by Dorothy Anderson pg 260More Big Hill Country 2009
Andy’s paternal grandfather, Andrew Gustave Anderson, was born in Sweden in 1862. When he was still a baby he immigrated to the U.S.A. with his family. As a young man, he traveled west and finally settled in Forest City, Iowa. He farmed there and married Mary Jane Nallach. Eight children were born to them. The sixth child, Ralph, was Andy’s father.
The Anderson family immigrated to Canada in 1907 and located in Carstairs, Alta. They later moved to Carburn, Alta. in 1909 and homesteaded there. Gus, as he was known, operated a large farm until his death in 1934. After his death, his sons Meryl and Clyde operated the farm. His youngest son, Ralph, went to Carstairs for a job when he was 20 years old, and there met Ruby Richardson. They were married in 1921.
Andy’s maternal grandparents, Charles Wesley Richardson and Clarissa Wilford Herron married in Dacatur, Illinois, in 1880. While living in Illinois they had three sons and a daughter. They moved on to Nebraska and three boys and two girls were born there. The next move was to Forest City, Iowa and they had one more daughter, Ruby. In 1912 Charles and Clarissa and their six youngest children immigrated to Canada and homesteaded in the Carstairs District. Charles Richardson died in 1940 and Clarissa moved to Calgary with her daughter Ruby and died there in 1947.
Ruby and Ralph’s first child was born in Carstairs and named Carrol Edwin, otherwise known as Andy. For the next few years, the young family lived either in Carstairs or Carbon. In 1928 they moved to Bergen where Andy did all his schooling. At the age of 14, he left home and went to Calgary to find work. These were the depression years so he worked on farms, in the city, or wherever he could find work. In Calgary one day he ran into his parents and found out they were working on a dairy in the Bearspaw District and he joined them there. In 1942 the Canadian Government said that in the next year, they would bring in compulsory enlistment in the forces to help with the war in Europe. Andy and a neighbour, Nick Chalack, went into Calgary and enlisted in the Calgary Highlanders. They did their basic training in Currie Barracks and left for England in May 1943.
My paternal grandfather, George Dell, was born in 1872 in Hemel Hempstead, Herefordshire, England. As a young man, he moved to Watford, a large town on the outskirts of London. There he met and married Florence Joslyn, a young lady who had come to London from Aberysyth, Wales, to find work. George and Florence married and had six children, three boys, and three girls. My father Harry was the second of these children. The family moved to London and George went to work for the Great Western Railway as a carrier. In 1912 Florence died. The eldest child Fred left home and, because the youngest was a sickly child, a great deal of the family responsibility fell upon Harry. The First Great War began in 1914, but Harry couldn’t go as he was deaf in one ear. Harry also worked for the Great Western Railways and when the War ended in 1918 workers all over England were determined to get unions. Harry was an avid worker for the Unions and was his shop representative for the rest of his working days. At one time he was on the Executive for the National Union of Railwaymen.
My maternal grandmother was born in 1875 in Reading, Berkshire, and named Emily Elizabeth Aldridge. She married George Brown of the same district in 1898. They had two children, George born in 1899 and Georgine May born in 1900. A bad influenza hit England that year and George Brown and his young son George were both victims. My grandmother moved back to the farm with her young daughter and later moved to London to get work. There she met and married William Bates. They had four children: William born in 1906, Albert 1908, and boy and girl twins who died at birth in 1910.
May Brown, my mother, was just 14 when war was declared in 1914, and she had just finished schooling. She worked at a munitions factory in London. After the war ended a friend of my mother introduced her to a friend of her husband. This friend was Harry Dell. Mother told us that her first date with Harry was to see the “big military parade” in London after the end of the war. Harry and May were married in 1920 and had two daughters, Eileen born in 1922, and Dorothy born in 1924.
My mother’s brother, Bert was a rather sickly child and was told by the doctors to “go west young man”. This he did and at the age of 16 left for Canada. When the war was declared between England and Germany, Bert tried to enlist in both the Air Force and the Navy but was turned down. In December 1942 he went to Calgary and was accepted by the Calgary Highlanders, the same time that Andy enlisted. On the ship going from Canada to England Andy and Bert became good friends. They had a 48-hour leave as soon as they landed so Bert took Andy home to meet his mother. This was a big event for all the family and they were all at Grandmother’s to meet the Canadians. Bert and Andy didn’t get too many leaves as they were all over England and Scotland on training. When each of them did get a leave they always brought another Calgary Highlander member home to Gran’s with them.
Andy was with the Calgary Highlanders when they went to France and was with them through France, Holland, and Germany, and by this time was a sergeant. In an engagement near Wyler, Germany, he was awarded the Military Medal. Soon after this, he was sent back to England to take a Guard’s School and upon completing this, had the rank of CSM. After he returned to Germany the war ended and the Calgary Highlanders were one of the first regiments to be sent home. Andy was given the choice of going with them or transferring to the Regina Rifles for a year. He chose to stay in Germany. With the war now over he had regular leaves every three months. He still had his leaves at Gran’s or Bert’s so I saw a lot more of him. On his last leave in England, he proposed to me. At this time all shipping around the world was employed in either taking war brides to their new homes or transporting military to or from the East. Immigrants were told to wait. I finally was on the first immigrant ship out of England to Canada in January 1949.
Andy and I were married in Calgary in April 1949. On my first trip to the mountains, we stopped at the top of Cochrane Hill and I saw Cochrane in the valley for the first time. I said, “We’re going to live there someday”. It took a few years as the next ten were spent at Lethbridge where Andy was a guard at the Provincial Gaol. Returning from our honeymoon there was a letter for Andy from the Governor General’s Office saying that Viscount Alexander was going to be in Lethbridge on the May long weekend to present various honors and awards. Andy was requested to attend. We couldn’t miss that so along with Andy’s parents we went. The ceremony was held in Gault Garden and was most impressive.
It was a few years before we were able to build our home in Cochrane. We lived in a house on the Gaol grounds and had a family: Carolyn was born October 31, 1950, Neil on December 6, 1952, Jean on October 9, 1956, and Brian on May 6, 1958.
In 1957/58 the Province had seen the need to build another Goal and Spy Hill was built on the outskirts of Calgary. Staff at the Lethbridge Gaol was given the opportunity to transfer to Calgary, and we decided to do that in August 1959. We lived in a house in Bowness while we built our Cochrane house. We purchased a large lot from Mr. Andy Sharpe, on the last street in Cochrane at that time called Baird Avenue, and moved in on September 3, 1960.
It didn’t take long for us to get settled in this village of 800 people. Carolyn and Jean joined the C.G.I.T. at St. Andrew’s Church, Neil and Brian were Cubs, and the new swimming pool was very popular. There was always something to get involved in. I was also fortunate having family members come to Canada for visits and have made several trips back to England. In 1977 we had a leisurely holiday in B.C. with my parents, but on returning home Andy suddenly collapsed and was rushed to hospital. He was diagnosed with brain cancer. My parents had to leave in November. Andy was doing quite well up till then but soon after Christmas became bedridden. I was thankful to Dr. McQuitty for all his care during the next few weeks. Andy died at home on April 10, 1978.
By this time the children were growing up. Carolyn was off to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, to do Psychiatric Nursing. After completing her schooling she returned to Alberta and worked at several places but always with Mental Health. She met and married David Molstad. For several years she was Director of Mental Health for North East Alberta. In 1998 she was appointed to the Alberta Mental Health Board and resigned two years later as she and David went into semi-retirement at their home on Vancouver Island and worked with their own Consulting Agency.
Neil took a longer time to decide what he wanted to do but finally chose carpentry which he did at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. In 1979 he met Aileen Morrow, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Bill Morrow of Bearspaw, and they were married in 1980. They have always made their home in Cochrane. They have two children, Scott born October 14, 1982, and Lisa born June 12, 1986. Scott graduated from U of C this year with a BSc in Geomatic Engineering. Lisa works in Calgary and lives at home. Aileen is well known at the Cochrane Credit Union. Neil has been contracting to the Alberta Forestry for the past few years and will be leaving Cochrane in September for another job in Forestry at Peace River.
Jean worked in the housekeeping department at U of C for several years. She married Allan Erickson in 1980 and they made their home in Cochrane. They had two children, Sarah born March 14, 1987 and Megan born September 8, 1989. The family moved to Sundre, Alberta in 1989 so that Allan could be closer to his work. They divorced in 1993. Jean and the children stayed in Sundre as she said it was just like the small town that Cochrane was when we first moved there. Jean met Bernard Noel and they were married in May 1998. They live on an acreage east of Sundre and Jean is employed at an Insurance Agency in Sundre. Sarah has now finished a year at Mount Royal College and in September 2007 will be attending University in Edmonton. Megan has one more year of school in Sundre but is already making plans for the future.
Brian’s first job after leaving school was with a sur- vey crew, and he became very involved in where this could lead with land development. He married Lynda Thomas in 1984 and they have made their home in Cochrane. They have two children, Michael born May 1, 1987 who will be attending U of A in September, and Caron born December 30, 1990. Caron has been dancing just about all her life. She started with Highland dancing when she was 4 years old and now at 15 is a Premiere Dancer attending many Competitions. Lynda has been working for the Bethany Care Centre for many years in different capacities. Brian has recently been notified that he has been awarded the Governor General’s Medal for his work for many years with the Scouts of Cochrane.
During my years in Cochrane, I have had the opportunity to have two businesses: The Old Timer Newspaper from 1975 to 1981, and The Fabric House in partnership with Kass Beynon from 1979 to 1989. I was on Cochrane Council for one term in the 1980s. I was involved with the Big Hill Seniors’ Activities Society as secretary for 15 years and I have also been on the Management Board of Big Hill Lodge since it was built in 1980 and am Chairman of that Board. I finally had to sell my home on Baird Ave. about 12 years ago and am content in my downtown condo where I sit and see Cochrane get bigger all the time.