding area, decided to run as a representative for the Cochrane area. He won it, and in 1906 became the first Speaker of the House and remained as such until 1919. 

Soon after his election to parliament, Charles married Miss Marjorie Powell, niece of Mrs. Fred Carling. Charles purchased land north of 

the village including the “Big Hill” and he made plans to build a large stone house for his bride. Stonemasons were brought over from England to cut the stone and help build the house. When the family moved into the house, maids were hired to run the household and cooks were brought over from England. 

The Fishers lived lavishly, did a great deal of entertaining, and one of the highlights of the season was a wolf hunt each fall. There were never any wolves captured as far as anyone can recall. 

The children had their own pony to drive, a carriage was imported from New York for the children to ride in, and a special barn was built to house the pony and the carriage. The children used to drive to Cochrane School with their pony and carriage. 

Mrs. Fisher and her family moved to Victoria in 1917. She found life in Cochrane too lonesome while her husband was in Edmonton. Charles died in 1919 as a result of an attack of the flu. Mrs. Fisher never did return to Cochrane to live. The large house and the land were operated by Mr. Fisher’s half-brother, Tom, for a number of years. 

Charles Fisher and his wife had five children, three boys and two girls. 

The Fisher home and the land were sold around 1932 to Mr. Tweddle and in the 1940s it was sold to Harry and Jack McConachie. They made several improvements to the house and the grounds, and in the late 1940s they sold it to the Franciscan Order, and it is now known as the Mount St. Francis Retreat. 

Cochrane fought many battles to remain on Map

from A Peep into the Past by Gordon and Belle Hall Vol. 1 pg 59

In 1895 Cochrane could boast of its first church, built by members of the Roman Catholic faith, to be followed by an Anglican church moved from deserted Mitford in 1899 and the establishment of a Presbyterian Church in 1927. In 1898 Jim and Joe Murphy built a new house known as the Murphy House. It became a famous landmark and stood where Bowridge Motors Garage is. It burned down in 1927. 

Then in 1901, C.W. Fisher established Cochrane’s first implement business. The following year a Mrs. R. Smith started a maternity hospital in her house and it was operated for a short time by Dr. Toronto. The same year the first brick kiln was in Cochrane by Pete Collins. An unorganized hamlet until 1903, Cochrane was incorporated that year. Old records show $ 100 was spent on streets in 1904 and at the same time the salary of the overseer was set at $15 per year. The overseer’s salary took a major rise to $25 in 1905 when the village enjoyed a minor boom with the building of a second hotel, a livery stable and the establishment of a medical practice by Dr. A.W. Parks. The year 1908 saw a smallpox epidemic strike, and it was necessary to establish a quarantine camp near the Bow River where patients were housed in tents with wooden floors. Guards had to be hired to keep relatives away and when the epidemic subsided – after 25 residents had been stricken – it took the village two years to pay back the money borrowed to operate the camp. 

In 1908 Duncan Shelley opened the Shelly Quarry which supplied the sandstone for some of Calgary’s early buildings and it remained in operation until 1914. In March 1909 Cochrane gained in stature when J. Mewhot started a weekly paper called the Cochrane Advocate. The paper had 16 editors over a span of 14 years before it finally folded. Most of the editors were also the owners and nearly all went bankrupt. The same year the paper was started, the village formed a fire department. Robert Hewett was appointed fire chief, also a village constable at a salary of $5 dollars a year plus fee. Property for a fire hall and council chambers was acquired for $150 and the building for $429. 

In 1910 the Union Bank opened a branch in Cochrane. The Royal Bank absorbed the Union Bank in 1925 and continues today. In the same year 1910, Dr. Park became house physician of a small hospital. In 1911 the first garage which could accommodate four cars was built, a creamery association was formed and a small sawmill started. The 1911 census showed a population of 395 and more or less stayed that way until 1941. By 1914 the industrial expansion based on bricks, coal, sandstone and timber had ended and the First World War struck Cochrane a crippling blow when many of its citizens enlisted. It was many years before the village recovered, in fact, not until after the Second World War. 


Cochrane Historic Events from anniversary calendar
Population of Cochrane from CHAPS Pamphlet

Wearmouth Family

Dennis and Maida Wearmouth Family By Dennis Wearmouth 

I was born April 14th, 1933, the 6th child of Tom and Anne Wearmouth. The only way I went to school was on horseback, sometimes double with my sister Shirley and brother Bill. The school was Glendale, a 3-mile ride. When I was 15 years old, I left school to stay home and helped milk cows and farm with my Dad, brother Dick and sister Winnie. In 1954 Dick and I bought the E Sec 35 Twp 26 Range 3 W5M from Bob and Mabel Turner. We paid $16,000. and had 3 years to pay for it. In 1957 I bought Dick out. I moved up there from home, fixed up the barn and Dad gave me 15 cows and 200 lbs. of quota and I started milking cows. Maida and I were married on February 22, 1958. We built a loafing barn in 1962. In 1964 we built a modern 1200 sq. ft. home for $15,000. We bought the NW Sec 12 Twp 26 Range 3 W5M for $19,000.00 from Bus Kline on borrowed money from the Farm Credit at 6% interest. The milk cows were sold in 1979 and weve had a small cow-calf operation since. We used a team of horses for chores etc. until 1966. Our first trees were planted on our land in 1965

Maida Cope was born in Bonnyville, Alberta on September 6th, 1936. She moved to the Munson district with her parents Homer and Doreen Cope. There she attended Morning Glory School for grade one, to Munson School by bus till grade nine and to Drumheller High School. She moved to Calgary in 1953 and worked as a secretary until February 1958 when she married Dennis. We have three children: Mary Gail was born January 21, 1959, and attended Westbrook School and Cochrane High School. She was employed as a legal secretary until her marriage to Scott Edgelow. They have one daughter, Alison. Gail and Scott were divorced in 2000 and Gail now lives in Calgary

Wanda Margaret was born December 14, 1960, and attended Westbrook School and Cochrane High School, later graduating from Delmar Beauty School. Wanda married Kevin Larsen from Standard, Alberta in July of 1984. They have four children: Cassie, Tyrel, Orin and Kane. Wanda owns and operates a barbershop in Roblin, Manitoba and she and Kevin presently own a lovely ranch in Shell Valley, Manitoba. 

Tom Dennis was born on April 1, 1965, and attended Westbrook School and Cochrane High School. He married Jana George from Redvers, Saskatchewan in 1992. They have three children: Dawson, Deja and Dione. Tom has a son Dylan who was born in June 1989. Jana is employed as a nurse part-time at the Children’s Hospital in Calgary. Tom owns an oil well-servicing company. They live in the area near Dennis and Maida. 

Memories of the Wearmouths  by T.R. (Dick) Wearmouth in 2006 at age 91 years 

My parents came from England. Mother, Annie Standring, along with her brother John and sisters Betty and Maggie, came as youngsters, with their parents, Richard and Mary Ann (Polly) Standring in 1902. They came by ship from Bury, Lancashire and spent some time in Montreal before coming to Calgary. Richard and his brother Joe, both homesteaded on Lochend Road. 

Dad, Tom Wearmouth, came from County Durham in March 1906. He was 30 years old. He homesteaded on SW Sec 2 Twp 26 R3 W5M. For ten dollars, a person was given a quarter section (160 acres). If in three years, some land was broke, a residence built and you lived there, you obtained the title. That is how much of this area was settled. 

Dad worked at the Glenbow Quarry while proving his homestead. He started farming with a saddle horse, a cow, two pigs, some chickens and twenty-five cents. He knew a lot about horses and dogs. He was a hard worker. One year he used three horses to pull a twelve-inch walking plough. He ploughed 100 acres, for a neighbour, walking behind the plough, holding onto the two handles. It must have taken many days. 

Many years before, a huge fire had burned through the Glendale, Bearspaw and Westminster districts. It burned for months destroying trees and grass, even burning plant roots beneath the ground. This left raised areas, which would sink when run over. It was called the Burnt Ground. 

Tom Wearmouth and Annie Standring were married June 1913. They had seven children; Winnie, Dick, Hugh, Walter, Bill, Dennis and Shirley. 

They had a mixed farm, then started milking cows and shipping cream to Calgary. When the herd got larger, milk was shipped in eight-gallon cans. We shipped milk for over thirty years and always had the highest standard for grade and cleanliness. Norman Newsome hauled our milk for many years. 

Hugh and I milked the cows (by hand) and later Walter, Bill and Dennis. Later milking machines were used. It was a never-ending job, morning and evening every day. But it provided a cheque every two weeks. 

We attended Glendale School. It was one room, but later another room was added. 

When Winnie started school she had a small white horse called Snowball. Mother rode along with her for the first few days. It was 3 1/2 miles through the fields. I thought school was fun as we met other kids along the way. Fun! Not so in the cold of the winter. We wore heavy, warm clothes. There were anywhere from three to thirty students. There was a barn for horses. In the winter we took the bridles into the school to keep the bits warm. When Hugh and I were a little older, we would stand up on the horses, even when galloping. We rode bareback as our parents would not allow us to 

use saddles. Mother’s little sister, Dorothy, had been dragged when her foot caught in the stirrup. 

Winnie and I had finished school when one cold day a fire started in the basement of the school. Everyone got out. Hugh went back in and brought out his bridle and some coats. He gave the coats to some of the younger children and rode home, very cold 1 am sure. Another one-room Glendale School was built on Glendale Road and stayed open until the 1960s. 

Mother, besides looking after seven children, was very active. She loved the outdoors and loved riding and going to gymkhanas. She was an excellent horsewoman. She milked cows, churned butter, baked bread, had a large garden and picked berries. She sewed clothing, made quilts and made soap. This is all without modern conveniences. No electricity, running water or gas heating. Mother was also active in the community. The organizational meeting of the Glendale Women ‘s Institute was held at our house in May 1925. Some of the original members were Mother, Grandma Standring, Aunt Ellen Standring, Mrs. Norris, Mrs. Hanes, Mrs. W. Hutchison, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Woodson, Mrs. Cullings, and Mrs.Fenton. The Glendale Women’s Institute is still active today. My mother was a wonderful person and loved by so many. We lost her to cancer in 1937. This was a devastating blow to our family. We had to pick up the pieces and carry on.

I feel Dad was very fortunate to have a daughter like Winnie. She was in her early twenties and took on the responsibilities of seeing to the needs of her younger siblings. Dad was still in control but Winnie and I were there to help and support him. We enjoyed the part we played in their lives and have so many good memories.

My first job away from home was herding sheep for Sim Gillespie. I was about twelve years old. I rode my horse and used their dog. I boarded there and went home Saturday. The 500 sheep were in a section of land. I kept them together in the day and put them in a big corral in the evening. Then I milked a cow before the haymakers came home. I had to quit to go to school. I got a ten-dollar bill when I left. 

In 1926 Dad bought a Ford car. When I was sixteen I drove to a dance at the school. Later I met Vernon Jensen. He said I was driving pretty fast and that he could not keep up. I was going 40 miles per hour. 

In the early days, all hay was wild (prairie wool). It was cut with horse-drawn mowers with a six-foot cutting bar. A knife went back and forth over the guards. The knife was taken out often to sharpen. The hay was raked then a sweep was used. A team was at each end and the hay swept up to a stacker. Chains were lengthened and the teams went on each side of the stacker. The hay dropped down to make a stack. Later stationary balers were used, then balers pulled by a tractor and later some silage was made. 

One summer when Hugh and I were still school age, we helped hay at Hutchinsons of Big Hill Creek. Uncle John had three teams for mowing and stacking. Hugh and I helped stack hay and rode to Cochrane for parts. Mr. Hutchinson had a lot of land growing good prairie wool. In order to get a heavy crop, it was only cut every second year. He had three or four outfits haying. When we were done, we went home to harvest the oats. Then we started hauling hay home. We got it home before winter. 

It was difficult to get grain ground. We would sack the grain and take it to Tom Standrings, to be ground. Then we would fill the sacks and take it back home. Tom would clean the grinder, get some clean wheat, grind it and sell it for porridge. It was very good. 

One dry year feed was hard to get. A farmer about twelve miles north said he would sell a load of straw for $2.00. Hugh would leave early in the morning with a team and an extra horse hooked on the outside. He would get a big load, pay the two dollars and be home before dark. A real day’s work. 

Hugh and I broke horses. We would get three green horses from Rattray’s and break them. We would have one to sell (about $15.00) or to keep. Once I got a beautiful, spirited horse to break. It was over four years old. Hugh came and snubbed it to his saddle horn. I climbed on and around and around the field we went. It seemed to quiet down. A few days later after I had finished chores, I saddled up and headed out. I went to the highway and headed east and just kept going. The Calgary Stampede was on. I rode right through the downtown to the Rodeo Grounds. I talked to Gordon Dingwall for a while. Within an hour I was back on my horse and heading home. As soon as I was close to home, the horse began to buck. Guess he was happy to be home.

One year I got a job with Rawlinsons, fencing, looking after sheep, cows and horses. Just before Christmas, I went to Calgary to shop. With $10.00 in my pocket, I bought presents for the Rawlinsons and all of my family. This was 1936. 

One of the jobs I did was road dragging. That is what it was called. A heavy drag was pulled over the rough dirt road to smooth it. Others before me had used four horses and so did I. But it was slow going so I used six horses and speeded up the process. I was bounced around when there were rocks on the road. I did that job for many years. 

I used a horse-drawn binder to cut the grain. I never used a whip but I did keep a tin of small pebbles under the seat of the binder. If a horse needed waking, I tossed a pebble on his rump. My horses did not need much persuading to go. A feed of oats twice a day is the best waker-upper for a horse. 

Later in the 1940s and fifties, it was action with my siblings, Walter, Bill, Dennis and Shirley. There are lots of stories of those days but they can tell their own. 

Hugh left to marry Vernice Towers in the early 1940s. They ranched at Jumping Pound until Hugh passed away in 2005. Vernice resides in the Bethany Lodge. Walter married Kay Whitnack and they still reside on their farm near Cochrane. Bill was a house mover and demolition man. He resided in Calgary until passing away in 1997. 

Dennis married Maida Cope and they still reside on their farm on Lochend Road. Shirley was a nurse. She married Bob Thomas. They now reside on the homestead site. 

This story tells how things were in the early days. My mother had appendicitis. 

Dr. Park came and did the operation on the kitchen table. Dad asked him if he was nervous. The Doctor said,” I was very scared”. The Parks were very good friends of our family. 

My Dad had a brother, George Wearmouth. He was a very handyman. He lived at Spencer Creek, west of Cochrane for some time. Hugh and I would go there in the summer. He showed us how to fish. He also made dandelion wine. He was friends with the Morley Indians. Roland Gissing was also a good friend. Uncle George was an artist and Roland would give him advice. George moved to Vancouver to live with his sister, Ruth.

Tom Wearmouth was one of the first members of King Solomon Lodge No. 41, Cochrane, Alberta. It was formed in December 4, 1908. Dad received his fifty-year pin in 1959. In May 2004, my two brothers, Hugh and Walter and I (Dick) received our fifty-year pins at a presentation and banquet in Cochrane. Dad passed away in 1962 at age 87 years. 

Winnie and I were left on the farm. Winnie lived on the homestead until 1989 when she went to Big Hill Lodge. Later she was in the Bethany Care Centre. She passed away there in 1993. 

I needed more land for beef cattle. I started a herd of Horned Herefords. I bought and sold a ranch at Claresholm before getting a ranch near Sangudo. I moved there in I took my horses and cattle. I had two truckloads of machinery. There were 200 acres ready to seed. I did not have a lot of hay. There was lots of fencing and fixing corrals and barn. The house was in poor shape. Paul Balzer brought a skid shack in to make a house. Later when Pearl and I married, he built us a house. 

I met Pearl when she was working for a veterinarian in Sangudo. I was accused of having a lot of sick animals and needing a lot of vet supplies that year. We married in 1973 and moved to my Hard Struggle Ranch. My stepson Doug was a young boy then. We ranched and increased our herd and bought more land. I soon felt at home in this area and made a new life with Pearl, We have lots of good friends and have kept very busy over the years. We moved close to Rochford Bridge and Doug lived on the Ranch. He married Debbie. She teaches school but also helps run the ranch. Pearl and I now live in a Senior‘s complex in Barrhead. Wow!

Walter and Kathryn Wearmouth 

Kay and Walter were married in 1948. The wedding party was held at the Delacour Hall northwest of Calgary. We worked for George Clifford milking cows till May 1949. We then moved to the Bearspaw district and operated a dairy farm for Frank Newsome. Milk was put in eight-gallon milk cans, cooled in a water trough and shipped to the Union Milk Company in Calgary. Norman Newsome was hauling the milk in the area at that time. We stayed there for three years. While there our two daughters were born; Anne in 1949 and Marion in 1951. 

Frank and Mary Newsome lived across the road where Stan Church now lives. While there, electric power came to the area, simplifying such things as pumping water, running milking machines etc. We also got a fridge. Some of those winters we had a lot of snow and the traffic used the fields more than the roads sometimes driving between the house and the barn. Ernie Dickey, who farmed north of Bearspaw Road, ran a locally owned blower/snowplow. 

In 1952 we moved to the Westminster District to operate a dairy farm for Stan and Frances Vincent. We were there for three years. About that time a group of local men took up curling in Cochrane. Some of the weather we put up with just to go curling makes me wonder why (youth, I guess!) George Vincent was hauling our milk at this time. We were milking about 30 Holstein cows. 

On May 1, 1995, our dream came true. We had bought 320 acres N Sec 7 Twp 26 Range 3 W5M from Gus Cullings. With it we also bought milk cows, milk quota, saddle horse, tractor and machinery. We were about 3 1/2 miles NE of Cochrane and on our own! We were becoming involved in the community – Kay in 

the Glendale Womens Institute and Walt in the Bearspaw Lions Club. In September of that year, Anne started school at Bearspaws one-room schoolhouse (total enrolment 24), going by a school bus driven by Cliff Gillespie. Her first teacher was Helen Scott, who had been Walters grade five teacher as Helen Rowan. Marion started school in 1957, also at Bearspaw. We were milking about 30 cows and Harvey Hogarth hauled our milk. For a few years, we combined our efforts and machinery with Doug Master for haying

Close neighbours were the Lloyd Fenton family, the Joe Bowhays, the Henry Whitfields and Charlie Robinson

In 1958 we bought 430 acres from Ernie Thompson NW Sec 32 Twp 25 Range 3 W5M and part of S Sec 5 Twp 26 Range 3 W5M all south of Highway 1A. Bob and Shirley Thomas (Walter’s sister) operated the Culling farm and Kay and Walter milked about 45 cows on the Thompson place. Jack Beeby hauled our milk. We did our haying with our neighbour Jack Hawkwood. Close neighbours were the Norman Mackenzie family, the George Armstrongs, the George Washingtons, the Tim Bancrofts and the Neil Harvies. In 1962 the bulk tanks came into being for our milk, the milk trucks were tankers and pumped the milk from the farm tank into the truck tank. Our two sons were born, Roy in 1958 and Allan in 1962. 

In 1962 we moved back to the Culling Farm. In 1964 we sold the dairy herd and quota and gradually went into beef cattle and have been ever since. In 1964 we built a Quonset and in 1965 we built a new house, 1300 sq. ft. for $15,000.00. Thanks to the Farm Improvement Loan at 5% it has been our home ever since. 

In those years we were busy farming, raising four children, involved in 4-H, baseball, hockey, music, Women’s Institute, Lions Club and curling. As time went on we did some travelling to the southwest deserts of the United States, the Yukon, North West Territory, Alaska and Eastern Canada. We have been fortunate in having wonderful neighbours from farm and town and more modern neighbours on acreages and small holdings with the neighbourliness and community spirit of our great west.  

At this writing, January 2008, our children are spread out somewhat. Anne and Bruce Brander live at James River east of Sundre. Anne has two children, Alana in Calgary and Colin with wife Keri and son Kale at Kamloops. Marion and Harry Fehr live in our yard. Marion has four children: Carl and Jen with three children: Lucas, Joshua and Katey on Maurelle Island off the coast of Vancouver Island. Keri lives in New Westminster, British Columbia. Laura (Preston Smith) lives in Calgary and D.J. (Jessica) in Cochrane. Harry has two children and five grandchildren. Roy and Lucille and son Mason live in Airdrie, Roy also has two daughters, Tamara (Sheldon Grollmus) with sons Ethan and Quinton, who live at Buffalo Lake and Candice and Shawn Cornell in Red Deer. Allan and Nina have three girls: Holly, Cindy and Julie. They live east of Olds. 

Yee Lee Laundry

Author unknown pg 61 More Big Hill Country

One of the businesses usually established in a pioneer village, that served a very real need, especially to the single men of the area, was a laundry. It was almost always run by a Chinese man. Cochrane’s laundryman, Yee Lee, lived and worked in a log shack set well back from the main street on the present site of Graham’s Building. Behind his house were several clotheslines which were nearly always filled with sparkling clean washing. In later years, Yee Lee owned a washing machine, but for most of the 30 years he was in business he scrubbed the clothes by hand. He toiled long hours everyday washing, ironing and folding clothes for his customers. Many a bachelor went to a dance in a white shirt carefully laundered by Yee Lee earlier that day! 

After the Second World War, Yee Lee returned to China for a visit. When he came back to Cochrane, he found the rapid changes in the 1950s had even caught up with the laundry business and there was no more work for him. He moved to Calgary in 1956, where he passed away about four years later. 

The ads are scans of copies of The Cochrane Advocate from 1913. Our histories make no mention of the restaurant. It seems we have more research to do.

2022 Membership Drive concludes

CHAPS 2022 Membership Drive has drawn to a close. Thanks to everyone that chose to get involved by becoming a member or renewing their membership.

I was part of the nighttime crew for one shift at the recent Casino. I was impressed that eight of our supporters donated their time for just that shift in our major fundraiser for CHAPS and the Cochrane Historical Museum. Thanks to Donna Morris who organized and all the volunteers who got involved over the two days and nights.

I also want to share a story of why I continue to be a member. I have been using Google Earth Pro to better visualize historic Cochrane. We often get asked where certain buildings are located by interested people and the media. Since businesses have been in multiple locations in the last 120 years there is often confusion.

I’m thinking that by using Google Earth Pro, our photo archives and the map overlays in the back of Big Hill Country we can do a better job of answering these questions. For me, a question I’ve always had was quickly answered.


All Saints Church with St Mary’s in background.

This photo and the location of the two churches always puzzled me. While building a pre-1900 view of Cochrane this question was quickly resolved.

The photos below show All Saints was on the corner of 2nd Ave and 2nd street, while St Marys was north across 2nd street.

If you’d like to get involved, just follow this link to our membership page.

Summer employment opportunity 2022

The Cochrane Historical and Archival Preservation Society
(CHAPS) is offering a summer employment opportunity as a museum assistant at the Cochrane Museum, #80 Highway 1A, Cochrane AB from
June 1 – Sept 5, 2022.

This full time position (35 hrs/wk) requires the successful candidate to work weekends when the Museum is open to the public. Primarily duties at these times involve facilitation of the Museum operations including opening/closing, greeting visitors and interacting with our guests to ensure a quality visitor experience.

During closed hours the successful candidate will engage in activities that support the maintenance and enhancement of the museum and archival collection. This may include researching, organizing, and preserving various aspects of the collection.

The ideal candidate will possess a mature and responsible attitude, strong interpersonal and communication skills, and the ability to work independently. Basic knowledge and competency in computer skills is necessary. Previous work in a library or archival environment is an asset and general interest in local history is beneficial.

The Museum offers a competitive salary, clean indoor working environment and a supportive management style. Outside of the Museum public hours, a flexible work schedule can be arranged.

Please submit a resume and references by April 15 to: lynn@chapscochrane.com Candidates selected for interview will be contacted.

Agness Hammond

Ghost River Ranch by Agness Hammond pg 314 Big Hill Country 1977

My sister Tilda and I bought the Ghost River Ranch from the Gillies family in the early 1930s. We had a couple of saddle horses and needed somewhere to keep them. For a while we boarded horses, then I bought my first cow and calf from Mrs. Roland Gissing for the large sum of ten dollars! After that I used to get newborn calves from the dairy at Canmore, bringing them home tied in sacks, in the back of the old car. 

We also raised horses, among them, little “Chick,” who won many stake races, and “The Bard,” who went to shows throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan, winning many jumping classes. 

My brand is Reversed F, Hanging Y, which was originally issued to my grandfather in the 1880s. 

In 1941 Tilda left for India, where she married Captain Hugh Millar, and where they spent most of the War years. They then returned to Canada, and their son, Torchy, was born in Calgary. Afterwards, they were stationed in various parts of England and Canada, and I bought out Tilda’s share of the ranch. 

Having horses wherever they were stationed, Torchy naturally took to riding and has represented Canada at two Olympics, being on the team that won the Gold Medal in 1968. He also won an individual Bronze Medal. 

Tilda and her husband are now retired and have a quarter section of the ranch where they have built their home, “Runaway Hill.” 

During the years I built up the cattle herd, with the help of the people who worked for me. George Hope, the long-time blacksmith of Cochrane, was probably the first. Elmer and Mamie Pratt were here for several years, and Elmer broke most of my Belgian horses. Another family, the Morrises, had five children. The children attended Beaupré School, and drove “Tom” in the buggy; when he retired they drove “Old Cush,” whom we borrowed from Poynters. 

We have had many pleasant visits with our country neighbours. I remember driving in the buggy to Helen McDonald’s and always being invited in for fresh baked buns or cake. It was Helen, who, with me, started the Ghost River Pony Club gymkhana. The first one was held in the field in front of the ranch house, and was primarily for junior riders, as we felt all other shows had little to attract the young. 

We rode up to Guy Gibson’s to enquire about his handmade furniture and were immediately invited in for a cup of tea. Finding no milk in the house, he grabbed the cream jug, ran outside, and filled it from his goat. Guy built my beautiful log cabin, which burned to the ground some years later, and Steve Hope (George’s brother) made all the hand-wrought latches and hinges that decorated the cabin. 

Jack and Tootie Poynter were always ready to go on a midnight ride or on a wiener roast. Enie Gissing always greeted us when we walked down the hill to look at Roland’s paintings. The Gissings spent two years in our little cottage while building their new home after the fire which destroyed so many of Roland’s paintings. George and Norma Pocaterra would often stop in on their way to their cabin up the river. 

For several years I ran a summer camp for girls, teaching them how to ride and care for their horses. 

Besides raising and showing horses, I raised and showed dogs all over Canada and the United States. Many of them won championships and obedience degrees.

Ernie Pratt sweeping hay at the Ghost River Ranch

I have been actively involved with the Calgary S.P.C.A., the Alberta S.P.C.A. and many other humane associations. 

Throughout the years I have done paintings and sculpturing which have gone to various parts of Canada, the United States and England. 

Recently I started a museum of horse artifacts on the ranch. 

The first edition of the Calgary Herald, dated August 31, 1883, had an advertisement describing “land lying north of the Bow River and east of the Ghost River” as a horse ranch containing the best winter grazing east of the Rockies. As I am now raising Welsh ponies, I like to feel that it is still a horse ranch, with the best winter grazing east of the Rockies. 

Related reading

Popup Museum at Library Feb 2022

The Cochrane Historical Museum has been closed since the onset of the pandemic. Lynda Alderman, of the museum committee, had the idea for a popup museum display at the Cochrane Library. 

Mike Taylor, Lonnie Basiuk, Shannon Want and Lynn Ferguson followed up on the suggestion with the train station diorama and information board to be in the library for the next couple of weeks.

Lonnie also brought along his father’s conductor uniform.

Dave and Diana Hardiman, the creators of the diorama came by to approve the move. 

It appears we’ll be able to open the Museum this summer so please make a trip to the Museum part of your plans. If you’d like to get involved please contact us.

Mike & Lonnie setting up display
Cochrane Historical Museum Display board
Conductor Uniform loaned by Lonnie Basiuk

Want to get involved?

The Cochrane Historical Museum is run by volunteers.

Ghost River Pony Club

 by Mrs. Jack Poynter pg 307 Big Hill Country

For many years gymkhanas were held on what was known as the D. P. McDonald picnic grounds on the Mount Royal Ranch. When they were discontinued, Helen McDonald and Agness Hammond decided, in 1947, to form a pony club for contestants 18 years and under. 

The first shows were held at Agness Hammond’s Ghost River Ranch (thus the name “The Ghost River Pony Club”). Agness received a cheque from Eric Harvie, a well-known Calgary oilman so that all entrants would receive a prize of some sort at the first show. For some years the prizes were donated by interested people. 

Later the show was held on the Beaupre School grounds, now owned by the Beaupre Community Association. The show has been held there the third Sunday of August each year with the full co-operation of the weatherman to date. 

Now, horse show and gymkhana events include all ages with some 26 English and Western classes. 

Over the years many prominent judges have donated their services, judging classes with as high as fifty-four entries in one class. 

Contestants pay only one entry fee for the horse, and one entry fee for the rider; this entitles them to take part in the day’s events and numerous classes. 

By the late 1950s, the Club was in a financial position to purchase trophies as well as rosette ribbons for first, second, and third winners; ribbons for fourths, fifths, and sixths are given, depending upon the number of contestants in the class. 

Over the years it has been considered one of the better shows in southern Alberta with as high as 124 horses being entered. Many entries are from contestants who travel the horse show and gymkhana circuits, making keen competition. Two former contestants who have represented Canada on the Olympic Equestrian Team are Barbara Kerr (neé Simpson) and Torchy Miller (nephew of Agness Hammond). Torchy received his first trophy here. 

Barbara Kerr 1969 Photo Wikipedia
Torchy Millar on Le Dauphin

The Ghost River Pony Club has had many enthusiastic members and workers throughout the years; many have moved away, but return every year to visit and renew old friendships – some even have children and grandchildren competing. 

In 1975 the Club had 24 members. This is a non-profit organization with hard-working dedicated members. For years, two generations of members were common; now there are two families represented by third-generation members. 

by Dorothy Edge pg 167 More Big Hill Country

After the annual McDonald Picnic held on the Mount Royal Ranch in the Beaupre district ended in 1946, the late Agness Hammond, Ghost River Ranch, and late Helen McDonald, Mount Royal Ranch, neighbours, decided there really should be a local horse show and gymkhana in the area for children, so, in 1947, they set the wheels in motion and by August 29, 1948, the first show was held on the Ghost River Ranch, with lots of assistance from others. (See Page 307, Big Hill Country.) 

The following details were taken from submissions sent to me for inclusion in GRPC’s scrapbook of memoirs. 

A large crowd was in attendance and competition was keen at the horse show and gymkhana staged at Ghost River Sunday under ideal weather conditions. Many Calgary horse owners shipped their ponies to the ranch for the event and judge Miss Joan Arnold and Ian S. Brown of Calgary experienced a busy afternoon. Two spills were recorded during the afternoon, but the riders escaped with nothing worse than bruises and a shaking up. Ken Macmillan’s horse spilled in the stock horse event and Jaye Bowlen came a cropper in one of the jumping events. The youngest competitor at the show was Carolyn Kerfoot from the Grand Valley district, the winner in the lead line pony class. A number of useful prizes and trophies were awarded to the winning contestants as follows: 

winner in the lead line pony class. A number of useful prizes and trophies were awarded to the winning contestants as follows: 

Best pony ridden by a boy or girl, 10 years and under 

  1. Ken Macmillan 
  2. Dorothy Bryant 
  3. Morna Riley 
  4. Mary Whittaker 

Best pony ridden by boy or girl, 10 years to 16

  1. Anita Eyma 
  2. Edith Edge 
  3. Frank Edge 
  4. Mary Saucier 

Best riding horse, ridden by boy or girl 16 years to 20 

  1. Donna Johnson 
  2. Kaye Bowlen 
  3. Edith Edge 
  4. Peggy Johnson. 

Best maiden pony or horse, open to first and second prize winners of first three classes

  1. Ken Macmillan 
  2. Anita Eyma 
  3. Dorothy Bryant. 

Best boy or girl rider, 10 years and under, open to those who have never won a first or second at any recognized show

  1. Johnny Poynter 
  2. Bill Ullery 
  3. Mary Whitaker 
  4. Dorothy Bryant 

Best boy or girl rider, 11 to 16,same stipulations 

  1. Frank Edge 
  2. Anita Eyma 
  3. Mary Saucier 
  4. Jay Eyma. 

Best boy or girl rider 16 years and under, open to all 

  1. Sheila Robertson 
  2. Peggy Johnson; 
  3. Marilyn Macmillan 
  4. Dolores Bowlen. 

Open to horse or pony ridden by rider any age open to all horses on grounds 

  1. Anne Marshall on Dynamite 
  2. Peggy Jean Robertson on Beauty 
  3. Donna Johnson on Claudia 
  4. Jaye Bowlen on Peggy. 

Stock Horse Class ridden by boy or girl 14 years of age or under 

  1. Peggy Jean Robertson 
  2. Jay Eyma 
  3. Jaye Bowlen 
  4. Anita Eyma. 

Stock Horse Class ridden by boy or girl 15 to 20 

  1. Stewart Robertson 
  2. Peggy Johnson 
  3. Joy Gainor 
  4. Donna Johnson. 

Jumping open to all boys or girls 14 years and under 

  1. Jay Eyma 
  2. Peggy Jean Robertson 
  3. Jay Eyma 
  4. Frank Edge.

Novice Jumping 15 to 20 years 

  1. and 2. Leon Delbeke 
  2. Stewart Robertson 
  3. Peggy Johnson. 

Bareback Jumping open to boys or girls, any age

  1. Peggy Jean Robertson 
  2. Leon Delbeke 
  3. Joy Gainor 
  4. Leon Delbeke. 

Open Jumping – open to all 

  1. Eddie Bowlen on Peggy 
  2. Joy Gainor on Allah 
  3. Jay Eyma on June
  4. Jay Eyma on Kitty. 

Lead Line Class boys or girls six years of age and under 

  1. Carolyn Kerfoot 
  2. Mary Copithorne 
  3. Luke Lindoe 
  4. Bryan Coleman. 

Horse Judging Contest boys and girls 14 years of age and under

Anita Eyma. 

Horse Judging Contest boys or girls 15 to 20

Joy Gainor. 

Gymkhana Events By Anita Eyma Kessler, 1998. 

Leading Race boys and girls 12 years of age and under 

  1. Jay Eyma 
  2. Anita Eyma 
  3. Ken Macmillan 
  4. Johnny Poynter. 

Musical Chairs boys and girls 14 years of age and under 

  1. Peggy Jean Robertson 
  2. Edward Jull 
  3. Sheila Robertson 
  4. Anita Eyma. 

Musical Chairs boys and girls 15 to 20 

  1. Stewart Robertson 
  2. Dolores Bowlen 
  3. Neil Harvie 
  4. Edith Edge. 

Walk, Trot, and Run Race boys and girls 13 to 20 

  1. Joy Gainor 
  2. Donna Johnson 
  3. Norman Edge 
  4. Douglas Johnson. 

Potato Race boys and girls 14 years and under 

  1. Peggy Jean Robertson 
  2. Anita Eyma 
  3. Cliff Butler 
  4. Johnny Poynter. 

Potato Race open to boys and girls 15 years and over 

  1. Larry Way 
  2. Donna Johnson 
  3. Neil Harvie 
  4. Bob Orr. 

Bending Race boys and girls 15 years and over 

  1. Don Edge 
  2. Larry Way 
  3. Neil Harvie. 

Guy Gibson’s Challenge Trophy bareback relay race, boys and girls 12 to 16 years 

  1. Jay Eyma 
  2. Bob Orr 
  3. Peggy Johnson 
  4. Peggy Jean Robertson 

Indian Riding Class 

  1. Johnny Lefthand 
  2. Sykes Powerface 
  3. Ross Smalleyes 
  4. David Bearspaw 
  5. Alfred Labelle. 

The Ghost River pony show was not only a learning experience but was also one of the few social opportunities available fifty years ago. For many of us in the surrounding valleys, the only two social events were the Ghost River Horse Show and the Morley Stampede. Dog Pound was for the adventurous among us. If the weather was rainy, we held our breath approaching the difficult spots in the poor roads. A spring running across the wagon trail near Grandma Ford’s in Jackass Canyon could be our undoing. If the old car slid down the incline, we were done and had missed out on seeing people and having fun. We needed Dave Bryant and his machinery then, but that came much later, with resultant good roads. 

Getting to Beaupre Creek School in the summer was enjoyable. It was only a four-mile ride on horseback. Riding there during the winter of the school term, together with some years with as few as eight students and a very young or a very old teacher, was not always as pleasant. Thank goodness for the coal and wood stove.

In the beginning, clothing to show was just whatever we had. Often, western boots went into English saddle stirrups. Ill-fitting jeans and a shirt made up the rest of the ensemble for growing competitors. Horses and tack were very important, however, parents did their best to provide a fine animal and serviceable saddle, both of which were used all year round to work the ranch. 

My brother, Jay, could get the most out of a jumper. Even our “kid’s pony,” Tiny, would cheerfully clear hurdles for him. Donna (Johnson) Butters described Tiny as a “good honest mare.” The greatest satisfaction for me came from winning the horse-judging contest at the first gymkhana, being I was too timid to attempt riding over jumps. 

Pierre, my father, took his responsibilities as an officer of the Pony Club very seriously. His capabilities and conscientiousness were a wonderful and lasting example to his children and perhaps even to others. He would have been so pleased that the organization and all the good it stood for survived for fifty years and will not be forgotten by those who participated. There could be no finer legacy than the spirit of the Ghost River Pony Club.” 

The late Pierre Eyma preparing for the potato race. He always wore a yellow shirt so anyone needing help could find him easily. Beaupre Creek School Grounds 1950. Photo courtesy Anita Eyma Kessler

The Ghost River Pony Club’s 50th Anniversary and final show were held at the Beaupre community grounds on August 16, 1998, in memory of Agness Hammond and Helen McDonald. Announcer Maureen Wills conveyed accolades in their memory. And she remembered Vivienne Ullery, who contested in her last show here at age 80. Two senior members in attendance, Marie Eyma and Jim Kerfoot, were recognized for their outstanding contributions over the years. A special tribute was extended to Tilda Millar (Agness Hammond’s sister, and Torchy Millar’s mother) for donating funds to ensure trophies and ribbons were extra special for the final show, and to Griffin Valley Ranch for donating the Lead Line Class trophies. She then called on President Don Edge, who presented Chris Montague from the Cochrane Lions with a plaque thanking them for handling the concession booth for ‘umpteen years. 

Show organizers were President Donald Edge, Past President Linda Beddoes, Vice-President John Poynter, Secretary-treasurer Dorothy Edge, Publicity Kathy Wills and fellow directors Ann Hindes, Suzy Poynter, Cindy Renwick, Bob and Mary-Jane Pogue, Grant McNabb. Pat and Val Scholefield, Maureen Wills, Erik Burners, and Hamish Kerfoot. Our judges were Bud Wyatt, Western, and John Simpson, English. The later grew up competing in this show and were pleased to help and shared their memories with everyone. In appreciation, the two judges and each director received a bronze belt buckle made by the late Mac MacKenzie that incorporated Cathy Wills’ insignia of the lovely gold commemorative 50th Anniversary pin she designed as a souvenir for all the patrons.

Everybody loved the GRPC horse show and gymkhana and a large crowd attended the 50th show. Sixty-eight contestants entered. Donna (Johnson) Butters was a keen competitor in 1948 and in 1998. Several four generations of family members competed at this show over the years. 

Ghost River Pony Club

 Results of 50th Anniversary and Final Show August 16, 1998. 

Halter Class – Foal 

  1. Kathy Fenton 
  2. Laura Hughes. 

Halter Class – Yearling 

  1. Gloria Cross 
  2. Holly White 
  3. Laura Hughes 
  4. Kathy Fenton 
  5. Duncan Kerfoot. 

Halter Class – Two-year-old 

  1. Kathy Fenton. 

Halter Class – Mares, three years old and over 14 hands and over 

  1. Mary Pearson 
  2. Laura Hughes 
  3. Wayne Jubb 
  4. Patsy Parker 
  5. Catherine Stewart 
  6. Clem Kirk. 

Halter Class – Geldings, three years old and over, 14 hands and over 

  1. Heather Craig 
  2. Twylla Bruhn 
  3. Janice Hepburn 
  4. Duncan Kerfoot 
  5. Robin Willet 
  6. Marri Keith. 

Halter Class – Mares and Geldings, three years and over, 14 hands and over 

  1. Brenna Managhan 
  2. Curtis Kronlund 
  3. Liam Kronlund 
  4. Jordon Tresidder 
  5. Ian Stewart. 

English Equitation – 17 years and over (horse not to count) 

  1. Rosemarie Jubb 
  2. Donna Butters 
  3. Patsy Parker 
  4. Heather Craig 
  5. Leslie Anderson 
  6. Janice Hepburn 

Western Equitation – 9 to 12 years (horse not to count) 

  1. Kayla Welsh 
  2. Courtney Arneson 
  3. Justine Simpson
  4. J. D. Watt
  5. Danielle Kilbourn 
  6. Tyler Fyten 

Western Equitation – 13 to 16 years (horse not to count) 

  1. Alison Barr
  2. Claire Arneson
  3. Kim Groves. 

Western Equitation – 8 years and under (horse not to count) 

  1. Carlee Edge 
  2. Susan Griffin 
  3. Austin Fyten 
  4. Tereasa Keith 
  5. Montana Renwick 
  6. Amber Lynn Beeby 

English Equitation – 9 to 12 years (horse not to count) 

  1. Catherine Stewart 
  2. Jessica Kronlund 
  3. Curtis Knonlund 
  4. Brenna Monaghan 
  5. Danielle Kilbourn.

Western Equitation – 17 years and over (horse not to count) 

  1. Rosemarie Jubb 
  2. Holly White 
  3. Leslie Anderson 
  4. Anita Panjwani 
  5. Ron Hanson 
  6. Sonja Hustad 

English Equitation – 8 years and under, (horse not to count) 

  1. Elizabeth Stewart 
  2. Liam Kronlund 
  3. Ian Stewart. 

Western Equitation – 13 to 16 years (horse not to count) 

  1. Megan Wiltshire 
  2. Colby Simpson 
  3. Sarah Willet 
  4. Marri Keith 

Lead Line Class 

Carlee Edge, Okie Iredale, Caitlin Fyten, Sam Edge, Skylar Iredale, Carlee Poynter, Jordon Jubb, Emily Adlington, Amber Lorenz, Colby Stonham, Braden Poynter. They all won prizes. 

Junior English Pleasure – 16 years and under 

  1. Alison Barr 
  2. Curtis Knonlund 
  3. Claire Arneson 
  4. Catherine Stewart 
  5. Kim Groves 
  6. Jessica Knonlund 

Senior Western Pleasure – 17 years and over 

  1. Holly White 
  2. Rosemarie Jubb 
  3. Janice Hepburn 
  4. Leslie Anderson 
  5. Twylla Bruhn 
  6. Anita Panjwani 

Pony Class – 14 years and under (12.2 hands and under) 

  1. Liam Knonlund 
  2. Brenna Monaghan 
  3. Susan Griffin 
  4. Jordon Tresidder 

Senior English Pleasure – 17 years and over 

  1. Donna Butters 
  2. Mary Hilderbrandt 

Junior Western Pleasure – 16 years and under 

  1. Courtney Arneson 
  2. Kayla Welsh 
  3. Justine Simpson 
  4. Colby Simpson 
  5. Sarah Willet 
  6. Megan Wiltshire 

Sack Race – 5 years and under 

  1. Susan Griffin 
  2. Carlee Edge 
  3. Sam Edge 
  4. Colby Stonham 
  5. Emily Adlington
  6. Okie Iredale 

Sack Race – 6 to 8 years 

  1. Samantha Watt 
  2. Ian Stewart 
  3. Teresa Keith 
  4. Montana Renwick 
  5. Jordon Tresidder 
  6. Liam Knonlund 

Junior Jumping – 10 years and under 

  1. Curtis Knonlund 
  2. Elizabeth Stewart 
  3. Liam Knonlund 
  4. Brenna Managhan. 

Intermediate Jumping – 11 to 14 years inclusive 

  1. Catherine Stewart 
  2. Jessica Knonlund 
  3. Claire Arneson. 

Senior Jumping – 15 years and over 

  1. Alyssa Butters 
  2. Jessica Knonlund 
  3. Alison Barr. 

Junior Pole Bending Race-10 years and under 

  1. Riley Jones 
  2. Elizabeth Stewart 
  3. Samantha Watt 
  4. Susan Griffin 

Intermediate Pole Bending Race 11 to 14 years inclusive: 

  1. Courtney Arneson 
  2. Colby Simpson.

Senior Pole Bending Race – 15 years and over 

  1. Stephanie McKinnon 
  2. Ron Hanson 
  3. Twylla Bruhn. 

Junior Potato Race – 10 years and under 

  1. Riley Jones 
  2. Carolyn Kolb 
  3. Samantha Watt 
  4. Susan Griffin 

Intermediate Potato Race 11 to 14 years, inclusive 

  1. Colby Simpson 
  2. Danielle Kilbourn 
  3. Pat Griffin 
  4. Claire Arneson 

Senior Potato Race – 15 years and over 

  1. Ron Hanson 
  2. Ken Iredale 
  3. Corrine Coverdale 
  4. Laura Hughes. 

Junior Musical Tires – 11 to 14 years, inclusive 

  1. Mary Keith
  2. Catherine Stewart
  3. J.D. Watt
  4. Colby Simpson
  5. Meaghan Groves
  6. Claire Arneson. 

Senior musical Tires – 15 years and over 

  1. Megan Wiltshire 
  2. Ron Hanson 
  3. Brandy Wiltshire 
  4. Kathy Fenton 
  5. Joe Simpson 
  6. Terry Edge 

Junior Stake Race – 11 to 14 years, inclusive 

  1. Colby Simpson 
  2. Claire Arneson
  3. J. D. Watt 
  4. Courtney Arneson. 

Intermediate Stake Race – 15 to 20 years, inclusive 

  1. Corinne Coverdale 
  2. Whitney Repic. 

Senior Ladies Stake Race – 21 years and over 

  1. Stephanie McKinnon 
  2. Laura Hughes 
  3. Lauren McArthur. 

Senior Mens Stake Race – 21 years and over 

  1. Ron Hanson 
  2. Ken Iredale 
  3. Terry Edge. 

Ghost River Special (open to first place winners of last four stake races) 

  1. Stephanie McKinnon 
  2. Ron Hanson 
  3. Colby Simpson. 

Gene Hanson related a story about what happened to them one time at an earlier gymkhana. In those days there was no concession booth and everybody brought a picnic lunch. His wife, Sally, was busy preparing a fairly elaborate tailgate lunch and placed a beautiful big ham on the tailgate and walked back to the cab of the truck to get something else. Upon returning, she spotted someone’s dog running across the field with the entire ham in its mouth. 

The late Jack Poynter always looked after the hitching ring and was pretty sticky about unruly horses. One time when he was letting contestants into the show ring, little Marty Edge’s horse acted up and bucked around a bit. Noticing this, Jack needed to free the area of this unruly horse. The late Amy Begg, who handled the post entries that year, was thoroughly enjoying the rodeo and waving her arm saying, “Look, look at that kid ride his horse, just like his dad!” Jack, diligently doing his job with safety on his mind, didn’t quite condone it like Amy and the spectators. When Jack’s health was starting to fail, Don Edge apprenticed under him and ably continued Jack’s long-time tenure at the hitching ring using his own brand of wit. 

Don and I hosted an après gymkhana get-together with many friends and old-timers at our house. We were all having a great time reminiscing when we heard pounding on the roof and, lo’ and behold, it was one big hailstorm. Bob Pogue says it was, “Don and Dorothy’s half million-dollar party” because everyone’s vehicle received hail damage. It was quite a day! We decided we’d been blessed by all the Pony Club’s former organizers who had passed on before us, as they must have been looking down and held back the hailstorm until the 50th show ended. 

The Club dissolved and residual funds were donated to the Cochrane Humane Society, and to the Cochrane and District Agricultural Society’s one-square-foot program to help build the new community indoor riding arena’ at Cochrane, hence GRPC’s name is visible in the Hoof Print Gallery. To complete the finale, we branded GHOST RIVER PONY CLUB on a permanently preserved brick on the Historic Brand Wall at the Western Heritage Centre, now the Cochrane Town Office.

Ghost River Pony Club Branded Brick Program

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by Percy Kerfoot pg 355 Bill Hill Country 

My grandfather Bell-Irving, on my mother’s side had large holdings in South America in a textile manufacturing industry, in Demerara, Georgetown, Guiana (now Guyana). The foreman of this plant let the insurance lapse and everything was lost in a fire. Instead of being well-off the family had to watch its spending. As a result it was decided to educate the family, or some of them in Germany, as good education was cheaper there. 

All Saints Cochrane Cemetery Mitford

My uncle, Harry Bell-Irving, graduated as a civil engineer and worked in that capacity for the C.P.R. from Regina to Vancouver. My uncle Duncan was a doctor and practised in Vancouver. He and Uncle Harry started the Anglo British Columbia Packing Company. My uncle Will was in partnership with my dad in a very large lease from the Government. They bought stock enough to stock this lease and the Government cancelled the lease. They were left with too many cattle for the land they owned and lost money quite heavily. The Government offered them a chance to buy leased land at one dollar an acre but they were not able to buy much. By building a dam on Grand Valley creek and digging ditches to prove that the land could be irrigated, they could buy additional land at one dollar per acre. The little dam was on the SE 14 27-27-5-5. 

At first, my grandmother Bell-Irving had a half section which is now under Glenmore Lake. She called the place Bonny Blink. After my mother married my father, W. D. Kerfoot, Grandmother sold her land to Joe Robinson of the Chipman Ranche and homesteaded just west of my parent’s home in the Valley, and had a log house built. This she used for a summer home. She spent the winters in Banff. 

My father had an Indian [sic], named Moses, working for him. One day Moses went to Morley, expecting to be back the next day. After four days passed with no sign of him, Archie and I became very worried and were sure that he had become lost. The next weekend my grandmother took us with her to Banff and on Sunday morning we went to church. In his sermon, the minister told that Moses wandered for forty days in the great and terrible wilderness. Little Archie stood up in church and announced, “No he didn’t! He came back last Friday.” 

I am the “baby” of the clan – born in 1900. Some of the stories of the past I was told, some I remember myself. When I was a baby we had a large coyote hound named Joe that was broken to drive. He pulled me around on a sleigh with a box on it. One day Joe sighted a coyote and away we went on high, till we hit an A fence which stopped everything. In later years Joe used to haul our sleigh up the hill which was both high and steep. He would gallop down behind the sleigh. After doing this about three times Joe would get lost. 

In those days grub lining was a common practice. In the late fall, a man would ride in and stay all winter, doing some chores and cutting wood for a warm bed and grub. Ed Thompson, who had a small ranch, had a man come in to stay the winter. In the spring, Ed arrived over at our house in a bad temper and told my mother his boarder had left, taking Ed’s bridle and silver-mounted spurs with him. 

My mother said, “What’s the matter with the man. Has he got kleptomania?” There was a pause and then Ed said, “I don’t know if he got that but he got most everything else in the house.”

photo Courtesy Cochrane Today

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Chapman Brothers

by Ruth Vanderburgh Big Hill Country pg 208

Andrew and Robert Chapman, twins, were born in Argyll, Scotland. They came to Canada, arriving in Calgary in 1899. Robert went on to Banff, Alberta, and found work in a general store owned at that time by Dave White. Andrew remained in Calgary, finding work with the C.P.R. where he remained until 1902, at which time he decided to go to Banff and join his brother, Robert. In 1903, in partnership with Dave White, Andrew came to Cochrane and set up a general store business. Robert came to Cochrane with him and went into the carpenter business. The carpenter business proved to be more lucrative so Andrew sold out his interest in the store and he and Robert formed a contracting business and worked in and around the Cochrane area. Their first large building was the C. W. Fisher block. In 1909 they built the Saint Andrews United Church. Other buildings erected by them, some still standing, are the Gulf Garage, and the two-storey brick house beside the garage, where Mr. and Mrs. Chapman made their home. The garage was built in 1918. In 1916 they built a butcher shop for Ernie Andison; this is used today for a laundromat. They put up many farm buildings, among them a frame house and barn for the Countess Bubna and a large home for Arthur Crawford. 

Andrew went into local politics and in 1906 became the Mayor of Cochrane village. In 1912 he became Postmaster, a position he held until 1949. When they built the Chapman Brothers Garage, Robert took over the management of it and continued to operate it until it was sold to Marshall and Jim Baptie in 1935. 

Andrew was a member of the Orangemen’s Order, Superintendent of the Sunday School, and both he and his brother took a keen interest in curling. Robert was an avid fisherman. Soon after the sale of their garage, Robert passed away. He had never married. 

In 1918 Andrew married Margaret Seal. She joined him as Postmistress and worked with him until his retirement in 1949. Andrew was also Police Magistrate in Cochrane for six years. He and his wife did not have any children. 

Upon retirement from the Post Office, Andrew and his wife moved to Victoria, British Columbia. Margaret passed away in 1959 and Andrew in 1961. Both were cremated and their ashes were strewn on the Juan de Fuca Straits, near Vancouver. 

The following was taken from Andrew Chapman’s memoirs and was sent by his sister-in-law, Ruth Vanderburgh. 

In 1903 when I arrived in Cochrane there were three churches, all well attended, one store and one hotel. People were honest folk then, a locked door just wasn’t. The Presbyterian Church 

School Tax Receipt June 1905 signed A. Chapman

which I attended, had services in the afternoon and evening. It became too small and a new one was built and except on special occasions, it has been too big ever since. We had no police force in residence back in 1903, but there was an occasional patrol made by the N.W.M.P. I do not want you to think because of what I have said that there was not any crime; we had a murder in 1905, a man of Hungarian nationality was working on the C.P.R. section all summer and one night he disappeared. He was in the butcher shop in the evening and when he left the shop that was the last time he was seen alive. The next morning the section foreman was short one man, and while questioning his crew he noticed that one of the men had a badly scratched face. When asked about it, the man said he had scratched it on some brush. About three days later the man with his face scratched, up and disappeared. The mounted police were notified. They suspected murder and a search took place. Several local townspeople and the mounted police went out but they were unable to find anything. In the spring, Mr. Howard who was a partner in the store business with me, went out to look at his horses on the flats west of town; he came upon what appeared to be a grave. He came back to the store, told me what he had found, and we called the police in, also the section foreman, Mr. Barrett. Even though it was late at night we went out to the spot. Using shovels and lanterns we started to open up the grave. When we got all the loose earth out there was nobody; we decided that the body had been removed and taken somewhere else so we went towards the creek, and we found a hat which the foreman said was the hat worn by the missing man. We never found the man, but when the fishing season opened up, two boys were fishing along the river. One boy was standing on a big rock and when he looked down there was the body. Needless to say, a track record was broken. That same boy became an engineer on the C.P.R. in later years and we often joked about it. 

About 1908 a smallpox epidemic broke out. The family that was delivering milk to the people in town came down with it first and it spread like fire. Tents were put up down by the river and everyone with smallpox was sent there. I recall guards being put on the roads entering the town so people could not come into the town; guards were even at the railway station. One of the teachers was Miss MacIntosh and she got smallpox. When the epidemic was over, members of the village council had to go to every house with disinfectant. All those residing in the house had to have a bath using it, no bathrooms in those days, just a galvanized tub in the middle of the kitchen floor. When everyone was thoroughly disinfected, the children went back to school. 

A second hotel was built and this was indirectly the cause of a riot. Cowboys of the area formed the habit of having a few drinks at one and then going to the other to see if the liquor was any better. On this particular day, there was an extra gang of C.P.R. workers in town. They were doing the same as the cowboys, going from one place to the other. Both groups met on the sidewalk about midway and neither would let the other pass so a real fight broke out. The C.P.R. workers went to their boarding cars and armed themselves with guns and knives. They came back with every intention of cleaning up on the cowboys. The bricks for putting on the outside of the hotel were all in piles around the building. The cowboys used them for their ammunition; it did the job all right, men soon started scattering, then a chap stepped out on the hotel verandah and with the use of a scatter gun soon dispersed the remaining rioters. Ed Cole, a very innocent bystander, was stabbed in the abdomen. The police were called and some N.W.M.P. arrived from Calgary on a handcar. They disarmed all the workers. Mr. Cole had been taken to Mrs. Howards. He was unable to make a positive identification as to who stabbed him, however, the injured recovered, but some of the Italian workers were sent to jail for awhile.

Research pays off for military historian

CHAPS was recently contacted by Garrett Lapp, an amateur military historian about photos of Henry McEachen. Garrett recently acquired McEachen’s World War 1 uniform and medals and wants to put a face to him.

As it turns out, my mother,  Dorothy was a favourite of Henry’s sister Flora and inherited many of her memories. That includes a picture of Henry and other members of her family. It also turns out that Mom had a W.W.1 uniform in her closet for many years and only sold it a few years back.

We’ll provide a copy of the photo to Garrett who in return provided these pictures of Henry’s uniform, medals, buttons and matches that were in the pocket.

History of Henry McEachen 183870 - Garrett Lapp

183870 Pte. Henry G McEachen
10th (Calgary) Battalion CEF

Originally from Cochrane, Alberta Henry traveled to Calgary to enlist on December 13th 1915, a few days after his 19th birthday. He initially trained with the 89th Calgary Battalion before being transferred to the 10th Battalion for service in France. He arrived in the trenches on August 27th, 1916 as the 10th Battalion settled into their positions at the Somme. A month later Henry along with the rest of the 10th Battalion helped take Thiepval Ridge despite numerous German counter attacks. By January after many months of living in the mud and blood of the trenches Henry became seriously ill. He suffered from severe bronchial pneumonia to the point where the doctors feared he might die. The severity of his illness meant he would spend the next eight months recovering in England while the rest of the 10th Battalion would go on to take Vimy Ridge and Hill 70. On August 26th, 1917 Henry finally was well enough to return to the 10th battalion at the front lines. From here until the end of the war Henry remained with his unit fighting during the Battles of Passchendaele, Amiens, and the Last 100 Days Offensive to name a few, miraculously remaining unscathed. After some much needed rest in England and Scotland Henry was finally sent home on April 10th, 1919 receiving his discharge in Calgary on the 23rd.

Henry McEachen W.W. 1 Uniform

He got seriously ill while in France with pneumonia, to the point they thought he might die. Luckily he recovered and returned to the trenches. He saw action at the battles of Passchenedaele, Amiens, and the last 100 days offensive

Henry McEachen WW1 buttons and matches
Garrett Lapp collection
10th Battalion Calgary Cap and Badge
Henrys Medals and 1st Division pin
10th Calgary Battalion shoulder patch

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Kerfoot Family

pg 388 Big Hill Country

 by James Duncan Kerfoot 

The story of the Cochrane Ranche relates that in 1882, Col. Walker, the first resident manager, resigned, such resignation to be effective as soon as a suitable replacement could be found. That replacement was found in the person of William Duncan (W. D.) Kerfoot, an experienced stockman, who, on August 10, 1882, at Fort Benton, Montana, signed a contract with the Cochrane Ranche to take over as resident manager.

W.D. Kerfoot was born in 1859 at Providence the family estate in the Shenandoah Valley Virginia, son of James F. Kerfoot, a cavalry captain in General Lee’s Confederate Army. 

“W. D.” had ranched for several years in Montana, and came to Cochrane in 1882 assume his new role. He was an experienced rancher and a great horseman, and some of his exploits are set forth in the recollections of his son, Archie Kerfoot. 

In 1884 he married Adriana Bell-Irving a brought his bride to live in the log house still standing on the old ranch site just west Cochrane. Their first-born, Duncan Irving, bo in Calgary in 1885, was an infant when his father parted company with the ranch and homestead just outside the Cochrane Ranche lease. Grand Valley, on SW14 10-27-5-5, his brother law, Will Bell-Irving, having taken up SE1:21 5-5, some two miles up the valley. Here W. raised a family of six: four sons, Duncan I, Adrian R. (Pat), Archibald D., and Percival C.,

all of whom continued to live in Grand Valley on adjacent properties until after the Second World War, and two daughters, Olive Lee who married a Jumping Pound rancher, Victor Saunders; they now live in Sidney, British Columbia, and Valentine McBean, who married W. R. Wolley Dod in 1927, the son of a pioneer rancher of the Fish Creek area; they are both deceased. Their only child, W. R. Wolley-Dod, is an Alberta Land Surveyor living in Calgary, while the only Saunders child, Jean, makes her home in England. She was once a seeded lawn tennis player for Great Britain. 

Of the second generation, Duncan, who married Margaret M. Melly in Liverpool in 1912, lived most of his life in Grand Valley on the property now known as Providence Ranch. He met his future wife in the Valley, as she had come out to stay with her aunt, Mrs. Oswald Critchley, on the Bell-Irving ranch which had passed to the Critchley family around 1910. Also a keen horseman, Duncan was active in the Cochrane Polo Club for many years, as were all his brothers, especially Archie. Duncan imported a fine Thoroughbred stallion (Vambrace) from England in 1924. Always interested in public service, Duncan was a member of the B.P.O.E. (Elks), and he and his brothers played a part in the building of the Elks Hall, now the Cochrane Community Hall. He was also very active during World War Two as District Chairman of the Canadian War Bonds Drive. Duncan and Margaret raised a family of four in Grand Valley, with two sons and two daughters. Margaret (Peggy) the eldest, married Grant Gibson, a Toronto engineer, in 1937, and they now reside in Thornhill, Ontario. William Duncan (Bill) stayed on the ranch and married Shirley Ireland in 1940, just before going Overseas with the Calgary Highlanders. He was killed in action while serving with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment; this Regiment was nearly wiped out in that action. James Duncan, a Royal Military College, Kingston graduate, served with the Indian Army from 1937-47 and saw service on the Northwest Frontier of India in 1938, and on the Burma front in World War Two. He was severely wounded in Burma in 1944 and eventually invalided out of the service. While in the United Kingdom, he met

and married Margaret McNaughton of Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire, and returned with her to take over Providence Ranch from his father, who died January 15, 1946. His mother Margaret, meanwhile moved to Victoria where she lived until her death in 1966. The youngest, Joan, having helped her parents on the ranch throughout the war, married James M. Storey, a local rancher, in 1946, and later moved to Waterton and Twin Butte, where they still reside. 

Adrian (Pat) built his own home close to his widowed mother’s Virginia Ranch home, after marrying Marjorie Sutherland in 1918, and there, raised a family of three. His only son, Ronald J., served with the Calgary Highlanders in Northwest Europe in World War Two, after which he married Frieda Von Besseler in Belgium in 1946. Ronald then went on to a regular army career with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, finally retiring as a Lieut. Col. in 1972, after years of service in the Middle East, Germany, and Viet Nam. They now live in Saanich, British

Columbia and Ron is a real estate salesman. Barbara (1924-1972), Pat’s elder daughter, worked for many years in the oil industry in Calgary and travelled extensively for her employers. Valerie, the younger daughter married Scott Finding, a forest engineer, and they now live in Victoria, British Columbia. Pat’s first wife, Marjorie, died in 1939, and in 1946 he married Dorothy Fraser Thomas of High River, originally of the Jumping Pound district. They later moved to Sidney, British Columbia, where he died in 1959, and she still resides. 

Archie married Anita Helen Bell-Irving in 1927 and ranched on the original family property, Virginia Ranch, in Grand Valley till his retirement to Cochrane in 1958. During these years he first raised and schooled polo ponies, then turned to sheep, and subsequently established a fine herd of registered Herefords, being for many years a prominent contributor to the Calgary Bull Sale. Later he purchased and operated the local hardware store for a number of years. Anita died in 1959 and he married Jessie E. Perry in 1960. 

Percy married Lucy Landale in 1935 and lived in Grand Valley until 1950, ranching, and working for the Calgary Power Company. He raised a family of three, the two girls Jean and Tannis becoming Registered Nurses, and the son, Alex, an electronic engineer. In 1950 he moved to Okotoks where they still reside, after his retirement from the Power Company. 

Some ninety years after W. D. Kerfoot first came to live in the Cochrane District in 1882 there are living some 46 descendants. Two-year

old Jeffrey Duncan is the fifth generation of Duncan Kerfoots to live in the Grand Valley. 

In the summer of 1945 Duncan Kerfoot and his son, Jim, home on leave from India, erected a bronze plaque on a rock face looking west from the Wildcat Ridge and shadowed by an ancient rock pine. This plaque honours the memory of their son and brother, Bill, who was killed in action at Ortona, Italy, on December 23, 1943. 

Every year since 1946, Jim and members of his growing family have visited this site on Remembrance Day, November 11, which day was also Bill’s birthday. 


W.D. KERFOOT – by A. D. (Archie) Kerfoot 

My father, W. D. Kerfoot, moved to Montana as a young man and established a cattle ranch. It was not too long before he became involved in the sheep and cattle range war that was going on at that time. I think it was in the early part of 1881 that all his buildings and equipment were burned by sheepmen. Soon after that, he was hired as manager of the Cochrane Ranche arriving here in the fall of 1882. 

It is strange that after leaving Montana because of sheep and cattle feuding, he should be the manager of a large ranch that ran both sheep and cattle, as well as a lot of horses. 

My father went back to Montana and brought back eight thousand sheep for the company. Some twenty-five or more years ago I saw in the Calgary Herald’s column, “Sixty Years Ago”, a description of them trying to swim the sheep across the Elbow River, which was in flood, and the Herald said that the language was very colourful. However, they got the sheep across and home. 

I think it was in 1884 and 1885 that the second Riel Rebellion took place and some of the Indians and half-breeds [sic] got on the warpath. The ranch had a large flock of sheep right where Delbeke’s place was later. The half-breeds [sic] set fires on all sides of the sheep with the result that about twelve hundred sheep were burned to death. As a boy, I can remember Father saying what a horrible sight it was to see these poor beasts running, burning as they ran. There was a very good Scottish sheepherder with two good dogs, and at great danger to himself, as the half-breeds were shooting, he managed to save the bulk of the herd. 

Father had to make a report to the head office and in reply, they said it was unfortunate about the sheep, but had Father fired the herder. Father replied that he had not fired the herder as he considered the herder had done an outstanding job in saving most of the sheep. After several letters back and forth it got down to either you fire the herder or you are through, so Father was fired and promptly sued the company for the balance of his contract, and won his case. In 1885, he moved into Grand Valley and ranched for himself. 

When Father first came here in 1882 Calgary consisted of the police barracks, I. G. Baker’s Store and a few tents, but soon after, the railway came through, and Calgary attained town status. The Alberta Hotel was the focal point in town. It was said that if you waited long enough in the hotel, everyone you knew would eventually come there. 

The hotel was run by a couple called Perley and they owned a large black bear which they had acquired as a cub. They kept it tied up with a collar and chain. The bar was always open so it is likely that Father was feeling no pain when someone rushed in and said that the bear was loose and terrifying people on Eighth Avenue, then Stephen Avenue. At this time everybody either rode or drove horses so there were hitching rails along the side of the streets. Father got on his horse and after considerable trouble managed to get close enough to rope the bear and tie it to a post. Then he told Mr. Perley to put the collar back on the bear, but the bear had been scared by the people and would have no part of the collar. Father went into the drug store and bought some chloroform, and watching his chance, dashed in and chloroformed the bear, whereupon Mr. Perley put the collar back on the bear, but sad to say, Father had done too good a job and the bear never woke up. Father was treated as something of a hero by the townspeople but not by Mr. Perley who had been very fond of his bear. 

While I do not pretend to know when the last buffalo was killed on the prairies, I do know that my father killed an old bull, between 1882 and 1886, which he believed to be the last buffalo in the Cochrane District. 

When I was a small boy I can remember being thrilled with various hunting stories of my father’s events which took place in Montana before he came here, in some of which he had very close calls. It would be gratifying to be able to tell an exciting story of the last buffalo killed in this district, but such is not the case. 

Father and some other riders ran onto this old bull while gathering cattle, and as none of them had a rifle along they corralled him with a large bunch of cattle, (which may not have been as simple as it sounds), in the Cochrane Ranche home corrals, where Dad shot him. 

An advertisement which appeared in the Calgary Herald on December 10th, 1884, reads as follows: 

BRITISH AMERICAN RANCHE COMPANY Limited Horse brand C on the left shoulder. Vent – Inverted on left hip. Range – Bow River, N.W.T. Address – Calgary, N.W.T. 

Well-broken horses of all classes are constantly on hand. The undersigned will attend at the Calgary House every Monday to meet parties desiring to purchase horses. A number of good pack horses for sale.

W.D. KERFOOT, Manager In looking for the above advertisement in the old Herald of 1884 I found an interesting article deploring the way the buffalo had been destroyed and saying a few head had been seen recently near Morley, so it was probably after 1884 when my father killed what he believed to be the last one in this district. 

At Fort Benton, Montana, my father entered into an agreement with Jas. A. Cochrane representing the Cochrane Ranche Co. When they took the cattle to the lease south of Macleod they changed the name of the north ranch to Bow River Co. From Frank White’s diary: “May 4th, 1883, Arranged with Kerfoot about plan of round 

up and got him to name his price as Manager of Bow River Co. $2500. and House. Feb. 19, 1884, Meeting of projectors of British American Ranche Company and they concluded to buy the Bow River property from Cochrane Ranche Co. at $55,000.” 

(Senator Cochrane was President of both companies. The cattle were moved to the Kootenai range so that the company could get another 100,000-acre lease down there). 

From Frank White’s diary: “April 9th, 1884, Big Hill, A. M. talking with Kerfoot and looking over the horses.” 

I gathered that Father did not look back on his position with the Company with any great pleasure as it was run from Eastern Canada, and the Company seemed to have the happy knack of getting together a lot of good men and then ignoring their recommendations, usually with heavy loss to themselves. 

My father was considered to be one of the top horsemen of his day and had broken horses most of his life, so it was strange that he should be killed by a gentle horse while riding in the parade at the summer show in Calgary. As the parade passed the grandstand the band started up and scared his horse, causing it to rear up and fall over a cow, breaking Father’s back. He died in 1908. 

My brother-in-law was given an extraordinary education. After attending a good school in England and studying piano there, he was sent to France to learn to speak French and study music – then to Germany to study German and music. As his father had a large business in Russia, Vic finally went to Russia where he became fluent in Russian and kept on with his music. 

It would seem that he had been trained for the diplomatic service or for a career as a concert pianist, but actually, his parents sent him off to Western Canada to take up a homestead. Although ill-equipped for this life, he homesteaded in the Jumping Pound district. 

He was courting my sister, Olive, who claims that whenever he took her driving, little Archie was sent along too. The couple had other troubles. Many on the Jumping Pound line and on the Grand Valley line listened in on their conversations. As the day of the wedding drew near the local interest became intense. To thwart them Vic would send and receive messages through my mother, both speaking in German. South of the river they found a teacher who knew German and would translate for them. So that was out. Duncan, who was running our ranch, had working for him a man named McBride who spoke perfect French, so he and Vic relayed the messages in French. Then a French-speaking neighbour was found to tell the news. About this time Mrs. Saunders came over for the wedding and was staying with us, so the conversations were now between her and her son, in Russian. This stymied everyone on both sides of the river. 

No one even knew what language they were speaking 

Olive and Vic Saunders were married in 1910. 

THE ORDEAL OF W. D. KERFOOT — by A. R. (Pat) Kerfoot 

From Frank White’s Diary: Dec. 31st, 1882. Kerfoot got in after being lost two days and a night. (26 below) 

This laconic comment in the diary which appeared in “Canadian Cattlemen” prompted W. D. Kerfoot’s son, Pat, to write to the magazine as follows: 

As you will remember, Mr. White made very brief mention of W. D. Kerfoot having been lost for two days and a night in a blizzard but said nothing of how horse and rider had weathered the storm. 

In the hope of finding further details, I looked through some of my father’s diaries but found that they were all of a later date. However, I have heard my father speak of this unpleasant little jaunt many times, and it may be of interest to you and your readers to have these few particulars. 

My father was, at that time, manager of the Cochrane Ranche which as old-timers will remember was situated below Big Hill. That fall a number of cattle had been shipped in from Ontario and, in very poor condition, had been turned out on the range north of Cochrane. Just two days before the New Year, my father rode up to look over this herd and had arrived at a point near where Bottrel is now located, when the blizzard struck. In the blinding whirl of snow, his one chance was to hit for the head of Big Hill Valley and follow it down to the ranch. This he tried to do but must have swung too far to the east, for he missed it completely. 

For two days and a night, he wandered on, sometimes riding and sometimes walking to ease his horse but never daring to stop or rest. He knew the risk if he stopped, for once before, when living in Montana, he had had one leg frozen under similar circumstances and as a result was lame in one leg. I can well remember him saying that he was six feet tall when he stood on one leg and five foot eleven when he stood on the other. 

By the end of the second day his horse could no longer be ridden and in fact, could scarcely be kept moving. However, my father hung onto him for he realized that if his own strength gave out he might have to throw the horse to give himself a windbreak and a bit of warmth. 

Fortunately, on the second day, the storm stopped, just before dark, as suddenly as it had begun. My father had no idea where he was and could scarcely see for the ice and snow on his face. However, he kept moving in the direction which he hoped was south and by good luck was met, just before dark, by a rider who was the first person out of Calgary since the storm. I have forgotten this man’s name, but he un 

doubtedly saved my father’s life, for he put him on his own horse and walked beside him while they covered the four miles south into Calgary. My father’s horse had first been unsaddled and turned loose in the hope that he would be able to follow them in, but the poor brute was too far gone and was found dead the next day when a rider was sent out for him. 

My father, except for a few frostbites, was none the worse for his long exposure. However, he told me that on reaching town he found that his palate had become quite numb from eating snow and, this, to a man who enjoyed an occasional hooker of Scotch, must have been pretty trying, I imagine, especially after such an experience. 

I trust that the foregoing may be of some interest. 

William Camden Family

by Cyril Camden pg 207 Big Hill Country 

My father, William Camden, was born in England and came to Canada at an early age, residing in Winnipeg. He returned to England for a short time and then, accompanied by his wife Ellen, returned to Canada, this time to Calgary in 1912. 

Dad was a stonemason and a stonecutter by profession. He helped in the building of several sandstone buildings in Calgary including the King George School. In 1915, at the request of Charles Fisher, Dad came to Cochrane to work on the large sandstone home that Charles Fisher 

King George School

was building. This home is now being used by the Franciscan Order. 

The family moved to a farm presently owned by Bob Beynon Jr., just west of Cochrane. While there Dad had a dairy business and supplied milk to the residents of Cochrane. He sold his dairy to George Bunney and went back to carpenter work, and the family moved into town. There were four children, George, Elsie, Cyril and Doris. 

Dad helped to construct many buildings in the Cochrane area, and being an expert stonemason, also built many fireplaces in homes around Cochrane, Exshaw and Banff. He helped to build Andison’s Store after the Fisher Block burned. At the request of the Kerfoot family, Dad built a memorial in the Wildcat Hills for a member of the family lost in World War II. For some time Dad was employed at the Exshaw Cement Plant. 

We children all attended school in Cochrane. Doris became a teacher and taught school at Beaupre and Cochrane. She is Mrs. Estabrooks and she and her husband have two children, Ross and Beverly. Elsie never married. She was employed by the Federal Government for many years. 

George and his wife Iris live in Calgary, where George has been a salesman since moving to the city. Prior to leaving Cochrane, he worked at the Chapman Garage. They have two children, Bud and Carol. I enlisted in the Armed 

Services in World War II and after completing war duty became postmaster at Cochrane, a position I held for ten years. I married Mildred Wallace and we have two children, a son Cam and a daughter Wendy. We now farm north of Cochrane. 

Dad was keenly interested in sports of all kinds, but he especially enjoyed curling. He was a member of the Oddfellows and the Masonic Lodges in Cochrane. Mother and Dad were members of All Saints Anglican Church. 

Elsie and Mother both passed away in 1957 and Dad in 1971.

Wallace family

by Marion Jensen pg 781 More Big Hill Country 1945-1980

In August of 2005, the Wallace family celebrated the 100th anniversary of the farm started by grandparents, Sarah and William Wallace. Our grandparents were among those flocking to the west to prove up on homesteads: the population of Alberta (then the Northwest Territories) quintupled from 1900 to 1910. 

William had put a down payment on a quarter section Sec 12 Twp 25 Range 4 W5M in 1902. His mortgage was held by the North of Scotland Canadian Mortgage Company that handled Canadian Pacific Railway land sales. He paid 8 1/2% interest on land in what was then the Northwest Territories. 

However, it wasn’t until 1905 they sold their little farm near Pakenham in Lanark County, Ontario, and William, loading a boxcar with settler’s effects, headed west. Sarah and the two boys, Harris and Willie, stayed with relatives until William found a farmhouse just west of where the Springbank United Church now stands. They settled there because the Brushy Ridge land had no buildings or houses. William spent the winter hauling hay to feed his cattle five miles to the west. The winter of 1906 was so mild he rarely needed gloves but the winter of 1907 was a different story and his moustache would be a frozen mass when he returned from feeding his livestock. 

The two boys went to school at Springbank until the family moved to the Brushy Ridge land in 1907. The first buildings were of log construction, the house and hen house had sod roofs and they hauled their water from a nearby spring with horse and stoneboat. The house, which still stands, although renovated in the 1960s, was built in 1907 with lumber William hauled from Quigley’s mill north of Cochrane. Carpenters Bill Coates and Bob Anderson earned $2.00 per day! 

The barn was added a couple of years later. In the early 1930’s son, William (Bill) added a cow barn to the south side of the building his Dad had erected, and the original was used as a horse barn. One hundred years later both are still in good condition. 

After marrying Nora Callaway in 1929, Bill and Nora milked cows, shipping cream to Cochrane and to Model Dairies in Calgary. The cream was picked up and delivered to the city by brother-in-law Johnny Arnell who would often pick up grocery orders from William’s Brothers on his return trip. As did most families in the community, Nora and Bill kept chickens, a few turkeys and some range cattle in addition to the small dairy herd. Cows were milked by hand and the cream separator was operated by hand. Electricity arrived in the mid-forties. 

In 1929 William made his last delivery of hay to a livery stable in Calgary by team and wagon. 

Bill and Nora had five children: Marion (Jensen), Kathleen (Beynon), Donna (Morris), Nora Lea (Sinclair), William. Nora Lea died in 1995. The children rode to school at Brushy Ridge until grade nine when they were sent to Calgary high schools. Although there were high schools at Cochrane and Springbank, roads were too bad for school buses. The school division paid the tuition but board and room were the family’s responsibility. 

The farm is now operated by the third generation of the family, William (Bill) Wallace, his wife Kristin and their two daughters, Sarah and Lesley. 

The centennial of the province, coinciding with the farm’s 100th anniversary, created an opportunity to look back and to appreciate the contribution our grand parents, parents and the pioneers of the community made to the history of Alberta. Sarah and William were born just a few years before Confederation and could never have imagined in those horse and buggy days the changes that have occurred in 138 years. They would be amazed to see Calgary and acreage development swallowing up viable farm land. Where once there was a thriving dairy industry, only one operation remains. Much of Springbank is in acreages or commercial development. 

The Wallace farming history that goes back to County Connaught in Ireland will end too. Nora and Bill’s children are the fourth generation Canadian on that side of the family: our great-great-grandparents, Andrew and Isabella, immigrated in the early 1800s to farm in Lanark County, Ontario. Of all their descendants, most of whom farmed, only Bill Wallace remains in the business, and the farm William and Sarah began will soon disappear as the city encroaches more and more on rural land. 


The Wallace Farm 100 Years By Kathleen Beynon 

The Wallace family celebrated the one-hundredth anniversary of the farm their grandparents homesteaded in August of 2005. Sarah and William came west from Lanark, Ontario in 1905, the same year Alberta became a province. 

A group of Edmonton journalists published a book called “Alberta, One Hundred Years a Home”. The picture on the dust cover is a picture of the Wallace Family: William (son of Sarah and William), Kathleen, Donna, Nora Lea, William Jr. Marion and Mother (Nora) are missing. The dog’s name was Jelly Beans. 

The descendants of William and Nora Wallace are all still living in Alberta, except one. Carla Beynon lives in Regina and is an Anchor for CTV, but she is still an Alberta-wanna-be. Alberta is definitely a hundred years a home for our family. 


Why become or renew CHAPS Membership -2022

Its time for our 2022 CHAPS Membership drive. We’ve changed our fiscal year to match the calendar year so from here on come January your membership needs renewal.

What do I get out of being a member of CHAPS?

First, some background. While I did grow up here, I left when I was 17 and returned just a few years ago. I am semi-retired and needed something meaningful to fill my time. I became a Director of CHAPS and fell into the role of social media co-coordinator. I was involved in the website refresher project and re-print stories from Big Hill Country, More Big Hill Country, Cochrane Advocate and the Gordon and Belle Hall’s A Peep into the Past newsletter.

I’ve learned that the history of Cochrane and area is as rich as any book or movie. We’ve had royalty from many countries, some of the first and largest ranches in the Canadian west, immigrants from all over have made this place their home, we’ve faced pandemics before, storms, fires and floods have swept the area, we’ve had famous criminals and the policemen that kept the peace. We’ve got stories of early hospitals, how the town evolved, cowboys, artists, poets, horse racing, polo and politicians.

I now know why many of our streets, buildings and landmarks are named the way they are. The people that pioneered this area are real to me and I think that’s important.

CHAPS needs you support to continue operation of the Cochrane Historical Museum. While closed during the pandemic, we still have ongoing costs. We are planning to open this summer if safe to do so and will want to employ students as guides.

So please become or renew your membership. Use the button to get directions on how to do so. Oh, and we have a position on the Executive to fill so please help us out.

You can also help us extend our reach by sharing and commenting on any of our social media sites. It really helps to get our message out. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube as well as our website.

Thanks for your time, I hope to see you soon when we resume our monthly meetings.

Robert and Kathleen Beynon Family

by Kathleen Beynon Page 292 More Big Hill Country 1945-1980

Robert George Beynon “Bob” was the third child of Sophie and Jack Beynon, both Welsh immigrants. He was born March 17, 1926, in the big brick house at the east and of town. Alistair Moore and his wife Dolly lived there for many years.

The Beynons lived on the farm on the Horse Creek road until the girls, Molly and Ada, had to go to school They then bought 21 acres west of town that had to be the site of the old brickyard (now the community of Glenbow) and lived there until the girls finished school. They moved back to Horse Creek and Bob rode his horse to Cochrane to finish his education. 

When he was eight years old his mother took him to Wales for a visit. On the boat, he would slip away to another deck where passengers taught him to play crib and poker. As a teenager he would work for local farmers doing whatever had to be done: plowing, haying or stooking. After chores, he’d ride to Cochrane to play hockey or baseball. 

My Uncle Johnny Arnell umpired and coached hockey games and on occasion, I got to go with his family to the games. That’s how I met Bob. I was born and raised south of the river in the Brushy Ridge district. Our family of five rode the two and a half miles to Brushy Ridge School until we reached grade nine. Then we were sent to Calgary. The School Division paid our tuition but board and room were not included so we stayed with our Grandmother Sarah Wallace in the Killarney district. 

In November 1950 Bob and I were married. We moved to the Horse Creek farm while Sophie and Jack, Bob’s parents, moved into the little brick house on the Cochrane property. During our two years on the farm, our first daughter, Elaine, was born. While I was in the hospital a terrible hailstorm went through the district, breaking windows and destroying roofing. 

In 1951 Bob got a job with Shell Oil at Jumping Pound. He had to drive to Cochrane to catch a ride or take his turn driving. Bob’s first job with Shell was loading sulphur which was trucked into Cochrane from the Jumping Pound plant and dumped by the tracks. He was one of those loading it on boxcars with a front-end loader. It was a terrible job, the sulphur made his eyes red and sore. And it was smelly. Anything silver in the house turned black from his clothes and hands. Bob worked for Shell for 25 years and, after retiring, did some consulting. He went to Little Rock, Arkansas to start a plant there and later did the same thing in Peace River. After that, he tried real estate and sold houses in Cochrane and Exshaw. 

In the beginning, I was left on the farm with no vehicle and no phone, in an un-insulated drafty old house. Later we moved to town to the little house by the cenotaph and it was here that four more children were added to the family: Cathy, Dwight, Nancy, and Trevor. With only two bedrooms and a postage-size kitchen in the 900 square foot house we decided to build. 

In 1961 Bob’s mother was still in the little brick house and we built beside her. In 1979 our land was annexed into Cochrane, but we kept two lots. However, the brick house was demolished. I saved bricks for a flowerbed and each child got some of them. 

In 1979, with Dorothy Anderson, I started a fabric store, “The Fab Bric House”, located in the Old Chapman house and later moved to the Westwinds Shopping Centre. We carried on with it for 14 years. 

As a youth Bob played hockey and ball and rode as an outrider for Gordon Dingwall. We both golfed and curled. We loved to dance and went to one almost every weekend. We travelled to Australia, Hawaii and the British Isles. We had many parties in our new home after hockey, curling games and on New Year’s Eve. 

Bob died on April 27, 2005. The Horse Creek farm is sold, but Trevor is still currently living there. I continue to live in our house in Glenbow. Elaine lives in Calgary, Cathy in Peace River, Dwight in Dartique, and Nancy in Devon. Our family has grown to include 12 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

Photos courtesy CHAPS Archive

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