Cochrane Legacy Statue

March is Women’s History Month. In light of that, I thought I’d research the “Chicken Lady” statue on main street Cochrane. Certainly not a complete list, the friends and families of 40 women had their names added to the base of the statue.

The sculptors are Don & Shirley Begg and the statue cast by Studio West here in town.

A Project of the Cochrane Centennial Celebrations Society. Unveiled June 17, 2003.  On the occasion of Cochrane’s 100th Birthday

A tribute to the women of character and perseverance who have built and nurtured the social fabric of our community. Those whose names are inscribed in the base have been so honored by the contributions of their families and friends. They represent generations of women whose hard work laid the foundation for the life of this community.

The project was also made possible by the contributions of the Cochrane and District Community Foundation, Fred Whittle, and the Cochrane Rotary Club.

Sculptors Don & Shirley Begg created this bronze statue of a woman feeding chickens as a tribute to prairie farm women. The original statue, “Egg Money”, is in Fish Creek Provincial Park, Calgary, Alberta. It includes the figures of a boy and a girl. This statue, and a second one in Saskatoon, are based on Egg Money.

Names are impressed into the base of the statue:

Violet DesJardins

Rose McGonigle

Eleanor (McArthur) Berwick

Sarah (Ellis) Edge

Mabel Robena Turner

Gertrude Copithorne

Annabelle (Quigley) MacKay

Mildred Camden

Helen Scott

Mary Crowe

Edith (Callaway) Towers

Annie Beynon

Jemima "Mamie" Callaway

Lady Adela Cochrane

Janet (Johnston) Sibbald

Amy Begg

Letha Whittle

Susanna Nagy

Ethel Margaret (Munro) Crawford

Bertha Harbidge

Ida (Brodie) Edge

Christine Jacobs

Glendale Women's Institute est 1925

Winnie Wearmouth

Emily Lathwell

Yvonne Callaway

Sophia Beynon

Flora Garson

Vernice (Towers) Wearmouth

Marjorie Spicer

Ellen (Ullery) Bryant

Christina Smith MacKay

Jessie Louise Bateman

Isobel (Allan) Fenton

Alice Miriam Callaway

Betty (Hanes) Birchall

Claudia Edge

Nan Boothby



Cochrane Today has an article on the original model for the statue here.

Cochrane 2003 Centennial Calendar

One of the treasures we recently received from Edith Edge is a calendar from not too long ago.  It’s a calendar from Cochrane’s 100th anniversary. Produced by the Centennial Committee assisted by the Town Of Cochrane and CHAPS it contains some fascinating information about our history.

We’ll give an overview here and each month display the calendar from that month on our social media pages.

Click image for larger view

There are so many changes since 2003.  It’s also nice to place what used to exist with what exists now! The Murphy Hotel sat where the Royal Bank is now.

Click image for larger view

Cochrane became a village in 1903.

1908 A small pox epidemic caused isolation tents to be setup near the river.

1909 Davies house built that became first hospital.

2002 Population at census 12,074


Recovering from the flood, Looking forward

Our exhibits this summer are really coming together. We cant wait to show you.

All our exhibits will reflect how horses impacted the growth of our town. We’re certain well have some facts that you didn’t know.

This past year has been a challenge with 2 floods of the Cochrane Ranche. The Museum is put back together but we’re still working on restoring or replacing some of our exhibits. Here is a slide show that shows our progress.


Famous Cochrane Horses

Article by: Tim Collard & Mark Boothby

This article was published in the Cochrane Times March 4th, 2020

CHAPS exhibits at the Cochrane Historical Museum for the 2020 season will be on the impact of horses on the town and area. From the practical use of horses to horse racing, polo, steeplechase, rodeo and serving in World War 1 many famous horses were raised in the area. This article focuses on race horses and will be the first of several. Photos courtesy of the Glenbow Archives.

“The Dude”:

Owned by D.W. Kerfoot, The Dude won one of the first recorded horse races in Cochrane. In 1891, W.D. Kerfoot and his brother-in-law, William Bell-Irving, competed in a match race which Kerfoot won by a nose. The Dude was the first of many Kerfoot horses to win races in Cochrane.


Purported to be the first thoroughbred in the North West Territories (then comprising Alberta and Saskatchewan) Konrad (sometimes spelled Conrad) was imported from England by the Bow River Horse Ranch around 1886. Konrad and another horse called Moss Trooper were the first thoroughbred sires used in the Cochrane District.

“Dixie Land”:

Dixie Land was another Kerfoot horse. In 1895, Kerfoot won races at both the Cochrane and Mitford race meet and the Calgary race meet onboard Dixie Land. The horse would go on to win races across the continent, including in Winnipeg and San Francisco before eventually being sold and shipped to Australia where it continued to win races on the Australian racing circuit.


Cyclone was bred by G.E. Goddard of the Bow River Horse Ranch and was the offspring of another famous horse imported by the Bow River Horse Ranch, “Juryman” who had won the Belmont Stakes before being imported to the Cochrane area. Goddard raced Cyclone as a two-year-old before selling him to A.J. Murphy of Cochrane in the 1890s, Cyclone and Dixie Land were the most famous racehorses in the West. Cyclone won almost every race he entered, with victories in Cochrane, Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Grand Forks, ND, and Windsor. Sporting Murphy’s green and gold silks, Cyclone was one of the most successful horses to come out of the Cochrane area.


Another famous Cochrane horse, Smokey, owned by D.P. McDonald, was famous for his jumping ability. In 1914, at the Calgary Horse Show, 17-year-old Smokey set a record for the highest jump by an Alberta bred horse when he cleared a seven-foot hurdle with Cochrane boy, Percy Sawtell, riding him. This was Smokey’s last public appearance and his record stood until 1925. Though Smokey rose to prominence under the ownership of D.P. McDonald, Smokey was bred on the Kerfoot ranch before being sold to D.P. McDonald.

Remembering Library Founders

Once called the Nan Boothby Memorial Library, now the Cochrane Public Library, CHAPS held a meeting last night to gather information on the original volunteers who established and maintained the Library.

Thanks to Fay Lewis, David Beatty and Gordon Davies who gave their families history of how the library came into being, why it was so vital to a small community and how a group of volunteers gave it life. 


David Beatty, Fay Lewis, Gordon Davies

Our goal is to put together a history for the Museum as well as to present the information to the Library Board in April.

Signage when called the Nan

Pat Hutchinson Interview

CHAPS is searching for family histories before those memories are lost. We are attempting to record family stories in 5-10 minute videos.

If you’d like to participate please get in touch.

Pat has provided us with interesting photos of the Hutchinson and Perrenoud homesteads north of Cochrane. We’ll put this information in a video in the future.

Thresher at Perrenoud's
Steel wheeled tractor

Cochrane Cafe

I came across this menu from the Cafe on my desk this morning. The Cafe was such a Cochrane favourite that I want to share. I’ll also see if the Museum wants it as an artifact. The menu was from February 2015. Interesting that the directions are from Mackay’s.

Getting off the ranch for a meal, even one so close as ours was a real treat. I can’t imagine how many Ginger Beef and fried rice I had.

Grand Valley Steeplechase

It is written about on page 54 of the Big Hill Country.  We are interested in more details of the steeplechase,  but also would like to see if we can get the “Presidents Trophy” for inclusion in the equine exhibit next summer.
We’ve heard the “Presidents Trophy” may be held by Tim Lawrence who was once living on a ranch east of Red Deer.  
If you have a story about the Grand Valley Steeplechase or know of the whereabouts of the Trophy, please give us a call at 587-777-6926 
Steeplechase at Cochrane - photo courtesey Glenbow Archives

Does Research interest you?

CHAPS can use your help. Just get in touch.

Cochrane Lions Rodeo History

Cochrane Lions and CHAPS held a joint event at the Cochrane History Museum last night. The topic was about the history of the Cochrane Lions Rodeo which has been a local favourite since the mid-60s.

Thanks to Ted Westerson and Keith Garner for their wonderful stories of the rodeo and Cochrane.

Cochrane Lions have allowed us to copy the photos used. Ask if you’d like to take a closer look.

Team Roping

Cochrane Ranche Photo Gallery

Larry Want received some photos of the Cochrane Ranche and area from the Stockmen’s. We had them on display at our Christmas celebration. We’ve scanned them and made them available here.

The feature photo is one of the few I’ve seen of the Cochrane Ranche herd. (1882/83)

All photos courtesy of Glenbow Archives.

The photos are:

  1. Bow River Ranch Dining Room
  2. John Beams 12 miles north of Cochrane
  3.  Grand Stand 
  4. Howard Chapman’s General Store 1904
  5. Rev. Wood Sam Wigmire Morley late 1800’s
  6. Picnic Grand Valley Kerfoots mounted
  7. Main Street 1890
  8. Cochrane no year listed

Has Harry become a “Remittance Man?”

Of course not. Although, the current headlines made me smile when I jokingly drew the similarity to earlier times. There was a time before W.W. 1 when British families sent wayward sons to Canada and paid them a monthly stipend.

Remittance Man, a term once widely used, especially in the West before WWI, for an immigrant living in Canada on funds remitted by his family in England, usually to ensure that he would not return home and become a source of embarrassment.

John Colombo - The Canadian Enclycopedia Tweet

I remember stories from Dad about local remittance men. It sounded as though they led very interesting lives. 

The following poem confirms that some of their lives were better for it.

There's a four-pronged buck a-swinging in the shadow of my cabin, And it roamed the velvet valley till to-day; But I tracked it by the river, and I trailed it in the cover, And I killed it on the mountain miles away. Now I've had my lazy supper, and the level sun is gleaming On the water where the silver salmon play; And I light my little corn-cob, and I linger, softly dreaming, In the twilight, of a land that's far away. Far away, so faint and far, is flaming London, fevered Paris, That I fancy I have gained another star; Far away the din and hurry, far away the sin and worry, Far away — God knows they cannot be too far. Gilded galley-slaves of Mammon — how my purse-proud brothers taunt me! I might have been as well-to-do as they Had I clutched like them my chances, learned their wisdom, crushed my fancies, Starved my soul and gone to business every day. Well, the cherry bends with blossom and the vivid grass is springing, And the star-like lily nestles in the green; And the frogs their joys are singing, and my heart in tune is ringing, And it doesn't matter what I might have been. While above the scented pine-gloom, piling heights of golden glory, The sun-god paints his canvas in the west, I can couch me deep in clover, I can listen to the story Of the lazy, lapping water — it is best. While the trout leaps in the river, and the blue grouse thrills the cover, And the frozen snow betrays the panther's track, And the robin greets the dayspring with the rapture of a lover, I am happy, and I'll nevermore go back. For I know I'd just be longing for the little old log cabin, With the morning-glory clinging to the door, Till I loathed the city places, cursed the care on all the faces, Turned my back on lazar London evermore. So send me far from Lombard Street, and write me down a failure; Put a little in my purse and leave me free. Say: "He turned from Fortune's offering to follow up a pale lure, He is one of us no longer — let him be." I am one of you no longer; by the trails my feet have broken, The dizzy peaks I've scaled, the camp-fire's glow; By the lonely seas I've sailed in — yea, the final word is spoken, I am signed and sealed to nature. Be it so.
Robert W. Service
The Rhyme of the Remittance Man

Intro to Cochrane Ranche Archaeology

Through our collaboration with the Stockmen’s Association we came across photos of the archaeological dig at the Ranche summer of 1977.

It’s very exciting to see these photos. We’ll dig deeper into the results in a future blog. For now, here are just a small sample.

The Ranche was nearly 4 Townships in size

Cochrane Ranche is an important historic site in Western Canada. As the first attempt at a large-scale ranching operation, the ranch may have provided only modest returns for its investors; but for Western Canada the experimentation and developments encouraged more ranching that was to provide a foundation for the future. -

Roderick Heitzmann​ - Author of Study Tweet
The bunkhouse and Managers residence were studied

Thousands of artifacts were recovered. The dig was summarized in the following document.

Luggage Cart Renos complete

This year CHAPS received what we suspect is a luggage cart that was used at the Cochrane CPR Train Station. Wayne Hilland ran a garage that was just across the street from the train station and likely rescued the cart before the station was demolished.

CHAPS members Mike Taylor and Lonnie Basiuk took on the task of restoration.

We will be placing the cart outside of the museum sometime in May or June.

Lonnie Basiuk & Mike Taylor (L-R)

When we looked at the cart back in November, we figured it was original because the wood was worn and there was lichen growing on the deck but it wasn't. We know it wasn't the original because of the hardware and the screws that were used,

The 4 by 4’s are hardwood and likely from Eastern Canada. We believe they are original.

Approximately 100 hours of restoration were required to take the cart apart, sand blast the original parts, replace and rebuild the cart. Many of the original parts were re-used. The wheels, lower undercarriage and trim are original. 

Reconstruction took place in the Want Quonset during November and December. Mike was hopeful Reno’s would have taken a week but it required striping down and replacing parts. They were hopeful we could sand the trim but we had to sandblast at a place called Consolidated Compressor. We completed the sandblasting in 2.5 hours.

We did find a number on there, 2414.

The metal was primed then  painted with “Tuscany Red”. This colour closely matches the original. 

We think that baggage carts for CP and CN were constructed by the same manufacturer. We’ve tried to track down these numbers. When you think of it every station had one of these carts. We think the cart came from the late 1800’s, early 1900’s due to the square bolts used. We need to get into places like Heritage Park to do more research.

Mike figures with all the construction materials the cart weighs in a three quarters of a ton and yet when you pick it up it moves just beautifully. It’s got big wide wheels so it doesn’t fall into cracks. It’s extremely well designed.

Cost of renovations was just under $1000.00

Chain hanging is part of braking system
Hitch can be locked in upright position

The Cart was offered to CHAPS by the family of Wayne Hilland. We are grateful for this addition to our exhibit. We are planning on placing the cart outside of the Cochrane Historical Museum, spring of 2020. We will let you know the date of the dedication.

Would you like to get involved in CHAPS?

We need help doing research, organizing events, memberships and social media.

Merry Christmas 2019

CHAPS Christmas Party 2019 was a wonderful get together with friends, supporters and members.

As people walked in Larry had displayed some photos we received from the Stockman’s.  I’d never seen most of them before. We’ll create a couple of posts from these very interesting photos of the Cochrane Ranche bunk house and manager’s home.  Most of the remaining photos were from the 1890’s of residents and main street.


Shirley Thomas and Della Boothby welcomed everyone
Building on Main pre 1900, details to follow
Kerfoot outing pre 1900
George and Lonnie telling stories
Wally Irons had some amusing stories
CHAPS wishes everyone a safe, happy Christmas

Poets, Painters, Authors, Musicians & Athletes

While creating our YouTube channel to store our 100 Stories for 100 Years collection by Barry Thorson I learned of the wide range of renowned Cochrane residents. I hope to flesh out that list in a future post.

While flipping through More Big Hill Country I discovered this poem by Bobby Turner and followed up by reading  their family history

The Eagle and I

As I ride in the storm I am not alone

It seems to me I am just coming home.

Ernie Thompson’s pack-saddle sits on old buck,

Gord Davies hobbles on the neck of Chuck.

Frank Hutchinson said, “don’t leave any rope slack.”

Carl’s brand on the fly that covers one pack.

From my father, Frank Newsome, and many others,

I learned ways of the wilderness: I didn’t have brothers.

From three older sisters I learned much of course,

Because each one of them was good with a horse.

With Wearmouths or Bowhays, some of the best 

There were many a time our skills were put to the test.

Audley Richards was the first one I’d ever seen

Put a pack on a horse, and since then I have been keen.

To learn from each packer, a new trick or two

And from watching real close I learned quite a few;

Respect for the horse from Dr. Don Moore

Be careful in rivers, Hayward taught me for sure.

With all these teachers I won’t have a fear

To ride in the mountains with a packstring this year.

And somehow packing horse will be much more fun

I can teach a few tricks to some of my sons

The chill of the wind will not bother me

For just like the eagle; I’m wild and free.

If not in the flesh, then in spirit and mind.

And when I must leave this real world behind

With my good wide Sunni right by my side

Together on the wings of the eagle we’ll fly.

So don’t shed a tear for me my good friend

I have rode with the wind: I will ride again.

Bobby Turner - January 1996

Our 59th in Hawaii – Dolly and Gordon Callaway

Gordon and Dolly Callaway ran a diary farm north and east of Cochrane. Daughter Rochelle relates in her history in More Big Hill Country that this was Gordon’s home for the majority of his life.

Dolly and Gordon recorded their story of growing up in Alberta when distances were harder to traverse and winter was a more of a struggle. Their story was captured by Barry Thorson in his CHAPS sponsored series, 100 Stories for 100 Years.

I think the title of their video comes from their wish to spend time somewhere tropical after spending so many years in Canada’s winter.

Callaway’s were neighbors when my brothers and I were growing up. I was fascinated by a diary and by the huge tunnels David built in the feed in their huge barn. I also remember Christmas’s filled with conversations, music and games.

Their family history starts on page 350 of More Big Hill Country.


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