Tom Wilson

by Jean L. Johnson pg 97 Big Hill Country 1977

One of the best-known characters to live in the Morleyville Settlement, in the early days, was Tom Wilson, though he is more widely remembered as a guide and outfitter of Banff, where he moved in 1893. For a time, in 1881 and 1882, he worked with survey parties planning the route of the C.P.R. through the mountains. 

Pierre Berton, in his book The Last Spike Vol. 2 of The Great Railway), describes in dramatic detail how Tom Wilson saved the engineer, Major A. B. Rogers, from drowning when he made a foolhardy attempt to ford a swift and swollen stream, in July of 1881. This stream, which flows into the Bow River from the Daly glacier near the eastern end of the Kicking Horse Pass, has been known ever since as Bath Creek. This occurred before Rogers had discovered the pass through the Selkirks which bears his name, so it is quite possible that had Tom failed to pull the Major from the icy waters, the railway would have followed a different route and the subsequent development of Alberta and eastern British Columbia might have taken a very different course. 


Tom Wilson was born at Bond Head, forty miles north of Toronto, on August 21, 1859, of pioneer stock. Like many Ontario farm boys, he had read romantic tales of the Northwest and heard the yarns of soldiers returning from the Red River Rebellion. At the age of sixteen, he set out looking for adventure, heading for the Canadian West, via Detroit and Chicago. He got as far as Sioux City, Iowa when a surge of homesickness sent him home again. However, four years later the urge for adventure was strong in him again. This time he joined the North West Mounted Police and was sent to Fort Walsh in the Cypress Hills. He started from Barrie, Ontario, and went to Sarnia. From there he went by steamboat to Duluth, Minnesota, where he boarded the Northern Pacific to the end of steel at Bismarck, North Dakota. From Bismarck, he travelled by boat up the Missouri River to somewhere above Fort Benton and then across the prairies to Fort Walsh. 

In April of 1881, the talk and the excitement was all of the coming railway and Tom Wilson felt he had to be part of the action. He applied for, and was given, his discharge from the Mounted Police and took a job as a packer with the I. G. Baker Company, which had a contract to supply the party searching for a route through the mountains. He proceeded south with the freight company to Fort Benton where there was a wait of a week, for the arrival of Major Rogers’ survey crew. He was hired by Rogers’ deputy, a man named Hyndman. At nineteen, Tom was the youngest of the crew. 

The party started out for Bow River Gap where they were to rendezvous with Major Rogers. It took three weeks for the party of nine prairie schooners, pulled by twenty-four teams of horses, as well as eighty pack animals, to reach Old Bow Fort. Crossing the Old Man River at Coalbank, (now Lethbridge) they had to convert the wagons into boats. When they reached Fort Calgary, they found some semblance of civilization – four log buildings: Mounted Police Barracks, Hudson’s Bay Post, I. G. Baker store and a mission. They left Fort Calgary on July 5 and camped that night on Big Hill Creek, at the site of the present town of Cochrane. 

Here they were joined by Rev. John McDougall, the Methodist missionary, who offered to guide them, as the wagon trail ended at Morley. From there west there was only an Indian [sic] trail. At Bow Fort, where the Baker Company’s contract ended, they pitched camp, and next day, Sunday, heard a sermon by Rev. John McDougall who took for his text, “As sure as Christ.” This was not taken from the Bible but from the words of a Montana packer: “Just as soon as the snow begins to fall, I am as sure as Christ, getting out of this Godforsaken country.” 

Tom became a great friend of Major Roger who wanted him to go on foot alone to explore Howse Pass. Tom quit. Later, guiding for the C.P.R., he discovered Lake Louise. The next he again met up with Major Rogers and he did explore Howse Pass. He was the first white man to view Takakkaw Falls in Yoho Park where later, a bronze plaque was erected in his honour. 

The fall of 1882 he left the mountains and spent the winter with Mr. and Mrs. David McDougall at Morley. Possibly it was about this time that he built the little log cabin on land taken later by James Potts. 

In April 1885 he received a wire from Maj Steele asking him to join Steele’s Scouts organized to assist in putting down the Riel Rebellion. When the rebellion was over he returned to Morley and homesteaded the SW 29-26-6-5, on the School Section west of the James Potts place. His buildings are long gone but there is a spot in a hollow up on the School Section hill that shows some faint signs of human abode. And there one day, I discovered rhubarb growing among the grass. During the three years, we lived on the old Coleman place, I went up regularly to pick the stunted stalks. Strangely enough, I discovered Tom’s rhubarb the year he died. 

From Frank White’s Diary: “Sept. 29, 1885, Wilson informed me that the object of his trip to Edmonton was to marry Miss Minnie McD.” 

The lady that Tom married was Minnie McDougall, a niece of the Rev. George McDougall. They had four children born at Morley, Ada, John, Rene and Thomas E. Jr.; Bessie and Dora were born in Banff. 

The family moved to Banff in 1893 where Tom became renowned as a guide and outfitter. In 1898 another well-known outfitter and mountain man, Jimmie Simpson, became one of Tom’s men and cooked for him on the trail when they took a party of Philadelphians into Emerald Lake, another lake which had been discovered and named by Tom. 

About 1901 Tom Wilson established a horse ranch on the historic Kootenay Plains. This beautiful ranch was on the flats of the North Saskatchewan River, surrounded by mountains. The plains were rich in hard grass and were swept by Chinook winds in winter so that there was excellent winter range and no cultivation of the land was necessary. Tom had A fences and good log buildings and corrals close to the river. He packed his water up from the river with a yoke across his shoulders. This yoke was carved from a log and a pail was hung from each end, making the load very easy to carry. 

Tom wintered his horses on the Kootenay Plains and in the summer took his saddle horses and pack horses to Banff where he carried on as an outfitter and had a pony stand at Lake Louise. In 1919 the Government took over his ranch and made it part of the Forest Reserve. He was 

forced to part with his Powder Horn horses which had greatly increased in numbers. Frank Wellman bought the horses. 

Tom Wilson went back to Banff and his beloved mountains. There he worked for the C.P.R. giving information to the tourists. He became a Justice of the Peace in Banff and there on September 20, 1933, he died. The bronze plaque was brought from the Yoho and placed over his grave in Banff. 

More reading

A Man for the Times

by Mary B. Mark pg 95 Big Hill Country 1977

Dominion Day, 1974, has a special significance and one with many satisfactions for the citizens of Alberta, marking as it does the first day in office of the new Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Ralph Garvin Steinhauer. His appointment has proven a stimulating and happy choice for Albertans. 

Ralph Garvin Steinhauer was born on the Morley Indian Reserve on June 8th, 1905, the year Alberta became a province. He lived also at Brocket and in residence at the Red Deer Indian Industrial School for his primary grades. Early memories are centred around his life on the Saddle Lake Indian Reserve where his father, James Steinhauer, had come with family and friends to establish a new community. Their home was built on that part of the nineteen and one-half sections of the reserve later purchased from the native farmers by enterprising white men. 

The Steinhauer family, greatly influenced by the life and teachings of their grandfather, the Ojibway missionary, Henry Steinhauer, knew the value of education and the benefits of agricultural practices. James Steinhauer, however, had no mind to send his children away to the residential schools. They must attend Doucet School, a public school where mostly French was spoken, a good six-mile hike from home. Ralph Steinhauer and his sister Winnifred were the only two children from the reserve to attempt this integrated type of schooling. (At first, they were given a bad time by the other children but soon they were accepted.) 

Mr. Steinhauer recalls: “Later we went to Roseneath School, south of Ashmont, again the only two children from the reserve. We had a regular League of Nations there – a good teacher, good discipline. I liked history and geography best of my studies, and we had outdoor sports – lots of fun. 

“My father, who also acted as interpreter on the reserve and did a lot of carpentry work, had established quite a farm by this time. We children had our share of chores to do. After threshing in the fall, we had the long haul to bring grain to the elevator at Two Hills. At 18 I was one of the first members of the Alberta Wheat Pool.” He proudly shows the leather plaque presented to him as a founding member.

Another vivid memory is the arrival of the railway to Ashmont in 1919 and to St. Paul in 1921. He recalls when many acres of the reserve land were sold. 

“I was about 20 when white buyers came with many ten-dollar bills in their pockets. I didn’t like to see the land sold. I told my elders that it would be a great loss to my generation, but because I was not 21 they didn’t allow me to speak at the meeting.” 

Many a moccasin mile he pondered, knowing full well the land was worth much more than the paltry sums paid. 


The next year after threshing he found winter employment in the General Store and Post Office at Vilna. It was there he met Miss Isabel Davidson, the soft-spoken and lovely schoolteacher. 

“I didn’t see him until late in November,” Mrs. Steinhauer says with a laugh. They skip lightly over this time, but it was a romance, a love match. To be brought “home” to the reserve, to live the first summer in a tent, cook in a granary, to help with the building of the first log home, are happy memories today. Many pioneers can share such memories with them … the frogs chorusing in the nearby slough in the evenings, the fresh spruce-scented air, the strawberries and other wild fruit, fried partridge, roast duck … making tea, making lunches, suppers . . . summer at Saddle Lake. The young teacher, born in Buffalo, New York, who had come west to Edmonton at the age of 15 with her widowed Scottish mother, would wonder and marvel. 

“It took me a little while to get used to being a farmer’s wife,” Isabel Steinhauer says, “But I finally adapted.” She had become a teacher after taking business training at McDougall Commercial College in Edmonton. 

“Mr. Percy Page was my teacher. I worked as a bank teller at Provost for a couple of years and then went to Normal School. I taught school at Vilna, and I loved it, but Ralph wanted to farm, make our home here. It has been a good life, a busy life – a real home.” Mrs. Steinhauer states simply the sum of their 47 years of married life. 


I taught school at Vilna, and I loved it, but Ralph wanted to farm, make our home here. It has been a good life, a busy life - a real home.”

From the beginning, the young couple had much to do. There were people to meet, to understand. The Steinhauer family had several branches, notably Uncle Robert who maintained the Mission Church located at the far end of the reserve. For Ralph and Isabel, it meant a 13 mile trip in a lumber wagon when weather permitted. Also when weather permitted, Ralph coached his baseball team. 

In 1929 their daughter Muriel was born and a year later, Doreen. The birth of Kay, in 1932, came at the end of a sports day in St. Paul, when Ralph’s Saddle Lake baseball team won the day. “It was a great day,” Ralph remembers, “Win ning the ball games – and another beautiful daughter at night!”. 

At 25, Ralph Steinhauer was increasingly concerned and affected by the problems that affected the reserve. Without adequate fences, stray cattle pastured on the reserve and their own cattle often became lost. Too, the farm advisor provided by the government was a man who didn’t know a neck yoke from a singletree, or anything about the handling of livestock.” 

A native person wishing to speak to the Indian Agent had to talk to him through a wicket. If the agent didn’t like the discussion or if he thought it went on too long, he shut the wicket down in the face of the speaker. Also at that time, the Indian Agent did not meet with the native band councillors. Chief Moses acted as the go-between in those early years. Progress and communication did not exist. 

After much frustration, Ralph decided to call a council meeting. The councillors came to the waiting room. “We’re here to have a meeting,” he told the Indian Agent. “We want you out here with us.” Each band member had his say. They wanted regular meetings and open discussion of problems with the Indian Agent. Maybe this could be arranged. 

“The council meetings were the beginning of change. People began to take an interest in their own affairs. A new Indian Agent came, Mr. Bill Pugh. He brought more changes. He welcomed the council meetings, had the councillors in for lunch!” 

(The Indians had to have a permit to sell a load of grain or a calf. Through the efforts of Ralph Steinhauer, this was changed and permits are no longer in use.) 

The little girls were now well past school age. With no day school on the reserve, Isabel Steinhauer had to send her children away to the residential school at St. Albert. This went on for three unsatisfactory school terms. Not at all pleased with the quality of education, her children were receiving, Mrs. Steinhauer applied to the Correspondence School Branch and taught the children at home. Later the girls were registered in the Duclos Mission School at Bonnyville and went on to complete their education in their chosen fields of teaching and nursing. In 1937, the fourth daughter, June, was born, and in 1945, their son Kenneth arrived. B this time a day school had been built on the reserve, taught by Catholic sisters. 

The years have been filled with active community work both on and off the reserve. Neighbours and friends have always found a warm welcome in the Steinhauer home, built close to the highway in the corner of their 1800 acre farm, where cattle and grain crops are raised. 

Ralph Steinhauer’s work with the band council, begun in 1932, was to continue for 37 years. Three of these years were served as Chief. Active for many years in the work of the Indian Association of Alberta, he travelled the province, a well-known and respected figure. Later he sat on the board of the Alberta New Start Program and in 1971 the Alberta Indian Development Systems Limited. For his valuable contributions to Indian and agricultural organizations and his community, Ralph Steinhauer was invested with the Order of Canada in 1967 and made an Officer of the Order in 1972. 

Remarking on the progress and changes over the years, Mr. Steinhauer notes the population of the Saddle Lake Band is now 1600. There is a library, a playground, a kindergarten and a day school with seven grades, with Cree teacher aides helping the youngsters. There are sports facilities for the active young people, and graduating students may choose to go to the Blue Quills Residential School, now programmed and staffed by the native people, or to surrounding schools. 

“We are just as much a part of the farming community of Brosseau — all are friends and neighbours,” Mr. Steinhauer added. “We’ve known each other and worked on projects together for many years now.” 

Their family now includes 16 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Messages from the grandchildren, bursting with pride in their grandfather, have come as posters and cards, carefully written and decorated. The hand-carved sandalwood chest they had bought two years before in Zanzibar is filled with letters and cards all bearing good wishes and congratulations from friends near and far. 

Bit by bit the pattern emerges, the pattern of the past that has shaped the present and the future and made Ralph Garvin Steinhauer the first native Canadian to become the Lieutenant Governor of his province. The story is one of heritage and destiny, courage, intelligence and far-sightedness; and the great good humour and wisdom of this kindly and generous-hearted man who now becomes a historical figure in Alberta. 

Beside him, his wife Isabel gives her whole-hearted and loyal support to every decision of this remarkable man who clearly is a man for the times.

Catholic Church in the Cochrane Area

— by Marjorie Spicer  pg 172 Big Hill Country 1977

The latter part of the 19th Century witnessed the invasion of the white man to the wild and unknown country of the Blackfoot and Stoney Indians [sic]. 

In 1832 the Hudson’s Bay Company had built a trading post at Bow Fort but it had to be abandoned due to the hostility of the Indians [sic]. In 1840 missionaries started to come into the area. Explorers and surveyors were already here. Before the Palliser Expedition was sent west to seek a pass through the mountains, Rev. Father Pierre Jean DeSmets came to the valley of Bow by way of the Whiteman’s Pass. This was in 1845. He spent some time with the Stoney Indians [sic], and while among them performed what were perhaps the first baptisms in the Calgary diocese, when he brought six Indian [sic] children and one elderly man into the church. 

Eleven years before the hamlet of Cochrane was founded, the first manifestation of Catholic life in Southern Alberta began when, on October 19, 1873, Reverend Fathers Fourmand and Scollen with their guide, Louis Dazé, left St. Albert (now a district in Edmonton) and travelled to the Elbow River, taking up residence in a log cabin built by Alexis Cardinal. This was a small cabin, 12 x 12. It was heated by an open hearth built of flat stones. The one window in the cabin was a thin parchment, and for a door, they used a tightly stretched rawhide. The parishioners were Blackfoot, Metis, and some trappers and traders, most of them having arrived in the area from the United States. 

When winter was over Father Fourmand and Louis Dazé returned to St. Albert, while Father Scollen left to visit the camps of the buffalo hunters, who were mostly Metis, and other Indians [sic] who were scattered over the vast prairie. It took Father Scollen six months to make the trip ending at St. Albert on August 5, 1874. 

In the summer of 1874, another great event was taking place; the North West Mounted Police were establishing themselves in the Northwest Territories. Having assisted at the annual retreat in St. Albert, Father Scollen, in company with Father Bonald and Louis Dazé, arrived back at the Elbow River Mission on November 2, 1874. Father Bonald was put in charge of the Mission, while the others organized a hunting party to get provisions for the winter. During this hunting trip, Louis Dazé was frozen to death in a snowstorm on November 22, 1874. 

Louis Dazé’s body was taken to St. Albert for burial in the spring of 1875. Father Bonald and Alexis Cardinal took the body back, leaving on March 8, and arriving on March 22. 

Two new priests were given their obediences for the Elbow River Mission, Fathers Touze and Doucet. They arrived at the Mission, on May 18, 1875. 

In the fall of 1875 Father Scollen, who had been visiting at Fort Macleod and St. Albert, returned to join Father Doucet at the Mission. The North West Mounted Police were establishing a fort, and it was decided to close the Elbow River Mission and move to the same area as the Police Fort, which was twenty-five miles further east on the Elbow River. They felt that there would be a need for their services at the Fort, as there would be more white people arriving and more Indians would visit the post regularly. Thus, after two years, the missionary centre of Southern Alberta moved to Fort Calgary in October 1875. 

The invasion of the whites, when it did come, was fast and furious. A number of ranches were being taken up in the Cochrane District. Some of these ranchers were Catholic immigrants from the Highlands of Scotland. In 1883 the arrival of the C.P.R. made transportation easier for the missionaries. They were able to visit mining and lumbering camps in the area, as well as hold services in private homes. 

During the winter of 1894, a census was taken of Catholics in the Cochrane area, and it was found that there were eighty. Father Comire was asked to build a church. This was approved. James Johnstone, the father of Mrs. Frank Sibbald, donated one acre of land for the church. On September 25, 1895, Father Comire and Brother Patrick Bowes set to work building the church. Residents of the area, including many Protestants, were very generous, and the church was built free of any debts. The church was blessed Sunday, November 24, 1895. Father Lestanc performed the ceremony. 

Father Comire was transferred from Cochrane and was replaced by Father Fouget. He remained until 1899. During his stay, he erected the Way of the Cross and started a collection for an organ loft. Father Culerier attended the Cochrane Parish for a few months in 1899. 

On January 15, 1900, Father Seltman took charge of the Mission west of Calgary. In 1901 he built a small rectory at St. Mary’s in Cochrane. He obtained permission to take up residence there, remaining for only a few months. In Oc tober 1907, Father Hubert Hermes had charge of the missions west of Calgary. He remained with the Mission until 1921. During the summer, he would reside in Banff, and in the winter would alternate between Canmore and Cochrane. In 1908 an addition was added to the church. This was made necessary by the influx of Belgian and French workers at the Cochrane brickyards. 

During his long tenure of ministry, Father Hermes was highly respected for his genuine concern for the human race. He had a charming manner and was a popular participant in sporting events. 

After the departure of Father Hermes, diocesan priests took over the missions. First Father Greene and Father Stavinski resided at Cochrane. They were followed by Fathers McLaughlin, Dunbar, Cunningham, and Clancy. The last four visited Cochrane from St. Mary’s in Calgary. Father Jacob resided here for one winter, and Father Fitzpatrick for two years. Father Lyons made bi-monthly visits from St. Mary’s, Calgary. 

In 1940 Bishop Carroll authorized the return of the parish to the Oblate Fathers and Father Lessard took up residence at Cochrane. Father Lessard, well remembered by all who knew him, was dedicated to helping the young people in the district, and through his efforts, a young people’s club was formed. Both Catholic and Protestant youngsters attended the weekly get-togethers and enjoyed many good times together.

 With his help and encouragement, a newspaper came into being in Cochrane. It was called the Old Timer and was circulated to the four corners of the globe. Father Lessard took a great interest in all sports and was truly a sportsman. In 1946 he was transferred from Cochrane to a mission among the Blackfoot Indians. He passed away in 1966 and was laid to rest at St. Albert. 

In 1939 a cairn was erected, nine miles south of Cochrane, at the site of the first Catholic mission in Southern Alberta. The land in the Mission Valley was owned at that time by the Mickle family. Charles Mickle donated the land for the cairn. It was dedicated to the memory of the first hardy missionaries that braved the wild country to help bring religion to the native people, as well as to the white settlers. When the cairn was dedicated, records of the mission were enclosed in a vault on the cairn. Someone broke into the vault, destroying all the valuable papers. 

In 1945 St. Mary’s Church at Cochrane celebrated its fiftieth year. In 1959 a new church

was built. A replica of the first St. Mary’s Church was built by the Franciscan Order and can be seen on their spacious lawn at the Mount St. Francis Retreat, north of the town of Cochrane. 

Part of the information for this history comes from material written by Father Lessard in 1945.

History of St. Andrews Church

by Edna Copithorne, assisted by Ruth Davies pg 169 Big Hill Country 1977

About 1962, Mrs. Sara Robinson, who was living with her daughter Annie in Banff, invited a few older Cochrane-ites in for tea. I gleaned some interesting bits of the history of the church from this group. 

They all agreed that the first minister in Cochrane was Mr. Ternie, who held church service in the tiny schoolhouse and later in the section house. This section house was a spacious, two-storey frame building painted “CPR red”, housing the C.P.R. foreman and his family. The first Presbyterian church was built between 1901 and 1902 and was located on the site of the present church. Mr. Simpson was the pastor. The Rev. J. A. Claxton arrived in 1903. Mrs. Claxton taught Sunday school and played the organ every Sunday. Mr. Claxton purchased a team of ponies and held services at Mitford, Grand Valley, Lochend, and in homes in the area called the “Burnt Ground.” I remember a barn behind the church, where there was a nice yard with a pump in it. That area is now taken up by the Andrew Sibbald School. In 1904 a frame two-storey

the manse was built beside the church and the Claxtons lived there. This manse was torn down in the 1960s, and the space is now used as the church parking area. The church was a wooden structure, heated with two wood stoves. This church was so crowded at times that latecomers were obliged to stand during the service, so it was decided to build a new one. The old church was hauled to the back of the lot, where it was used as a gymnasium for years and sometimes as a schoolroom. Later it was sold to Bill Beynon Sr. and moved to his farm, where it is still being used as a barn. The original church windows are still in it. 


The new church (the present one) was built by Robert and Andrew Chapman, built with local bricks from the Collins Brickyard. The drop lights in the church were taken out of the hotel and donated to the church. The cornerstone was laid in October 1908, by Mrs. James Quigley, and the trowel she used was framed and hung by the door inside the church. While she was laying the cornerstone, Billie Wright dropped a coin un der it just for fun. In 1934 Mrs. Quigley was given the honor of burning the church mortgage. 

On February 10, 1909, the new church was dedicated. The first organist was Mrs. Park (the Doctor’s wife), and she was assisted by Mrs. Claxton. Rev. Claxton invited the following speakers for the dedication: Rev. Bacon Hillocks; Rev. Hollingsworth, of the Methodist Church at Springbank; Rev. R. Harrison of the Anglican Church in Cochrane and Rev. Kennedy. In 1925 it became the United Church. Ministers down through the years were: J. A. Claxton, 1903-1912; W. A. R. Whiteman, 1913-1914; W. F. Burns, 1915-1916; 1917 – vacant; W. A. Greer, 1918; A. W. K. Herdman, 1919; in 1920 and 1921 – vacant; W. S. Brooker, 1922, student supply, Per cy Halstead, 1928-1931; Doctor McKeen Reid, B.A., B.D., 1932-1933; A. R. Aldridge, 1934-1935; E. Pow, B.A. (was at Springbank also), 1936 1939; W. Little, B.A., 1940-1943; 1944 – vacant; W. B. Leard, 1945; C. W. MacKay, B.A., B.D., 1946-1948; J. R. Brown, B.A., 1948-1951; L. A.

Thompson, 1952-1956; W. E. Julian, B.Sc., 1957 1963; K. G. Syer, 1964-1966; William Dickson, Murray Armstrong, 1967; Rev. Randy Naylor, B.A., B. D. Honors, 1971 to the present year of 1976. 

During Rev. Julian’s service, a fine church hall was built onto the back of the church, and in 1974, church offices were added to this building. 

The first couple to be married in the new church was William Beynon and Chris Davies. 

At the dedication service in February 1909, the Ladies’ Aid gave a “New England Supper” and a program of music and addresses. 

The earliest history of the Ladies’ Aid is scarce. Mrs. Sarah Robinson said, “I joined it before I was married, going to it with my mother (Mrs. James Quigley). I was married in 1902.” Members she could recall were: Mrs. Adam Baptie, Mrs. Bruce, Mrs. McEwen, Mrs. James Quigley and herself, Miss Sara Quigley. 

Members of the Church Board will always be remembered with gratitude. Bob Beynon was secretary for 42 years. Ed Davies was on the Board and Session for 22 years. Hugh Wearmouth has now taken their place. 

The Sunday school superintendents with their staff of teachers have served this community since the year 1886; 89 years of volunteer service

teaching and guiding our young people! The earliest superintendent the Quigleys could remember was Mrs. Morophy, the blacksmith’s wife. Incidentally, their blacksmith shop was located where Jimmie McKay’s store now stands. Alex Quigley said, “Mrs. Morophy was so religious she would peel her potatoes, and do all the other work she could do on Saturday instead of on Sunday.” 

Vivian Riddle, nee McNamee, contributed this information: “Thomas Davies was superintendent and teacher about 1915. He wore his hair longish and it and his beard were white.” Vivian, a very young child then, thought God must look like Mr. Davies. He travelled in a buggy pulled by his buckskin pony. 

Hazel White and Dorothy Grayson were both active teachers in the early Sunday school. Sunday school picnics and garden parties were held in Mrs. White’s or Mrs. Bruce’s beautiful gardens, amid tall shady trees. The Crawfords later were hosts to the annual Sunday school picnic, held in their field near the Jumping Pound Creek – an ideal spot! In the church, you can see a plaque in memory of Arthur Crawford, a generous supporter of the church. 

Andrew Chapman, one of the first superintendents, taught a Bible Class of senior

boys and girls, and was a strict disciplinarian. His class would get out of line sometimes, especially at Hallowe’en, and he did not hesitate to bring them into court, as he was also the Village Magistrate. The church had a little vestry at the back, which was used for classes as well as the sanctuary. At times there were more than one hundred children attending. Mr. Chapman carried on his good work until the mid-forties when he and Mrs. Chapman retired and moved to the Coast. The children saved their extra pennies and bought a lovely chair for them as a parting gift. 

T. Boucher and George Bunny were also very good leaders in the Sunday school. Nancy Boothby was secretary and leader for many years, 

June Morris was the next leader. June was quite young and introduced new and different ideas. 

Winnie Neilson was the next leader and proved to be an excellent choice. Her music was a great help to the children. Every Christmas, we had a Christmas party with Santa Claus and candy bags for all. Everyone enjoyed this, especially the little children. 

Rev. L. Thompson, our minister in the fifties, was the leader of the Sunday school and taught a class of boys. 

Later on George Woods, the bank manager took over the reins. His wife was C.G.I.T. leader and taught a class of girls. Their two daughters also helped with church work. Mr. Woods took the pulpit in the absence of the minister. He retired from the bank and the family moved to Calgary. This was Cochrane’s great loss, but St. David’s gain. 

Betty MacDonnell then became the superintendent and leader of the C.G.I.T. This was no small task, by this time the Sunday school had about 125 to 130 pupils. Betty also belonged to the U.C.W. The MacDonnells (Jack and Betty) went to England, where Jack taught school for two years. 


We had had an education building added on to the church, and a new curriculum was introduced. Clarence McGonigle, the new leader, was very active in many organizations that helped children. Clarence was one of the first men to work at the new Shell Oil plant south of Cochrane. The Sunday school picnic was then held at McGonigle’s. 

At present, our minister, the Rev. Randy Naylor, is the leader. We also have a baby-sitting service so the young mothers can go to church and leave their wee ones in competent hands. 

The first St. Andrews church choir had 17 members; some were: Mable, Ivor and Bruce McNamee; Myrtle, Lila, Bessie and Ruth Webster; Steve, Charlie and Lily Peyto; George Bunny, Bill Beynon, Margaret Chapman, Dot White, Dr. Park, and Andrew Chapman. This choir, along with an active Bible class, raised money to install the church bell still being used in the tower. Mrs. Brooker and daughter Dorothy organized a choir in the 1930s, especially for Easter and Christmas services. 

Andy Chapman later organized a choir with Kelly Siple as the leader; Dorothy and Maybelle Colgan; Florence and Freda Getty; Pat and Doreen Flynn; Cathie, Vivian, and Don McNamee; Bill Graham, Tom Pratt, Muriel Raby and Bernice Fletcher. 

Later, Mrs. White, the school principal’s wife, became choir leader. The Cochrane relief camp, established by the Government in the 1930s, provided work for the unemployed men during the depression years. Some of these men joined the church choir and Ben Skinner, a well-known Calgary tenor, sang with them. On special occasions F. L. Gainer, a member of the Cochrane Roman Catholic Church, who sang tenor, would sing a solo. Many names should be mentioned here in connection with the later choirs such as Vi Desjardine and her daughter Donna, Miriam Callaway, Claudia Edge, Winnie Neilson, and the present Ecumenical or Inter-Faith choir conducted by Claudette McLenahan of St. Mary’s Church, Cochrane. 

There were many fine organists throughout the years. Bessie Webster played for a couple of years; then Ruth Seal (who later married a student minister, F. R. Vanderburgh) played for 15 years. She also played occasionally in the Anglican Church. During 1929-30 she played at 22 funerals held in the church. The Ladies’ Aid gave her two of J. D. Curren’s paintings. In 1921 she was given a watch inscribed, “To Ruth M. Seal By Church Friends, Cochrane, Alberta.” This she used until 1953 when it wore out! Her sister, Margaret Chapman, also played for years; then Vivian and Cathie McNamee. Dorothy Brooker played when her father was a minister. Alice Moore and Aileen Copithorne also played for a number of years. Vernice Wearmouth now plays for the church and the choir. Dolly Callaway and Helen Scott also deserve thanks for playing the piano at Sunday school. 


In 1953 we bought a new organ and Fred Gaskell from the Ghost Dam played for us. In 1974 this organ was sold and Alice and Bob Moore gave their organ to the church in memory of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Andison, and Mr. and Mrs. Alex Moore. 

There have been many youth groups in the church. Dorothy Grayson and Julie Carscallen were two excellent leaders. Mrs. McKeen Reid and Mrs. McBey started the first C.G.I.T. in Cochrane. Other leaders were Mrs. Clare McKay, Margaret Klassen, Mrs. Woods and her daughter (Marilyn Whittle). 

The first Boy Scout group was formed in 1912 with Andrew Chapman as Scout Master. He took a group to Calgary to see the Duke of Devonshire, 

In 1962, when the Boy Scouts celebrated their 50th anniversary in Calgary, two of Mr. Chapman’s 1912 Boy Scouts, Ernest Craig and Ivor McNamee, were honoured by the Governor-General of Canada, Roland Michener. 

There have been other groups established since, such as the Hi-Cs, Tuxis Groups and a “Drop-In” for young marrieds. 

The people of Cochrane and the district can look back into the Church’s history with honour and respect. Missionaries of every faith, with great courage and devotion, zeal and patience, established the foundation for the present churches. The St. Andrew’s United Church has added much to community life. 

Mr and Mrs John Park

– by Bessie MacEwan  pg 774 Big Hill Country, 1977

In 1898 my father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. John Park, came to Canada, to Calgary and on to Cochrane. With them came my brother Andrew, aged three and a half. My sister Peggie and I remained at school in Scotland for seven years.

Mother and Father, and of course Andrew, stayed at the Queen’s Hotel in Calgary for six weeks. Calgary then consisted of Eighth Avenue (Stephen Ave.), it being from Second Street East to First Street West, with wooden sidewalks and mud. 

Father had come to Canada after his business in Scotland went into liquidation because he and “Johnny Walker” were much too friendly. No, he was not a remittance man but did have a bi-yearly allowance from his father’s estate. He could have had a homestead within the (then) City of Calgary limits but as “Johnny Walker” seemed to have relations here, he preferred to go further west. They proceeded to the XC Ranch and I believe were there two or three years. Finally, Father took up a homestead on NW14 16 25-5-5; later he bought two other quarters, one homesteaded by Herb (Soapy) Smith, and the other by Uncle Bob, who came to Canada in 1903. Soapy Smith was a guide in the mountains and only lived on his place part of the time. My father bought another half section of land in the same area later. The fourth quarter of sixteen was reserved by the Government for water reserve. My father’s brand was Bar reversed LR. 

Father built a log house on his quarter; it was lined with fir and in one of Mother’s letters we read incorrectly and thought it was lined with fur. When we were prepared to come out, we had with us a huge packing case of the very warmest clothing, for which we never had a use. We cut and braided them for the beautiful rugs my mother fashioned. Father still hob-nobbed with “Johnny’s” relations but Mother was a wonderful woman. While they were at the XC, Clem Gardner, then a boy, and his two sisters used to all get on one horse and jump over barrels, hence Clem’s great horsemanship. 

For months on end, Mother never saw a white woman. The Indians [sic] came, and Mother fed them; always they wrapped up the food they couldn’t consume and said, “Squaw [sic], papoose.” 

Water was carried from the spring and woodcut in the bush and chopped for firewood. Mother made furniture from apple and orange boxes or whatever was around; made drapes from bleached flour sacks and embroidered them. Later she advanced in her carpenter work and made the most beautiful and durable furniture from lumber, painted it with a green heart stain, and varnished it. She made a buffet, china cabinet and even a table with extension leaves. Mother also made upholstered chairs from apple barrels. The windows were draped with embroidered flour sacks. There were lots of flour sacks around because Mother did all her own baking, including bread. 

My brother had no little playmates but he did have his little dog, “Curly.” She pulled his sleigh in winter and a play hayrack with his favourite rag doll in summer. When he later went to school, he had to ride nine miles, regardless of the weather, and Curly used to meet him one mile from home at the exact time of his return. 

My sister and I came to Canada in 1906. The ocean trip onboard the Corinthian was exciting to us because it took fourteen days. We ran into icebergs and fog and the Captain lost control of the ship; for three days we were on our homeward journey, as the ship had about turned. We ran out of food, were given ship’s biscuits, life jackets, and we were shut off the decks. Upon arriving at Quebec, we were free to go ashore for the day as the ship had to have repairs. There were billboards telling of the loss of the Corinthian, with so many lives lost. 

We arrived in Calgary, May 23, 1906, where Mother and Father met us. They boarded the train and travelled to Cochrane with us and that was to be our first shock. What a transformation! We had made our home in Scotland with our grandmother Park in all luxury. We had to stay overnight at the Murphy Hotel. The next day the ground was white with snow, a great experience to us. We drove to Joe Clemens’ ranch for lunch. He was a bachelor and had tin plates and enamelled mugs, more fun to us. Finally, we arrived at the little log house which was to be our home for a few years. It was a picture, I would say a “dream house” from a storybook and so sweet and spotless. Father and Mother had almost been burned out by a prairie fire on May 4th. 

We could ride horseback, having had our own stables and ponies in Scotland. Then came the fun of learning to milk. Mother used to read from the “Home Preacher” (which I now possess) because there was no way of going to church other than driving to Cochrane 14 miles. 

The roundup used to be held on the water reserve of section 16. My brother and I used to ride the range, too, in search of our lost animals. 

Frank Ricks’ ranch adjoined Father’s and Frank was a wonderful neighbour. He built a lovely house and a covered passage to a new hayloft. We had many wonderful dances up there. The Masonic Ball and that of the Old Timers were the social events of the winter, held in Cochrane of course, and believe it or not there was a band with drums, otherwise, we danced to a mouth organ and fiddle. We really had a good time and arrived home usually in time for the a.m. milking, then off to bed until lunchtime. We always drove in a democrat as there were no cars. I remember the first car to come out there, and how the horses in the field stampeded and snorted when it was visible on a hill four or five miles away. 

Of course, we all rode horseback, and at first, I used Mother’s sidesaddle, but one day Father weakened and brought home a lovely Australian saddle for me. Previously he had said it was unladylike for a girl to ride astride. I also rode a little racing saddle. I learned to break the odd horse and one day my brother dared me to break a cow to ride. The cow was a stray and simply wouldn’t stay away. She was unbranded and we named her Emily Jane. One day down at the water hole Andrew dared me to spring from my horse onto her back and that’s how it all started. 

At one time we milked 31 cows by hand and I have milked all 31 by myself. We drove about 12 miles to Batemans with milk and cream. When we made butter in hot weather, I arose at four a.m. to get the churning done and butter made into pounds before the heat of the day. Yes, I also made bread, and Mr. Bateman sold it at his store. I was really making money. I think I realized about two dollars after making up 100 pounds of flour. I made bread for Stanley Cope and then I could really study Eaton’s Catalogue, known as the “Prairie Bible.” What fun! It was a very valuable book. 

In winter we used to fill ticking with hay and put these under our mattresses because the wood stoves usually burned out by morning and the temperature in the a.m. was just about that of outdoors, sometimes 30 degrees below. We also put flat stones in the oven before going on any trip, then wrapped them in old blankets to keep our feet from freezing. We needed the warmth in spite of wearing felt boots and overshoes. The good old flat irons were heated at night and again wrapped in old pieces of a blanket to keep our beds warm during the cold nights.

SS Corithian courtesy

Frank Sibbald was one of the first neighbours we were introduced to upon our arrival in Cochrane and what a wonderful person he was. He and Mrs. Sibbald and their three children became our dear friends, a friendship which has lasted these many years. 

I was driving home from Cochrane alone one day and got caught in a blizzard. I thought I was driving along a wire fence and would soon come to the gate. After some time I decided to tie my team up and walk to the gate, only to find I had been driving around a haystack. 

Willy Robb, later a bit of a horse thief, was around our country for a few years and I remember him arriving at our ranch one day with a horse that was fully grown. He had tried to make it into a hackney by cutting off its tail and it had become infected. I was to ride the horse but I didn’t take time to change into my divided skirt (which incidentally I had bought with my bread earnings) and my skirt worked its way over the horse’s sore tail. What a ride it was! Full speed uphill and down dale for miles and miles. The poor horse was more afraid than I was and however, we came home I just don’t know. I never did accept the invitation to ride it in the Cochrane Races. 

I always wanted to become a nurse but my father objected, so one fine day when Andrew was going to Cochrane, I threw my saddle into the democrat, tied my horse behind, and off I went. I put my horse in the Cochrane stable and went to Calgary, made my arrangements and returned to Cochrane, then rode home. The fat was in the fire! My mind was made up and I went to the Columbia Hospital on, I think, Fourth Avenue West. It was a private hospital where all the elite went as patients. While there I had the honour of nursing the famous Bob Edwards and that was a barrel of fun. One evening Bob and his great friend went out and visited the “Holy Rollers” then returned to demonstrate to us what took place, Bob had a player piano in his office home in the old Commercial Block and we young hopefuls used to enjoy playing it. I went to the newly opened Typhoid Hospital on 16th Avenue North East. 

The First World War broke out and my boyfriend, later my husband, went Overseas for what we thought would only be a short time. He was there four years. I went in training at the Calgary General Hospital and became the first Gold Medalist of the Calgary General. I was night supervisor for 16 months until I resigned to be married. My fiancé had then returned from the war and was discharge officer at Calgary Military District No. 13. We had two daughters Margaret (Peggie) Struthers MacEwan of Long Beach, California, and Vera Elizabeth, now Mrs. Luyendyk of Ottawa. Vera and her husband have two daughters, Karen and Jill. Karen has just entered University to take her B.Sc. in Nursing, thus carrying on a family tradition.

My sister Peggie only stayed on the ranch for about two years, went in training at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal and then went Overseas with the McGill Unit. After three years of war service in No. 2 Canadian General Hospital, she married and had three children, a son Cyril, a daughter Ann and a second son who was killed in action in World War II. 

My brother Andrew, now deceased, ranched around Vega, Alberta, having moved there about 40 years ago with his wife and six children, now all grown up, married and all over Canada. 

I can remember when Andrew and I chopped blocks of snow and hauled piles of them to the house for Mother to melt as the spring was low. What a lot of snow it took for a washing! 

Mother and Father moved to Cochrane and Mother’s lovely handmade furniture and rugs that had graced the ranch home were taken to their little white house in town. It was there that my dear mother passed away on November 24, 1922, at age 51. I nursed my mother until the end. Father remarried. Later I also nursed him, as I did my stepmother until they too passed on. 

There is a ridge out at the old ranch named Park Ridge from which one day I hope my grandchildren may see oil flowing. Alberta’s Centennial film “West to the Mountains” was filmed on the Park Ridge. The opening scenes and the closing scenes with Burl Ives singing the title song, West to the Mountains, show this very beautiful country where we lived with our wonderful neighbours, the Sibbalds, Copithornes, Watts, Robinsons and many more. 

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Brooks later purchased the Park’s house in Cochrane. It is now owned by Edgar Pears. 

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Peyto Family

– by Annie Kovaks pg 258 Big Hill Country 1977

In 1890 Bill Peyto came from Kent, England, to Cochrane. He took out homestead land west of Cochrane in the Montreal Valley on the SW14 30 27-5-5. When the Boer War broke out he went Overseas, then came back to the Cochrane area and took out more homestead land beside his first homestead. He kept trail and pack horses there during the winter. During the summer he did guiding and packing in the Banff area. He served Overseas in the 1914-18 War, and when he came back he joined the Warden Service in the Banff National Park. Peyto Lake is named in his honour. He passed away during the 1940s in Banff. 

Steve and Maria Peyto and family, Steve Jr., Charlie, Lily, and Annie came to Cochrane from Kent, England, in 1906. They were actually on their way to Banff but Maria Peyto stepped off the train at Cochrane. The town was under quarantine for smallpox and they wouldn’t let the Peytos back on the train, so they had to make Cochrane their stopping place. 

Steve went to work for the C.P.R. and stayed there for a number of years. He quit the railroad and went to live on a farm owned by Tom Fisher, east of the C. W. Fisher home. There they operated a dairy and shipped milk by train each day to a son in Banff, who delivered it from door to door. Steve Jr. and his brother Charlie worked for the Chapman brothers in 1910, in the construction business. Steve Jr. worked at Collins’ Brickyard for a while. 

In 1910 and 1911 Peytos ran a bakery in Cochrane. In 1923 the Peyto family left Cochrane and went to Anthracite, near Banff, to run a dairy business there. 

Bill Peyto’s homestead is now in the possession of the Griffin family.

Anthracite AB 1895 courtesy Wikipedia

Peyto Lake is the most famous lake in Banff National Park you may have heard of. It’s a turquoise blue glacier-fed lake 40 km north of Lake Louise and a popular stop on the famous Icefields Parkway. The brilliant display of blue is fed by the Peyto Glacier high above the lake and part of the Wapta Icefield.

Cameron Seagle and Natasha Alden, The Banff Blog Tweet

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Peverell Family

— by Muriel Peverell pg 258, Big Hill Country 1977

Sam and Muriel Peverell moved to Cochrane in 1939. Sam went to work for his aunt, Irene Loughery, taking over the duties of his uncle Jim Loughery who had passed away in 1938. His work included a trip north of Cochrane once a week to pick up cream in the Dog Pound and Bottrel area. In 1954 Sam purchased the creamery from his aunt and for a number of years his son, Brian helped in the creamery. 


Cochrane Creamery
Current King Solomon Lodge

Sam was active in community affairs, was Scout Master for a number of years and draw secretary of the Cochrane Curling Club. He held this position until 1964 and at that time his son, Brian, took over and remained draw secretary until 1972, then he moved to Castor, Alberta. Sam was in the Reserve Army in Cochrane during World War Two. He was a member of King Solomon Lodge (Masonic) and was secretary of the Lodge for twenty-three years. He was also Worshipful Master in 1949, and District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta in 1964. He has been a member of the Vestry of All Saints Anglican Church in Cochrane since 1940. Sam played hockey on the Cochrane Hockey Team in his earlier years. 

Muriel taught Sunday School in the United and Anglican Churches and was a member of the All Saints Anglican Church Ladies Guild. She served in office for twenty years in the Order of the Eastern Star, Zenith Chapter, and Grand Representative of the Grand Chapter of Alberta for three years. 


Muriel and Sam were Worthy Matron and Worthy Patron of Zenith Chapter in 1960. 

They have two sons and one daughter, Brian in Castor, Lloyd in Delta, British Columbia, and Kay in Toronto. They have eight grandchildren. Sam and Muriel sold the creamery and their home in Cochrane and retired to Salmon Arm, British Columbia, in March 1975. 

I've attached 3 photos of historic Cochrane to this story that are not the story in Big Hill Country. I did that because I've not read a story with as much community involvement as this one.

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Clarence and Hattie May Ullery

- by Ellen Bryant pg 417 Big Hill Country 1977 

Dad was born in Viola, Idaho, in 1886. Mother, Hattie May Shawver, was born in Aguilar, Colorado, on May 22, 1894. She was one of eleven children and was brought up to be a strict Seventh Day Adventist. On July 1, 1904, her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Shawver, moved by covered wagon to Viola, Idaho. My parents were married on September 19, 1913. They had two children, Earl Wesley (Bud), born January 1, 1915, and Amy Ellen, born August 15, 1916. 

Dad came to Canada in 1915, to Saskatchewan, but did not like it there. He returned to the United States and brought his wife and family to live at Champion, Alberta, in 1916. 

He loved grain farming and did all his work with horses. His draft horses were all well trained and he flatly refused to ever drive them off the walk. 

When he bought his first and only car, a Model T Ford, well past its prime, he soon sold it because, “It just went too fast.” 

 He would drive down the road pulling back on the steering wheel with his feet jammed on the floor boards. Bud was not too popular at the time because he could not keep from laughing. One day on the way to town, a tire came off the wheel and bounced down the road ahead of them. Dad stopped the car, jumped out, spanked Bud and told him if he hadn’t laughed it would never have happened. 

Dad was a very good farmer and raised some excellent wheat crops, but the dry years of the twenties forced him to move elsewhere. He moved with his family to the ranching area northwest of Nanton, where he worked for Jim and Charlie Dew, Walter Ings, and Arthur Crawford-Frost. 

My parents drifted apart during the Depression, and Mom and I went to Blackie, Alberta, where Mom worked for a widower, Howard Thurber, who had three young boys. Bud went to work on ranches at Havre and Browning, Montana. 


My mother and I moved to Cochrane with a team and wagon on August 15, 1931. Mom had been to Cochrane earlier in the year to look at land owned by my schoolteacher, Miss Ritchie. This land was later bought by Henri Andersen and Peter Hansen. Mom met Ed Stewart the day she came to see the land and he told her that, due to early frosts, you could not grow a good garden in that valley. A good garden was part of my mother’s life so she lost interest in that land and rented 20 acres from Dr. Waite, just across the C.P.R. tracks, south of the creamery in Cochrane. 

Determined never to accept relief during the Depression, Mom hauled log firewood with her team and wagon from the north end of Grand Valley, which was sixteen miles from Cochrane, sawed it into blocks with a crosscut saw and sold it for $5.00 a load, or in the log for $1.00 a foot measured from the front bolster of the wagon. She traded wood for animals and hay. Soon she had a collection that would compare with Noah’s Ark, but — not enough land. In case anyone wonders what became of the faithful horse that George Bunney drove on his milk route in Cochrane for so many years, well, it ended up in our corral too — and was the only horse I was ever brave enough to harness. Mom’s cow brand was a joined MA Bar and her horse brand was B Heart, the horse brand her father had used in Colorado. 

In 1933 she rented three-quarter sections of land in the Grand Valley district, W12 and NE 14 28-27-5-5, owned by Harry Parker and his son. After turning left off the Grand Valley road there was just a wagon trail leading to the buildings. The house on the Parker place was a one-roomed log house with an open ceiling. It was built in 1914 by Earl Whittle and Harry Parker Sr. There was a lot of timber on the property and the first morning we were there we could not find our milk cows. We soon bought cowbells and strapped them around the cows’ necks. 

In 1935 Dave Bryant built a log addition to the house and Mom held many parties and dances there. Often we danced until daylight as everyone had come on horseback or by team and buggy. Bud was not at home very much, but when he was he took wrestling lessons from Ace Charters, who lived on the old Hornbach place. Bud wrestled in several matches in Cochrane. If Mom got after him for something, he would just lift her up and throw her over his shoulder as if she were a rag doll. Bud married Vivienne Crane and they have three children, Bill, Jim and Heather Ann. 

After Dave Bryant and I were married we lived across the valley one mile east of Mom. In the winter she would ride over and get our children and take them home in a box on a homemade hand sleigh, which she pulled with her lariat wrapped around the saddle horn. If the weather turned too cold for us to go and get them, she was delighted, and so were they, because she would bring the Shetland colt into the house for them to play with. 

One day Andy Garson came and saw the colt in the house and I don’t think he ever got over the shock. 

Mom really liked to cook and she never worried about being short of anything. She cooked supper for my family one night and brought some corn on the cob for a special treat. I was short of saucepans and, much to her grandchildren’s delight, she cooked the corn in the teakettle. 

My dad moved to Cochrane in 1933. He worked in the hayfields both north and south of the Bow River. He worked for Paul Swanson for a number of years. 

In his later years, he lived in a one-roomed bachelor shack on Harold and Ike Griffin’s rangeland and worked in the winter cutting rails. Once, while living there, he thought he’d better investigate a noise he heard in the attic, only to find that a black bear was sleeping in the upper bunk. Dad backed down the ladder and there was no argument as to who would pay the rent. His closest neighbours were the Frank Brooks family and Jim and Joan Storey. 

In 1952, while Dad was living on the Griffin place, he collapsed due to a cerebral hemorrhage and if Joe Allen hadn’t stopped by just at the same moment, the hemorrhage would have proven fatal. Dad was in poor health for three years but made a complete recovery. 

He retired in 1956 and went to live in Calgary. He moved into the Brentwood Nursing Home in 1969 where he still resides. He will be 90 years old on October 12, 1976. His mother lived to be 103 and was never bedridden. 

I never remember my dad going to church, but he never swore, and two things he really taught me were: “Never mind what the other person is doing, just watch what you are doing yourself,” and “In a crisis, there is no time for tears.” 

Although my mother continued to live on the Parker place, it was sold in 1940 to Harold Menzies of Hammill Motors in Calgary. He sold it to my mother in 1943. In 1946 the land was sold to my husband and me. 

Mom went to cook at the a7 Ranch at Nanton, which was under the management of John Cross. Once, while cooking at the a7, she cooked dinner for several friends of the Cross family. After dinner one of the guests, Major General Worthington, head of the Western Army Command, came to the kitchen and said, “Anyone who could cook a dinner like that is certainly not going to do the dishes.” The party ended up in the kitchen, and they didn’t even leave when the kitchen was tidy. Mom also cooked for Brewsters at the Kananaskis Guest Ranch for several summers. 

Although she loved outside work and would ride miles to take part in a gymkhana, she did beautiful sewing and crocheting.

She loved to write and recite poetry. Music was written by Dutton and Coyle for one of her songs, “The End of The Trail is My Home.” A copyright was secured by Westmore Music Corporation, Portland, Oregon, in 1944. It was recorded by The Pals of the Golden West. 

My mother went back to the United States in 1952 and remarried in 1957. She passed away in 1962 and was buried in Clarkson, Washington. 



I’ve wandered all over God’s country, over desert and mountain side, 

Through the heat and the cold, vainly searching for gold, 

Out west of the Great Divide. 

I’d start out each morning at daybreak, over valley and hill and dale; 

Wherever I’d roam, I’d call it my home, 

When I’d come to the end of the trail. 




The end of the trail is my home 

No matter wherever I roam. 

Through life’s storm and gale, 

There is rest without fail, 

For the end of the trail is my home. 



There’s some I know have been lucky, in their search for gold and fame, 

Though I’ve searched far and near, in my eyes there’s a tear, 

For I’ve played a losing game. 

And now I’m tired and weary, and my eyes they begin to fail; 

I’ll find rest bye and bye, up there in the sky, 

When I come to the end of the trail.

Dog Pound Picnic, Sports Day, Stampede, Hall and Dance

-- by Dorothy J. Shand pg 426 Big Hill Country 1977

In the early 1900s, the Dog Pound Stampede or Rodeo began as a 24th of May Sunday School picnic, which was held on the flat land of the Botterell Ranch, close by the present Bottrel store. People in the surrounding area soon became very interested in visiting with their neighbours and enjoying the many events associated with horse racing and exhibition bucking horse riding, which were added to the usual foot races, jumping and games. Attendance was either on foot, horseback, or horse-drawn vehicles. 

A few years after Bottrel Store and Post Office opened, the location of the picnic was moved to the Charlie Chouinard ranch located on the NE 14 33-28-4-5. In 1912 this community event was held at the present Dog Pound Stampede grounds on the NE14 3-29-4-5. 

In 1913 the Dog Pound Hall was built and used for community affairs of all descriptions. A judges stand, which was erected near the east end of the hall, was used until the early 1930s. There was a picnic shelter attached to the north side of the hall and though it was “open-air”, it had picnic tables, and food could be purchased and eaten there. A refreshment booth, which served ice cream, candy, lemonade, and many other things, was attached to the west end of the hall. 

In the early years, the Dog Pound Picnic began at 11 a.m. and continued throughout the rest of the day and evening. Many people attend ing took a picnic lunch. Entry to the grounds was from the southeast corner up a steep hill. 

Nearly every family was involved in the sports which included all types of foot races, jumping, tug-of-war and games which started the day and were followed by horse races, stampede events and a ball game in the evening. There was a race track that circled the top of the hill at the grounds. Some of the races which required skillful riding on horseback were: tilting at the ring, egg and spoon race, threading the needle and others too numerous to mention. Competition for prizes in all events was very keen. 

Before corrals, chutes and an arena were built, bucking horses, which were wild horses unaccustomed to being handled, were snubbed to a saddle horn, blindfolded and saddled. The rider mounted, the blindfold was removed and rider and horse competed as they struggled with each other. Riders on trained horses were near in case of need or to pick the rider off if he was still on at the end of the ride. 

The Indians [sic] were an attraction with their very intricately beaded buckskin costumes and wearing very flashy paint. Their colourful tents were erected on the grounds. They conducted Indian [sic] pow-wows, demonstrated their accuracy with bows and arrows and participated in many, if not all, events. Their descendants still compete in the stampede events but they no longer display their tents. 

An announcer, using a megaphone, informed people about what was taking place. 

More recently, an electric public address system, in the announcer’s stand above the chutes at the west end of the arena, allows the announcer to give information with clarity and ease. 

In the very early years of the Dog Pound picnic, a platform was laid down for the open-air “jitney” dance which was held in the late evening. Tickets for the dance were bought at the ticket booth located near the platform, presented and collected upon entering the floor. A cement platform has replaced the original one, and, very recently, instead of buying individual tickets, a flat charge is made, a stamp placed on the hand, and the stamp shown upon entering to dance. The music has always been provided by a live orchestra. 

The Dog Pound Hall became the property of the United Farmers of Alberta who had a very active locally in the area. They had title to the 40 acres which comprised the grounds, and though the U.F.A. didn’t interfere with the management of the hall they legally owned it. This building with its excellent dance floor had served the community well but it was in need of repair. The Busy Beavers, a very active club in the area, were considering the possibility of building a new hall to replace the original one and it was decided the land should belong to the community first. After a continued effort by the local stampede board, with the capable assistance of William Bagnall, Reeve of the County of Mountain View, the U.F.A. gave up the title to this land and building. To fulfill the required regulations a registered association had to be formed to accept the title, so the Dog Pound Agricultural Society was organized. In 1965 the title was transferred but the U.F.A. reserved the oil rights. 

In 1967 the new Quonset type hall was built. The Busy Beavers Club had sponsored a number of community projects to obtain funds. They were also assisted by the Dog Pound Agricultural Society. This new hall is referred to as “the Old Dog Pound Hall” to prevent confusion with the Dog Pound Community Centre at the site which was Dog Pound School. 

In the late 1930s, the foot races and horse races were discontinued and the event became a stampede or rodeo only, which was directed by the local stampede board and commenced at 1 p.m. It was, for as many years as can be remembered now, and still is, held in July. Formerly it was nearly always held the second Wednesday after the Calgary Stampede but recently it is sometimes the first Wednesday after. 

For a number of recent years, the Dog Pound Stampede was affiliated with the Foothills Cowboy Association but has been an amateur show for the last two years. Beginning with a Grand Entry the events include saddle bronc riding bareback riding, calf roping, boys’ steer riding steer wrestling, bull riding, wild cow milking and a wild horse race. All must adhere to rules and regulations with judges and timekeepers busy. Pick up men on fast, trained horses do an excellent job as well as many helpers at the chutes and catch pens. Sometimes the prize money has to be split between contestants. 

Upon completion of the stampede, there is a ball game between two local teams in the early evening, followed by the open-air dance which continues to draw crowds from near and far. 

Concessions on the grounds featuring games of chance, booths serving refreshments, supplemented by meals served in the hall, are all part of the day. Entry to the grounds has been for many years at the southwest corner. Tickets are sold upon reaching the top of the entrance hill. 

Excerpt from Wrigley's Alberta Directory - "Bottrel – 1920

Alberta Government Telephones long distance service – 

William Bercov – Agent Rebecca Bercov – General store 

William Bercov – Postmaster.” “Bottrel – 1928-29 

A.G.T. phones – H. Pearson – agent Ed Arndt — Blacksmith Durward H. Blatchford — farmer William Houghton – trucker Wanda Huston — school teacher 

Harry Pearson – General store, garage, A.G.T. phones and Postmaster 

Patrick Spence — garage mechanic Frank Winchell – fox farm.” “Dog Pound – 1920 

A Post Office – Section 3-29-4-5. Cochrane Provincial Electoral Division. Reached by bi weekly stage from Cochrane on CPR 20 miles south. Atkins nine miles distant is nearest telephone office and has public school. Average value of land is $15. an acre – 40 farmers reside in area. Mixed farming – dairying and stock raising. A.G.T. long distance service. C. A. Grain 

– Postmaster.” “Cochrane — 1890 

Botterell – Proprietor Dog Pound Horse Ranch.”

Exciting Day at Pete Collins’ Brickyard

pg 37, A Peep into the Past Vol 1, Gordon and Belle Hall

Pete Collins’ brickyard was situated about 300 yards directly south of where the old Cochrane Ranche house sat. The house and property at that time was owned by Beynon and Davis, who operated a dairy and pig farm from 1919 until about 1948. However, the year I am writing about was the summer of 1928, which was the last summer the brickyard was in operation. 

The brick factory itself was composed of three brick kilns, 10 drying sheds, a big work shed, a steam engine and a boiler room with a high smokestack about 50 feet in the air. The three kilns were situated facing the spur railway line which crossed the road and came in so that bricks could be loaded directly from the kiln into a boxcar, and I imagine it took a few boxcars to empty a kiln. 

My father worked there also. His job was to dump the car full of clay that was pulled up out of the pit by a winch cable. The car ran on a narrow-gauge track and carried about a yard of clay. This was dumped overhead into the huge mixing machine, which looked like a huge meat grinder. At the bottom of this large machine, two or three men worked. They had moulds that had to be washed and sanded, then a man would stick it into the machine just like a modern tape going into a cassette. When it kicked out, the moulds were packed with clay. This was dumped upside down on a pallet of wooden slats, and there lay the five bricks. The pallets were then wheeled by wheelbarrow to the drying sheds, where they were placed in rows up to about five-feet high. Each shed held 5,000 bricks, 2,500 to a side. The bricks sat there for three days, and on the fourth day, my job was to turn them on edge. I could do about 1 1/2 sheds per day at $3 per shed, which amounted to about $4.50. Gloves were of no use, as a pair would wear out in about an hour, so we used strips of belting from machinery belts, 2 – 3 inches wide and cut slits for our fingers to go through. 

There was a bit of fun with a Chinese cook. It seems the men must have been tormenting him earlier. The cookshack stood close to the boiler room near the creek. Someone was throwing mud balls down the alleys and one went in the cookhouse door. Just as quickly, the Chinese cook came out with a huge carving knife, and he was ready for war, pigtail flying, screaming in Chinese. He cleared everything as he went. I ended up in a kiln, out of sight. The machinery was running, but there wasn’t a man anywhere. Finally, he ran out of wind and went back to the cookhouse. 

Redcliff, down near Medicine Hat, started to make dry-pressed bricks. They could do it faster, and cheaper, and soon put the brickyards like Collins out of business. 

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Hall Story

- by Phyllis Nicoll and Gordon Hall pg 233 Big Hill Country 1977

Our parents, Sydney (Syd) Hall and Mary Ann Smith, were married in England on October 23, 1907. They came to Canada in May 1911, crossing the Atlantic on the Lusitania. The crossing took two weeks. They had at first considered going to Australia, where some of the other family members were going. However, Dad had been in the United States before they were married, as a groom for Vanderbilts, and they decided to try their luck in Canada. 

They crossed Canada by train to Victoria, but that city did not appeal to them, so they returned to Calgary. They lived at first in what is now East Calgary, near where the stockyards are located. The police barracks were nearby, and when they arose one morning the scaffold could be seen, where a criminal had been hanged in the early morning hours. Later they moved to the Bankview district, to a stone house that is still standing. 

After living in Calgary for a few years, during which time a son, Gordon, was born, they moved to a farm in Springbank. A daughter, Doris, arrived while they lived there, during a howling blizzard that started on May 3 and raged for three days. Cattle, caught in fence corners and coulees, died in great numbers. 

In succeeding years the family moved to DeWinton and then to the Airdrie district. There, another daughter, Phyllis, was born. In April 1923, the family moved to the Cochrane district to a ranch owned by Margaret Robertson. It was located three miles west of Cochrane. The house was beside the dirt road from Calgary to Banff. A team was kept harnessed for travellers who got stuck in the mud holes, and a lighted lamp in a window of the house guided them as they came for help. We lived there one year and moved to Cochrane in the fall of 1924. 

In 1924, Dad started showing horses in the Calgary Horse Show. He had raised and shown 

Sydney Hall with Bill

horses in England for a number of years before coming to Canada. In the summer of 1925, he was a trainer for the Welsh Stables and trained Barra Lad who, in August of that year jumped to a World High Jump record of 8 feet 112 inches, a record that has never been broken. 

In 1927, Dad operated a restaurant in Cochrane; it was situated in the old bakery, which stood on the site of the building that housed the Post Office until 1974. Sometime during the winter of 1926, there was a bad blizzard; the bigger boys at the school went to the three restaurants to get sandwiches and hot chocolate for the school children. That year, the Murphy House burned down, and the following year the Fisher Block also burned. 

In 1928, the family left town and moved to the Cooper place, three miles north of town and east of the Dog Pound Road. This was at the start of the Depression, and work was hard to get. In the summer of 1928, Dad and Gordon worked at Pete Collins’ Brickyard, which was the last year that the brickyard operated. After that, they worked at any job they could get. The Cochrane Race Track was in operation then, and when the Race Horse Train arrived in Cochrane, Gordon would find some excuse to leave the room at school. He would show up at the train with his pony and lead racehorses a mile west to the barns. He was paid one dollar per head, so the old pony made as many trips as possible. Dad used to run the starting gates at the track. 

Dad worked on the road, first under George Woodson as foreman, and then under Tom Baptie. In 1936 he was elected foreman for 7 Townships. He held this job for twenty years, retiring in 1956. The equipment was all horse-drawn – slips, Fresnos and graders. It wasn’t too easy to find someone capable of handling the number of horses necessary to operate the graders effectively. Dad usually had Slim Fenton, an excellent teamster, on the grader. One day Dad was brought home lying flat on his back. The men had removed a door off a house to lie him on to move him. While pulling on the rope as he loaded a Fresno, it broke. Dad cracked vertebrae as he fell. We survived the winter with a cash income of $9.00 per month from the Compensation Board. 

Everyone in the family had to pitch in at whatever had to be done. Mother always had her flock of poultry and cultivated as large a garden as possible during those dry years. The girls had to do their share of “men’s” work. Every winter was spent fattening calves for the Spring Livestock Show and Sale. Doris won several awards for her top calves, including a silver cup for the Best Dressed Carcass donated by Burns and Company Limited. Phyllis was named top Junior Judge and won many honours in all classes of livestock judging throughout Alberta. The last year that we were eligible to show calves, the Junior Beef Club purchased calves at the stockyards at 6¢ a pound. After many months of 

tender loving care, they were sold at auction; ours brought 5¢ a pound, and other calves were even lower in price. 

Dad was noted for his veterinary skill and helped many farmers with sick horses and cattle. The only pay was a grateful thanks. 

In the 1930s, we did not have any money, but we had fun. We always attended the Grand Valley and Weedon picnics. There was often a box social at Cochrane Lakes or Weedon School. Gordon and Doris, along with Earl Speers and Harry Webb, formed an orchestra, “The Night Owls.” When a collection was taken we would end up with perhaps fifty cents apiece, but we played for fun, not money. 

In the intervening years, we lived on two other farms in the Cochrane area. In 1940 we moved back to the Jack Beynon place on the outskirts of the town. In 1950, Dad purchased ten acres of land on the west end of town and resided there until his death in 1969. Mother predeceased him in 1968. 

Phyllis married Louis Nicoll, of Jumping Pound, a member of a pioneer family in that area. Doris married Cecil Colwell, who at the time was employed by the C.P.R. Gordon married Belle Tindal, a member of another local family. 

Gordon and Belle made their home in Cochrane, after working for Harry McConachie of the Justhome Ranch for three years. They purchased a lot in the east end of Cochrane in 1946 and built their own home. Gordon worked for Graeme Broatch at the Cochrane Auto Service from 1947 until 1960. At that time he was appointed Postmaster for Cochrane and the area. 

For thirty-five years, Gordon served as a member of the Cochrane Volunteer Fire Department, from 1941 until 1975. He was Fire Chief from 1954 until 1960. He was Cubmaster, Group Commission Member and Assistant Commissioner for eighteen years, with the Boy Scouts of Cochrane. A Big Game hunter, he has many trophies to his credit. 

Belle is active in the Rebekah Lodge, and is an expert knitter, making many sweaters for family and friends. 

Gordon and Belle have four sons, Ronald G., Frank Edward (Eddie), Allan William, and Kenneth Sydney. The boys were all members of the Boy Scouts; Ron, Eddie and Allan won an Award of Merit for their action and quick thinking in a truck-train accident. They have all belonged to the Cochrane Fire Department. Allan was Fire Chief from 1970 until 1975. 

Ron is married to Faye Mickle, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bert Mickle of Millarville. They have two children, Debby and Marty. Ron completed a course in tinsmithing, passing with honours. He worked for about two years at this trade, then bought Timberline Tours Ltd. of Lake Louise, Alberta, which is a Trail Riding business, serving tourists from all parts of the world. Ron and Faye also have a farm at Sundre. 

Eddie joined the Royal Canadian Navy after completing High School. He was based on the Aircraft Carrier Bonaventure and went on manoeuvres to many parts of the world. After three years in the Navy, Eddie married Geraldine Bickerton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Art Bickerton of Ralston, Alberta. They have two children, Kevin and Kathryn. Ed became interested in flying and joined Alpine Helicopters as an apprentice Engineer. He was based in Kelowna, British Columbia and Hinton, Alberta. He is now employed by Klondike Helicopters of Calgary and is a Pilot Engineer. For the last two years, he has been flying at Resolute Bay, Banks Island and Ellesmere Island. 

Allan is married to Carol Hamilton, daughter of Nic and Margaret Hamilton of Bearspaw. They have three children, Jody, Timmy and An drew. Their oldest son, Trevor, passed away as an infant. Allan has done well in Cochrane, starting his own oil and gas business as an agent for Pacific 66. He also has a liquid feed business in conjunction with the bulk oil station. 

Ken worked as a guide at Timberline Tours, at Lake Louise, then for the Parks Department as trail crew, and later as a heavy equipment operator on road construction. He is married to Virginia Friedricks, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Friedricks of Olds, Alberta. At present they reside at Airdrie, where Ken works for Canadiana Farms.

Angus and Jean MacKenzie

pg 573 More Big Hill Country 2009

Angus MacKenzie was born and raised on the farm, NW Sec 32 Twp 25 Range 3 W5M near Cochrane on December 2, 1931. He married Jean Primrose Craig on October 22, 1960, at St. Andrew’s United Church in Cochrane. 

Jean is the only daughter, born July 27, 1930, to Ernest John H. Craig (1899-1975) and Grace (Hedgelong) Craig (1898-1975) who was born in Ashford Kent, England. Ernest and Grace met during WWI in England. Ernest was serving overseas in the Canadian Army. They married in Calgary on February 17, 1920. Jean had 2 older brothers. 

Angus and Jean MacKenzie took over the Norman MacKenzie dairy herd in 1971. It was a 365 day a year job, but it brought in a good steady income. With the use of AI (artificial insemination) and the Dairy Herd Improvement programs, a good Holstein dairy herd was obtained. In August 1985, the dairy herd and quota was sold to a new owner north east of Camrose. Angus and Jean started a Hereford, red Angus beef herd. 

Angus and Jean have a family of four children and ten grandchildren. They live on the original family farm. 

Craig Angus, born in 1961, married Fay Der, August 18, 1990. They have a son Duncan Craig, born in 1994 and a daughter Emily Jade, born in 1998. The family lives in Scenic Acres in northwest Calgary. 

Susan Jean, born 1962, married Harvey Fedor in 1987. They have three daughters; Teghan Rae born in 1993, Kye Nicole, born in 1995 and Matraya Natasha born in 1997. 

Catherine Grace, born 1963, married David Griffiths in 1988. They have three children; Alexa Simone born in 1998 in Short Hills, New Jersey, USA, Mitchell born in 2000, in Houston, Texas and Chatham, born in 2004, in Calgary, Alberta. 

John Norman, born 1965 married Michelle Kuhn in 1996. They have two children; Thomas Angus, born in 1999 and Julianna Grace born in 2002. The family lives on the Horse Creek Road N.W. of Cochrane. 

Angus and Jean’s children attended Cochrane schools grades 1 to 12. The children also received post-secondary education. Craig, 1980-1984, Alberta College of Art; Susan, Accounting and Business Management; Catherine, University of Calgary Master’s Degree in Environmental Design and John graduated from the Olds School of Agriculture. 

Jean and Angus are active volunteers in their community. Jean is a long-time member of the Glendale W.I. and Cochrane Legion Ladies Auxiliary. Angus is a Bearspaw Lions Club 30 year member. Angus and Jean are members of (C.H.A.P.S.) Cochrane Historical Archival Preservation Society and Members of the Old Time Cochrane District Fair.

In 1963, Retired Rev. L.L. “Dick” Gaetz approached George Dutchik, who was the custodian of the historic McDougall Stoney Mission Church, regarding the commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of this landmark church settlement. They decided on two murals to be located on each side of the church pulpit. George approached Angus and the desired size was 2 panels each 4 feet by 8 feet. It was left up to Angus to decide what the murals would be. Quite a challenge. A lot of research was required, reading and a visit to Glenbow Museum. 1863 was before Fort Calgary, which was built in 1875, the Canadian Pacific Railway didn’t reach Calgary until 1883. It took Angus more than a year to complete the mural. The project started from scratch; stretching the canvas on home-built frames, doing the artwork then completing the finished works with rustic picture frames to match the historic church decor. Jean draped in a Hudson Bay Blanket posed as a Stoney Nakoda woman during drawing and painting of the work. 

Billy Laidlaw

William Joseph Billy" Laidlaw pg 556 More Bill Country 1994

William’s (Billy) parents, Joseph Keith and Jane Laidlaw were born near Edinburgh, Scotland. They travelled to Canada in 1892, settling west of Carstairs, where they worked on the Hickling Ranch. Several years later they moved south to homestead. They chose a site at the north end of a lake and Joseph named it Lochend, meaning lake’s end. The original property can now be reached by travelling 12 miles north of Highway 1A on Lochend Road. 

Billy was born in Cochrane in 1904 in “a little log house that was somebody’s private residence.” The building served as a hospital and stood where the Grahams Pharmacy building now stands. Mrs. Dicky Smith was the midwife at his birth. 

Some of Billy’s earliest memories are of school. However, there was no school in Lochend when Laidlaw’s first moved there. The first public building to be built was a church. Then in 1912, the Lochend area experienced rapid growth making the school a necessity. A decision was made to use the church as a school during the week. This caused hard feelings among the older folks, who objected to the church being used in this manner. However, classes commenced for grades 1 through 8. Only one teacher was required for the 15 pupils who attended. Usually, the teacher only stayed one year. The only way the government could get teachers to teach at rural schools was to require them to do so for their certification. When one year was up most moved to schools in Calgary or other towns. Billy remembered that in winter, it was not uncommon for one or two adults to attend school with the children. These were people who had never received any formal education but were eager to improve their reading and writing skills.

The Laidlaw ranch encompassed two sections straddling the Lochend Road. The buildings were constructed of logs and were clustered at the north end of the lake. The family home served as the post office for many years. Billy worked on the ranch from an early age but did have an aptitude for mechanics. He was offered a job working at Chapman’s Garage in Cochrane, but he decided to stay on the ranch. 

He remembered the depression years, how grain prices tumbled after the boom period following WWI. At one point farmers received $0.34 a bushel for wheat, cattle sold for $2.75 a hundredweight and a front quarter could be purchased for $0.05 a pound. Cochrane was not hit as hard as some communities that relied solely on grain sales. Cochrane had always enjoyed a mixed farming economy. Also, Cochrane had a creamery that provided an outlet for milk production. In many cases, the only money with which farmers could buy groceries was earned from the sale of milk. 

Cochrane also had the Clark Butcher Shop. Andy Clark’s shop sold a lot of meat and eggs to restaurants and hotels in Banff. This gave Cochrane area farmers and ranchers an outlet for their produce. 

As years passed the Lochend community petered out. Many young people moved away to homestead on their own. Some properties were purchased by ranchers wishing to enlarge their holdings. A few properties were lost when young couples were unable to pay their mortgage. But through all this Billy remained. He was never married. When asked why he replied that he had never been much interested in girls. He also named several young people who grew up in the Lochend area who never married. He concluded that for some reason, Lochend was not a “marrying district.” 

In 1953, Billy purchased a lot on Pope Avenue in Cochrane and set up a small house. On and off he did live in this house but mostly rented it out to various people until in 1970 he decided to retire. He sold part of his ranch to the Williamson family who had worked for him. Williamsons’ rented the remainder of the land. After working hard all his life, Billy found retirement didn’t really suit him, so he would go out to help on the ranch whenever he could. Then for a few years in the winter, he took on the job of caretaker of the Cochrane Curling Rink that was on the main street next to the United Church. Looking back on his life, Billy considered himself pretty lucky. He was surprised to think of all the changes he had seen over the years, but he had no complaints. He felt that life had been pretty good. Billy Laidlaw passed away in July 1986 and rests in the Cochrane Cemetery. 

Curling Rink W Laidlaw (caretaker), Unknown, E Davies

Gilbert family

pg 461 More Big Hill Country 1994

The Gilbert family came to Canada in 1908 from York, Nebraska. O.N. Gilbert, who later owned a good deal of land in the Cochrane area, was an agent for the Rumley Company, builders of steam-powered tractors. Newt was less than a year old when they moved to the Calgary area. 

Newt grew up in the Calgary and Rosebud areas. The family lived in Mount Royal, but O.N. and his brothers had a real estate business and owned farmland near Rosebud. After attending school in Calgary, and then military school in California, Newt tried to enlist in the Canadian army when WWII broke out but was turned down for health reasons. He went to the U.S. and enlisted in the U.S. Army. While serving at Fort Douglas, Salt Lake City, Utah, he met Betty Lou Millikin who worked for the Quartermaster Corps. She was born in Montana and grew up in Montana and Utah. She had taught school in the state of Washington and then returned to Salt Lake City. After a very short courtship, they were married in November of 1942. 

When the war ended, Newt and Betty Lou came to Canada and lived in the Calgary, Rosebud and Drumheller areas before moving to Cochrane. Newt’s younger brother, Dick and his wife Evaline, and their three sons, Mike, Terry and Tim, had lived on the ranch at Cochrane. In the early 1950’s they moved to California. 

Bruce was born in July 1947 and spent nine years on the Drumheller farm. Betty Lou had returned to teaching at the junior high school in Drumheller, while Newt farmed. Bad weather and hailed-out crops had made grain farming very tough. 

When O.N. passed away in the spring of 1956, Newt, Betty Lou and Bruce moved to the Cochrane area to take over the ranch. The Drumheller farm was sold. They lived in Mrs. Moore’s house in town until their house on the Cochrane Ranche was finished in the summer of 1957. This house is now used as the interpretive center for the Cochrane Ranche Historic Site. 

The Gilbert ranch operation covered a lot of area. Part of the summer pasture was a large crown grazing lease in the Wildcat Hills. The family enjoyed many summers staying at the cow camp in Big Coulee. 

Gilbert Ranch 1950 formerly Cochrane Ranche

Betty Lou taught at various schools in Cochrane, including the original High School, Andrew Sibbald and the new High School built on Cochrane Heights. She retired from teaching in 1974 from the position of principal. Newt looked after the ranch operation and Bruce became involved as time went on. After her retirement from teaching in 1974, Betty Lou was elected school trustee and served three terms as the representative for Cochrane. 

Through the years Newt and Betty Lou were active in the community. They belonged to the Masonic Lodge and Order of the Eastern Star. Both belonged to the Curling Club. Betty Lou was a Job’s Daughter and belonged to P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) where she held every office on the Provincial Board except corresponding secretary. 

In 1969 Newt and Betty Lou were instrumental in the formation of the Cochrane Foothills Protective Association. This organization was formed to help the RCMP and the rural community deal with issues such as trespassing, theft and vandalism and to present a united front in dealings with oil and gas exploration companies. This association still exists and operates as the Cochrane Rural Crime Watch. Bruce has been a director for over 20 years. This organization was the beginning of the Rural Crime Watch in Alberta. 

After graduation from Cochrane High School in 1965, Bruce attended the University of Alberta, first in Calgary then in Edmonton. There he met Susan Mather who had grown up in Edmonton and Calgary 

They were married in August 1968. After graduating from U of A in 1969 they returned to Cochrane. Bruce became a full-time rancher and Sue worked at the Calgary General Hospital as a physiotherapist. 

In 1972 the Alberta Government purchased the Cochrane Ranche site. Highway 22 was built and a part of the ranch became the Cochrane Ranche Provincial Historic Site. Bruce and Sue moved to the land known as the “960” north on the Horse Creek Road. 

Bruce and Sue have two children. Cindy was born in June 1973 and Scott in October 1975. Both graduated from Cochrane High School. Cindy is single and lives in Edmonton where she works for Urban Systems Inc.,  Scott married Diana Dickenson from Hope, British Columbia. He has worked in landscaping and equipment rentals and is currently apprenticing as an electrician. He and Diana live near Eagle Hill and have one daughter, Linde. 

Bruce has ranched ever since graduation from U of A Sue stayed home to raise the children and then went to work for the Cochrane Health Unit as a Home Care Physiotherapist. She still has that position with the Calgary Health Region. They are hoping retirement is in the near future. 

Newt passed away suddenly in March 1976. Betty Lou sold the last of the ranch property at Cochrane to the Alberta Government for the Cochrane Ranche Provincial Historic Site and she moved into town. She lived on Cochrane Crescent in one of the houses first built on top of the hill. In 2001 health concerns made it wise for her to move to the Bethany Care Center in Cochrane where she was very active and busy. 

The Cochrane Ranche Hands presented Betty Lou with the Women of Vision Award in 2003 for her devotion. work and volunteer teaching contributions to the Ranche. She passed away on September 14, 2005, at the age of 90 years. 

Giles Family

pg 463 More Big Hill Country 1994

John Henry (Jack) Giles purchased land in the Cochrane area in 1957 from the Gallelli family. Every summer they pastured cows and calves there, trailing them from the home place near Shephard. They went right through the city of Calgary, up 14th Street, along 24 avenue NW. They stopped at the Spy Hill Jail farm overnight and continued the rest of the way the next day. Eventually, the cowherd stayed at Cochrane year-round.

As time went by more land was purchased and in 1969 the family moved to E Sec 17 Twp 27 Range 3 W5M which had been purchased from Walter Hutchinson. At this time the family consisted of Jack, his two daughters Thora and Joan, his son Merv and Merv’s wife Claudia Giles and their children Charlene, Carrie and Clint. The children attended Westbrook School then Cochrane High School. The Giles families continued to farm and ranch on both the Cochrane and Calgary properties until 1984 when the last of the Calgary property was sold. 

Jack passed away in 1975 at the age of 86 years. He was buried in Burnsland Cemetery, Calgary, beside his wife Jessie who had passed away in 1939. 

Merv and his sister Thora still continue to farm and ranch, raising mostly cattle feed for the commercial beef cow herd. Over the years, the Hereford X Charolais cow herd has evolved to almost a complete Black Angus herd. 


In 1981, while driving through the USA for their 25th anniversary, Mery and Claudia visited some miniature horse farms and came home with three weanling foals. The miniature horses have been a wonderful hobby for the whole family over the past 26 years. Merv and Claudia have participated in parades every summer for UFA for 20 years with an eight-horse Miniature Horse Hitch. They enjoy driving and seeing the country and meeting people so the parades have been a lot of fun. 

As well as helping on the farm and ranch, especially with the cattle, Merv’s sister Thora also did the farm books for many years. 

Jack’s daughter Joan married Elwood Delorme, of Calgary, in 1996 and they live in Calgary. 

Merv and Claudia’s daughter Charlene married Stephen Gale, of Calgary, in 1979 and they have three children: Kendra, John and Michael. All three children attended Westbrook School and Cochrane High, like their mother. They enjoy showing the miniature horses, both at breed shows and through 4-H. The Gale family lives on the SW Sec 6 Twp 27 Range 3 W5M on the old “Cairns” place. 

Merv and Claudia’s second daughter Carrie is a medical lab tech who worked at Grace Women’s Hospital before it closed and now works at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, preparing labs for the Lab tech students. She lives at the home place. 

Mery and Claudia’s son Clint married Glenda Roth, of Burstall, Saskatchewan in 1990 and they have three children: Randi-Lyn, Cole and Taylor. The children show beef cattle at 4H and Junior Livestock Shows. They live at the home place where the whole family assists Mery and Thora with the continuing operation of the ranch.

Taylor family

By Lyle Taylor More Big Hill Country pg 748 2009


Sykes and Annie Taylor were married in the McDougall Church at Morley on December 25, 1893, by the Reverend John M. McDougall. 

Sykes and Annie Taylor marriage certificate 1893

In 1898, they purchased the SW Sec 14 Twp 25 Range 4 W5M, from O.J. Mickle and in 1899 they took out a homestead on the NW Sec 14 Twp 25 Range 4 W5M. 

Mickle bill of sale 1898

They raised six children: Laura, Mable, Marjorie, Leslie, Ann and George, who was my father. 

In 1937, George married Ida Nelson from Eckville, Alberta and continued farming on the Taylor family farm where they had two children Joyce and myself, Lyle. 

Joyce married Bernard Barkley from the west Springbank area where they took over the family farm. They raised four children (Shelley, Melvin, Sandra and Carrie) here before they moved to the Stettler area in 1973 and still reside there. 

I grew up on the family farm and went to school at the local country school, Brushy Ridge, for nine years. I then went to Crescent Heights High School in Calgary before I came home to work with my mother on the farm. My Dad passed away in 1991 and my mother in 1997. 

I married Brenda Wabel from Cochrane in 1967. Brenda worked in the Royal Bank in Cochrane right after High School and then transferred to Calgary so we lived in Calgary for the first 2 years and I commuted from Calgary to the farm until we built our own home on the NW Sec 14 Twp 25 Range 4 W5M, grampa’s homestead. 

Bradley was born in October 1970 and Russell was born in January 1975. Bradley now lives in Calgary and works in the computer department of Telus. 

I went to work at the Shell Jumping Pound Gas Plant in 1975 and remained there until 1990. 

In 1998, Brenda and I sold the quarter we lived on and purchased a farm 20 miles north of Sangudo, Alberta, 85 miles NW of Edmonton. Brenda passed away on December 20, 2000. 

Taylor interim homestead receipt 1898

In October 2002, Russell married Lindsay Robertson, oldest daughter of Bruce and Darci Robertson of the Bottrel area. 

In 2003 they decided they would like to move to a beautiful ranching area, three-quarters of an hour west of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in the Mont Nebo area so I sold the farm in Sangudo and purchased the ranch in Saskatchewan. They moved to that ranch and I moved back to the original home in Cochrane/Brushy Ridge. Russell and Lindsay have two children, Cooper and Harley.

Related reading

Railway once a big part of town life

from A Peep into the Past by Gordon and Belle Hall Vol. 1 pg 50

The railway running across the land and through the mountains was the lifeline of the land, before the railways we had stagecoaches, bull trains and pack strings. Cochrane was one of the villages that depended almost entirely on the railroad, along with dozens of other villages, towns and cities. 

Thursday was weigh freight day, and at about 10 A.M. she was due; a small engine and two or three cars of goods for Cochrane and points west. Walter Aris was the dray man (teamster) for many years, so he and his dray and team would be at the station. Carcasses of beef, pork and lamb arrived for the two butcher shops, owned by E. Andison and Andy Clarke. The grocery store goods were shipped in boxes or crates, mostly made of wood; flour in sacks and bananas in crates. The station had a fair-sized storeroom where goods from mail-order houses to residences were kept. People were notified by card in the mail when these arrived. Coal came in by boxcar and was unloaded into coal sheds alongside the track. The UGG Elevator Co. had coal and also Frank Whittle Implement Co., and if the people knew you wanted a load of coal, they would phone you and you could come to town and get it off the car and could save fifty cents to one dollar a ton. Men used to get fifteen dollars for unloading the car, which was just fifty cents per ton. 

The steam engines the CPR used were of various sizes and shapes and burned coal until in the 1930s the engines were converted to fuel oil. In the coal-burning days, when the engines pulling the big freights stopped here for water, the fireman of the engine would clean out his firebox and grates and there would be a huge pile of ashes and clinkers to be hauled off by the section men. They did this with wheelbarrows and planks. The smaller engines pulled the way freight and passenger trains and the famous Silk train, when a boatload of silk arrived in Vancouver harbour, it had to cross Canada to the eastern provinces to be manufactured into cloth, and because it was perishable, the silk had priority over everything, passenger trains and all. 

We used to find out from Gainor, the agent, when she was due here, then stand on the platform. She was doing a cool 70 mph and there was noise dust, cinders and steam flying. We, as kids, thought it was great. When trains were travelling through, without stopping, orders were relayed to the engineer by the stationmaster with a stick, with about a 2-foot loop at one end with a clip to hold the written orders, the station man would stand alongside the track and the engineer would catch the stick on his arm, take off the order and toss the stick onto the platform. The late F.L. Gainor was stationmaster for a considerable length of time at Cochrane Station. Section foremen I remember were Fred Grabas and Steve Matkoluk. 

When the depression hit at the beginning and during the 1930s, hundreds of men rode on the freight trains, men looking for any kind of work, hungry and dirty with old clothes on and a bundle with their worldly wealth. There were so many railway police who usually left them alone. Here in Cochrane, if the mounties’ woodpile was low, he would arrest a couple of men riding a freight, get them to cut him some wood, buy them a meal and turn them loose. 

In the late 30s and early 40s, the train engines were converted to oil, doing away with the cinder piles and the clean-up of cinders along the track. However, the handwriting was on the wall, so to speak, and soon the steamer was discarded for the modern diesel engine. The diesels moved the trains cheaper and with less effort, but like everything else, it took the romance out of railroading. 

The last mail to go by train from Cochrane was in August 1964, and since then, goes by truck. The Cochrane Station is long gone, the CPR just dug holes with bulldozers and pushed it in and buried it. 

Last Mail bag from Tim Hall

Related reading

Dare leads to first flight

from a Peep into the Past by Godon and Belle Hall Vol. 1 pg 48

The earliest I can remember planes around Cochrane was in the middle 1920s. Race week in the summer, planes would bring race-fans to the races. They would land and take off from the polo field which was east of the race track and had no cars or other traffic near it. There would be monoplanes, biplanes, an assortment of makes and models. People used to say that most of them came up from the States. 

Then Freddie McCall used to land at Cochrane and take people up for a flight. I had my first flight in 1937 at the old Calgary airport. My brother-law, Pete Tindal, went up at the same time, daring one another, of course. It cost us $5 each for 15 minutes and we went up in a beat-up Tiger Moth biplane, outside cockpits, with lots of noise and oil, dripped on me from the engine, as you sat almost under it. 

Tiger Moth By Towpilot - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Airplanes were more numerous during the second world war as Calgary was a training base at Currie Field. The pilots would fly low and buzz everything they could find. They found Andy Sharpes’ fox pens about five miles west of Cochrane on the Bow River. Sharpe got quite riled about this as the foxes were so scared, they would eat their young. There was a cable strung across the river close to Sharpe’s with a bosun’s chair attached. This cable was to let people pull themselves across the river. Seems an Anson bomber was right down on the water of the river, flying west, when it hit this cable. The impact spilled the plane into the north bank, killing the two men aboard. Today you can see the stone cairn west of Cochrane on the south side of the road. The two crewmen were Reginball and Chase. Chase was an American and his folks had the cairn erected. 

Avro Anson

There was another bad accident near Weedon when the tail fell off a Harvard trainer. The plane came straight down about a thousand feet, killing both occupants. 

In the late forties and early fifties, Cochrane had a little flying club. The hanger sat where the Bethany Care Centre is now. The club had an Aeronca Cub airplane and some of the members were Eustace Bowhay, W Andison Jr. and Robbie and Barbara Webb. Many a Cochrane and district resident had a ride in the little Aeronca. One winter day I was going to fly with Robbie Webb. We had skis on the plane but couldn’t get it off the ground as there was too much snow, so we went and had a look at the riverbank. There were no obstructions, so we headed the plane for the bank and took off over the river. it was fun.

By Ahunt at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Common Good

Aeronca C-2 at Canadian Aviation and Space Museum

Related reading

  1. Bomber Command Museum of Canada
  2. Aeronca C-2 Aeronca Aircraft Wikipedia
  3. Tiger Moth biplane on Wikipedia

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. 

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