Wayne and Melva Blood

More Big Hill Country 2009 Pg 299

Our story begins in 1938 when Sam and May Blood moved with their young family, Wayne and Pat, to Cochrane. The children attended school in Cochrane and most of the family still live here. 

In 1960 Wayne Blood was working in Turner Valley for Royalite when he met Melva Porter. Melva had moved to Turner Valley as a teenager from Medicine Hat. 

Wayne and Melva married and joined Sam and May Blood in a new adventure, south and west of Cochrane. Sam and May had just entered into a partnership with George and Gertrude (Gertie) Copithorne to open a garage, gas station and coffee shop at the top of the Scott Lake Hill on the new TransCanada Highway. This facility was built in 1960 and a very large house was moved out from Calgary and placed behind the Service Station. 

Wayne and Melva lived in a mobile home on the site for several years and then they moved into the big house, which they shared with staff. 

Because of the remote location of the Service Station and Coffee Shop it was difficult to convince workers to live that far away from the city and May advertised as far away as the Winnipeg Free Press for waitresses, cooks and mechanics. Applicants were varied, some didn’t work out and others became family friends and stay in touch to this day. Employees came from many nationalities and places and some went beyond the call of duty at times. 

The Blood’s welcomed the trucking business and after a slow struggle up the Scott Lake hill, many of the truckers became regular customers in the coffee shop. There was a guest book for them to sign each time they stopped and after twenty visits they received a free meal. Other regulars included the Jumping Pound neighbours and many from the Morley Reserve. 

At the time the Scott Lake Service Station and Restaurant was the only place to get service or something to eat between Calgary and Canmore. It was welcomed by many including the Cochrane and Canmore RCMP who could now stop for a bite to eat and coffee on their long shifts patrolling this new highway. 

Wayne and Melva welcomed two daughters, Heather in 1961 and Brenda in 1964 while living at Scott Lake. Both girls could be found in their playpen in the kitchen or happily playing in the storage room while Melva helped out in the restaurant. 

Wayne and Melva loved to curl and would often take Heather with them to Cochrane where she would sleep in her basket while they played the late draw. On other nights, friends were invited out for card parties, corn roasts around the campfire, or stories in the big teepee that Sam erected. Dances and parties in the Jumping Pound Hall were enjoyed with the neighbours in the community and the yearly Christmas Concert was a special occasion for the children, parents, and grandparents. Heather started school in Springbank and fondly remembers the first day Jim Copithorne’s bus picked her up at seven in the morning for her first long ride to school. Being first on the bus and last off was certainly a long day for a little girl. Melva was always insistent that the girls be kept “busy” and there were many trips to Calgary for piano, voice and Highland Dancing lessons. Melva was also an active member in All Saints Anglican Church, teaching Sunday school and playing the organ. Both Heather and Brenda would accompany her each Sunday to Cochrane and enjoy the camaraderie with the Edgelow, Harvie and Blackwell families to name a few. As the years went on and the TransCanada Highway became busier, the Government announced that they were twinning the highway from Calgary to Banff. This was a huge improvement given the difficulty many vehicles had climbing the hill, especially in winter. However that also meant that the eastbound traffic would have no access to the station, a situation that resulted in the decision to sell the station in 1969. 

Melva, Wayne and the girls moved into Cochrane, first renting an apartment in the “East End” before moving to the newly developed area of Cochrane Heights, where they welcomed the birth of their son Ross in 1969. Heather moved from school in Springbank to Andrew Sibbald Elementary School. Brenda and Ross started school at Andrew Sibbald Elementary and the children continued on through Manachaban, and the High School in Cochrane. 

They soon found a group of friends who all enjoyed playing pranks on each other or getting together at someone’s house or backyard for a weekend party. Pranks such as decorating vehicles or various articles and houses took place. Once even saw the neighbours all dress up as a motorcycle gang for Halloween, even though no one owned a motorcycle! In the summer it was not unusual to find a number of families heading out for a camping weekend of laughs, card games and water fights. 

Wayne began working for Eagle at the Shell Jumping Pound Plant and then moved to Petrofina (currently PetroCanada) where he eventually became one of the Field Operators. He volunteered as a Scout Leader for 

Lions Rodeo dedicate to Wayne Blood

a number of years, coaching the boys to victory at the Annual Ice Stampede in Calgary. He was an enthusiastic member of the Lions Club in Cochrane and he and Melva were quite active in the Community enjoying curling and dances at the old Community Hall. Unfortunately, Wayne’s life was cut short when he passed away in September 1997 of a heart attack. 


Melva stayed at home while Ross was young before returning to the Royal Bank where she spent the next twenty-three years at various branches filling in while others took vacations. She also renewed her commitment to Girl Guides, serving as Guide Captain and having the pleasure of watching many of the local girls grow up and become young women in the community. Melva still continues her association with the Girl Guides and was recently awarded her fifty year pin and a Life Membership in the organization. 

Melva keeps busy volunteering for many of the fundraising casinos in the community, singing in two choirs, playing Bingo, and bowling. She is a Director on the Frank Wills’ Memorial Society and was recognized for her commitment to the community with a “Citizen of the Year” Award from the Cochrane and District Chamber of Commerce and more recently an “Integrity Award” from the Rotary Club. Melva continues to work at the local RCMP detachment as a Matron since 1988. 

Heather continues to reside in Cochrane, taking after her Mom in some of her volunteer efforts. She sat on the Board of the Cochrane and District Chamber of Commerce and the 2nd Hooves of History Cattle Drive. She organized the Annual Cochrane Light Up for ten years and has been a member of the Calgary Downtown Attractions – Old Time Rigs Committee for ten years as well as the Stampede Rodeo Committee for 5 years. 

Heather started working after High School in the Royal Bank- Brentwood Branch before heading into other careers in Accounting, Executive Assistant, Real Estate Assistant and Oil and Gas Land Administration. She even tried her hand at following in her father and grandfather’s footsteps when she took over the Turbo Gas Station (now Shell) at the bottom of the Big Hill in Cochrane. Deciding that she wanted to continue to travel Heather left the gas station business and joined West Jet Airlines as a Flight Attendant in 2002 where she continues to be employed today. When she is home, you’ll often find Heather enjoying her biggest passion in her life, having fun with her two Thoroughbred horses. 

Brenda, after finishing her twelve years of school in Cochrane, continued her education at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology with her EMT-A diploma. She

then worked on the Cochrane Fire and Ambulance Department for several years while also working as a medical assistant and lab aid at the Coach Hill Medical Clinic. 

In May of 1992, she gave birth to the first of her two children, a girl, Chelsea Lynne. What a Mother’s Day present! At this time she took a position with the Cochrane Medical Clinic and between work, playing baseball, parenting and the odd ambulance shift, her second bouncing bundle of joy arrived in August of 1995 a son, Gavin Maitland. The first grandchildren for Melva and Wayne. Can you say spoiled? 

Shortly after the birth of Gavin, six months to be exact, Brenda and family moved lock, stock and barrel to the Town of Hinton. It is a very picturesque town where they reside to this date. Being away from Cochrane took a great deal of getting used to, but new friends soon developed. Brenda soon went back to work, part-time at the ambulance and the swimming pool. She worked, played baseball and started full-time taxi service (Mom can you drive me to ….) 

In 2000, with both children in school, she realized it was time to go back to work full time. She accepted a position at the local swimming pool and worked as a Senior Lifeguard Instructor/Pool Operator for five years until leaving to work full time in the Oil and Gas Industry. She is currently employed as an EMT-A with Oilfield Medical Services and has been with them for three years as well as teaching First Aid and CPR courses and taking the odd shift at the pool when time allows. In her spare time, she continues to play baseball, take the kids on camping trips and spends a great deal of time driving the roads of North Central Alberta on the various trips that the kids have. Both of them are heavily involved in sports. 

Chelsea is the goalie for the Hinton Junior Bulldogs Ringette Team as well as being involved in soccer, baseball, volleyball and badminton. She currently is in grade ten at Harry Collinge High School and is on the academic honor roll for excellence. 

Gavin is also involved in sports and is a right winger on the Hinton Peewee “A” hockey team. He also plays baseball and enjoys riding motorbikes when he gets the chance. Gavin is currently in grade seven in Ecole Mountainview and excels in Phys.Ed. 

They lead a busy life, they still manage the occasional trip back to see the family in Cochrane and look forward to the trips to the dam for ice fishing in the winter and quading in the summer. 

Ross grew up enjoying life – rules were meant to be bent and everything was supposed to be fun. He took all his schooling in Cochrane and like lots of boys, 

school wasn’t all that important, taking things apart and mechanics were always more interesting to him. Thanks to his Uncle Lorne and cousin Craig, Ross quickly developed a love for operating machinery and riding motorcycles in particular, Cross Country Racing. Ross did very well, placing first in many of the races he entered. There were many weekends when Wayne or Melva would pack up the motor home and head out to a race to cheer him on, returning with lots of memories and a stack of dirty muskeg-covered racing gear. Ross left Cochrane for a number of years to develop his heavy equipment skills in Northern Alberta on the oilrigs, returning in 1997. Ross loves to play baseball, go camping and travel. He works in the construction industry operating heavy equipment. He is currently residing in Calgary.

Deep Dive

Grand Old Lady of Cochrane

A Peep into the Past pg 18 Vol. 2 Gordon and Belle Hall

A ‘Stately Old Lady’, the Rebekah Hall on main street in the town of Cochrane was built around the year 1900, the exact date is not known. There are few buildings of this age left in Cochrane. Whether it was the first hall in Cochrane is not clear, as the Howard Block was built about the same time and had a dance hall upstairs. 

The Rebekah Hall was built and owned by an Orange Lodge, called Mount View Loyal Orange Lodge #1813 of Cochrane, and was of course known as the Orange Hall. The Oddfellows formed a lodge here in February 1912 and had their meetings in the Orange Hall. The rent was around $15 per month when things got too tough they would rent a room in the Howard Block and move. During the First World War, times were tough. Electric lights were just appearing so when you vacated a room or whatever, you rolled up the wire and took your lights too, and had them hooked up at the new place. 

When my family arrived here in 1923, the Orange Hall was the hub of social life – dances, minstrel shows, Christmas parties for the kids, and concerts were held there. Then motion pictures were coming into vogue, so the Orangemen built the front of the hall out to the sidewalk, making about an extra 10 feet long, and adding two extra rooms to the side with a big room up stairs The reason for all this was to get space to put a room that was completely lined in case of fire. The local electric current was not strong enough for the projector, so Mr. Sharpe of Sharpe’s Theatre Supplies Calgary had a Delco plant in the back of his old Dodge car. It sat out front of the hall with a cable going up and through one of the windows and into the tin room. They were the old silent films, and we saw the Dempsey-Tunney fights. Charlie Chaplin in the Gold Rush, etcetera. 


Gray Sharp, Photo courtesy of UofC Digital Collections

In 1934, when I joined the Oddfellows, we met in the Masonic Hall, in 1936 the Orange Hall came up at a tax sale, and we bought the Old Girl and lot for $200. The hall at this time was heated by wood and coal stoves, and remember the first supper the lodge members had in their new hall-it was in February 1937. We had cooked the food and turkey ourselves. The temperature outside was about 20 below zero. We ate supper with our overshoes and overcoats on and the steam from the cooking filled the hall. 

In 1937, J. D. Curran, a local artist and oldtimer of the area and a relative Andisons, painted two huge pictures for the hall, one was at the back of the a stage and was later ruined by water. The other was painted on a canvas and was the stage curtain as it rolled up and down on a pole across the sage When the stage was taken out, the canvas was framed on the north wall of the hall, where it hangs today. It is a painting of the Three Sisters mountains at Canmore – Curran was 86 years old at this time. 

At the start of the Second World War, a platoon of soldiers or militia was formed in Cochrane, named the Second Battalion Calgary Highlanders. The hall was offered to them by the Oddfellows to store rifles and equipment in and drill in the winter months – this went on for about four years. 

The old hall has seen much of Cochrane’s past history, her back is bent, her floors are warped, the roof leaks, the doors don’t fit too well, but after about 90 years, who cares.

Odd Fellows Hall Ad

Deep Dive

Boothby Family

John and Nancy Boothby Family Page 303 More Big Hill Country 2009

John Boothby came to Cochrane from Cheshire, England. His mother died in 1905 when he was ten years old. His father William, came to Canada soon after his wife died to work at the Cochrane Stone Quarry. 


In 1911, John came to Cochrane and found work at the Collins Brickyard. He fell ill with typhoid fever a month after he arrived and was hospitalized at the Davies Hospital as a patient of Dr. Park. John then spent three months recuperating at the home of Robert Dawson. The Dawson family had lived about seven miles from the Boothbys in England. 

Collins Brick Yard 1911
John William Boothby 10th Battalion Jan 1916


John worked in and around Cochrane until he joined the 137th Battalion of the Canadian Army in World War I. He served at Vimy Ridge and was wounded. After hospitalization in England he returned to the trenches until the end of the war. He received his discharge in September 1919 following a stay in England. 

John returned to Cochrane and homesteaded the SW Sec 34 Twp 26 Rge 4 W5M through the Soldier Settlement Board. This land had been a Government Water Reserve that had been set aside in the early days of the pioneers so that everyone could get water. He stocked his farm with sheep bought from Bill Tempany. 

Nancy Harbidge came to Calgary at the age of six months in 1903 with her parents, brother Charles and uncle, aunt, and their three children. They stayed in the Immigration Hall for a few days before living in a tent near a quarry ten miles north of the city of Calgary, where Mr. Harbidge found work, cutting stone at Allan’s Quarry on Nose Creek. Then they lived in a tar paper shack her father built. A year or so later, they moved to Hillhurst and built another shack to live in. While here Mrs. Harbidge had a second son. 

In 1905 Mr. Harbidge and Mo Adams filed on homesteads in the Bottrel area. After building tar paper shacks they moved their families to the farms in November. The snow was deep and they had to sleep under the wagons on the two day trip to their new homes. 

The closest post office was Bottrel, six miles north. Mr. Harbidge had to walk there and back for their mail. He worked in Calgary, returning to the farm on weekends and going back to Calgary, leaving at 12:00 AM on Monday so as not to travel on Sundays. He did this until he was able to stock the farm with animals and work the land on a permanent basis. 

Six more children were born to this family. All the children were: Charles, Nancy, Mike, Alice, Miriam, Mary, Ruth, Samuel and Dan. Ruth died at age eight and Samuel died at age thirteen. Charles married Violet West in 1919. Mike and Dan married sisters Matilda and Lavina Hamm respectively. Mary married Henry Hupkes, Miriam married Kornelis Westra while Alice married Marlow Blatchford. 


John Boothby married Nancy Harbidge in September 1923. They had two sons, Bill and Bruce. Bill was born March, 1926 in the Tom Quigley house on the corner of First Street East and Pope Avenue. The family moved to Cochrane in 1927. John continued to work on the farm often working with Frank Whittle doing the haying and baling. Nancy worked hard on the farm along side of John. Bruce was born in January 1934. 

Nancy was self educated and very community minded. She was involved as a Sunday School teacher at St. Andrews United Church, a Charter Member of the Cochrane Branch of the Eastern Star as well as one of the Founders of the Cochrane Library, where she volunteered for many years. Nancy passed away in September of 1962. Years later the Cochrane Library was named the Nan Boothby Memorial Library in her honour. John retired in Cochrane. He spent many hours playing cards with friends. He and Ernie Crowe took part at the Sod Turning and Opening Ceremonies of the New Legion Hall in 1974. 

Nan Boothby Memorial Library
John Boothby, Walter Crowe with shovels

John and Nancy’s son Bill married Dorothy Reed of Cochrane and they had three sons: Mark, Laurie and Dana. They ranched north of Cochrane. 

Bruce married Dorothy Ellett from Mearns, Alberta and they had two daughters Susan and Joan. They ranched in Grand Valley. 

Bruce Boothby Family Ranch at Grand Valley

William and Dorothy Boothby by Dorothy Boothby

William (Bill) Boothby and Dorothy Reed were married on January 5, 1957, in the North Hill United Church in Calgary. The Reverend Pottruff was the Minister and his wife, Mrs. Pottruff, stood up for us. After the wedding, we drove to Okotoks to tell my parents, Sydney and Lilian Reed. Mom and Dad moved to Okotoks as the Cochrane Creamery was taken over by Mrs. Loughery’s nephew. Lilian and Sydney Reed lived in Cochrane for 35 years. Dad had many jobs but worked for the Creamery until 1953. 

Cochrane Creamery Limited

Bill and Dorothy had three sons. Mark was born December 8, 1957, Laurie October 14, 1959 and Dana August 25, 1961. We lived 1 1/2 miles north of Cochrane on the Bottrel Road. The children had to be taken to school as the bus came much later. 

Boothby Ranch Barn and Outbuildings built by McConachies
JW Boothby buys Just Home Ranch

There was a great rivalry between Walter Lyons and Bill as to who had the best horse. I don’t think that was ever settled, they both won their share of races. 

Bill and I both curled in the rink next to the United Church and he was the Draw Master for many years.

We had both started in Cochrane’s oldest curling rink next to the Blacksmith’s Shop. I worked for Andison’s store for a short time then joined the Credit Union and worked for 15 years. 

Mark spent some time with Highway Patrol, but now is a Computer Programmer for the City of Red Deer. He married Della Burke from Williams Lake, British Columbia. Laurie moved to Toronto and worked in the steel industry. While down east, he married Thelma Duguay from New Brunswick. After the economy slowed, they moved back to Cochrane when they had a baby daughter, Celina. 

The Boothby ranch bought a piece of land around Bashaw where Laurie, Thelma and Celina moved. In 1995, they had a son Julian. We kept the farm until 2004 when BSE took its toll in the ranching business. Laurie and his family now live in Red Deer. 

Dana stayed on the ranch after going to the University of Calgary; he married Melanie Cherwayko of Bearspaw on January 3, 1987. They have three sons: Tanner, Riley and Reed, currently in school. 

Bill became ill in the 1980’s so Dana had to be ranch manager. We moved to Cochrane in 1990 and Bill’s health failed; he passed away December 3, 2006. I still live in my home in Cochrane.

Deep Dive

James and Yvonne Bowlen

Page 306 More Big Hill Country 2009

James “Jaye” Edward Bowlen was born February 23, 1936, in Calgary, Alberta to Eddie and Kathleen “Toddles” Bowlen. He had four sisters: Delores, Maureen, Cheryl, and Kaye. The family lived in Calgary and visited their Aunt Helen on the Mount Royal Ranch frequently. They loved to stay with her and she loved having them.

Jaye attended St. Mary’s High School in Calgary where he excelled in football under the coaching of the late Rev. Jim Whelibaw, the Rev.Lawrence Moran, and Hank Carmine. 

Yvonne Stannge was born February 9, 1937 in Claresholm, Alberta to Frank and Louise Stannge. She had two sisters, Bernice and Pat, and a brother Alvin.

Yvonne was educated in Claresholm and moved to Calgary after completing high school. In Calgary, she worked in the oil industry for Fracmaster for several years. Jaye and Yvonne were married on September 15. 1962. They moved to Jaye’s family’s ranch, Mount Royal Ranch, west of Cochrane to manage it. They lived in the teacherage at Beaupre for a couple of years and moved to the Ranch House when Jaye’s aunt Helen moved into Cochrane. 

The Ranch House was an old log, two-storey building built into the hill. In the spring when the snow melted the water would run into the house, so one day Jaye took a brace and bit and drilled holes in the floor. The water soon disappeared. 

Jaye and Yvonne adopted two children. Catherine “Cathie” in 1967 and Robert “Bobby” in 1970. Before Bobby arrived, they moved a house from Calgary to the ranch and vacated the ranch house. The old log house was then used to house the hired help. Eventually it burned down. 

Cathie and Bobby were educated in Cochrane. Cathie was an excellent gymnast and was encouraged in her endeavors by her father. She made the National Team but was forced to quit because of her knees. 

Jaye and Yvonne were members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and they also enjoyed curling and golfing Yvonne was an excellent seamstress and enjoyed quilting and sewing. She and her sister Pat contracted to make many liturgical linens for the church. 

Cathie had three children: Ashley, Briegh-Ana, and Scott. Jaye and Yvonne loved their grandchildren and donated much time and effort into their well-being. 

Bobby excelled at football in school and followed in his father’s footsteps managing the ranch. He also took training as an electrician. He married Carrie Baldwin in 2000. Their wedding was held at the Mount Royal Ranch They have four boys: Payton, Tyson, Jacob, and Wyatt. 

Jaye and Yvonne’s lives were tragically cut short on May 21, 1999, by two young offenders, friends of Cathie They are all serving life sentences for the Bowlen deaths.

Deep Dive

Passing the Torch 2023

CHAPS wants to remember the community members who passed away in 2023. Their contributions are listed in the obituaries and articles below.

Dorothy May Edge 

March 16, 1940 – December 26, 2022

Janette Whittle 

November. 5, 1934 – January. 31, 2023

Mildred Davies 

January 24, 1931 – February 12, 2023

Nelda Sharp

February 26, 1938 – April 25, 2023

Myrna Lathwell

December 5, 1939 – May 10, 2023

Marilyn Whittle

January 20, 1943 – August 26, 2023

Ray Whittle

January 10, 1932 – January 6, 2024

Jim Lauder

September 7, 1934 – September 17, 2023

Ruby Keller

October 10, 1939 – October 6. 2023

Pat Woods

April 20, 1932 –  September 8, 2023

Valerie Wilson

August 27, 1944 – November 30, 2023

 A celebration of life will be held at the Ranch House in Cochrane at 2:00 PM on January 13, 2024.

 Beryl Sibbald

 1943 – 2024


Funeral Services will be held at Cochrane Ranchehouse (101 Ranchehouse Rd, Cochrane, AB), on Monday, January 22, 2024, at 1:00 p.m. with reception to follow. Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed with Beryl’s family here.

CHAPS apologizes to any family whose family member we may have missed.  

Deep Dive

Top Stories from 2023 5 through 1

Welcome back to our review of the top 10 most read articles from 2023. Here are the top 5 beginning with number 5.

5. Gordon Ivan Davies Family

4. The Ghost Dam

3. Lodgings and Hotels

Also contains an audio history by Gordon Davies.

2. Cochrane’s Olympic Spirit

Contains an audio by Gordon Davies

  1. Doug Richards and the Early Years.

Thanks to M.D Bighorn Historical Resource Committee for this excellent narrative from the Oral History Project.

That’s it for 2023. Stay tuned for 2024 as it looks to be just as exciting.

How do you want to get involved?

Do you want to research and submit an article, volunteer at the Museum, or organize an event. We have a role for you!

Top Stories from 2023 10 through 6

2023 saw an increase in the readership of our stories. We are grateful you enjoy them. Based on your readership here are the top 10 from 2023. We’ll start with 10 through 6.

#10 The Morleyville Settlement

#9 Dave Bryant

8. The Reed Family

7. Restaurants and Cafes

6. Passing of the Torch 2022

We hope you enjoyed the first of our series on the top 10 articles from 2023. Stay tuned next week for the top 5.

Pat and Lorne Woods Family

More Big Hill Country 2009 pg 817

Pat moved to Cochrane in 1944 with her parents May and Sam Blood and her brother Wayne. Her father was employed by J.R. McConachie of the Just Home Ranch. She started Grade 7 in the Cochrane School and completed her school years there, graduating in 1949. In 1951 she married Lawrence Woods from Lacombe, Alberta, who was employed by Mannix Construction. In 1952 he was employed by the seismograph division of Shell Oil Company, which involved working in various areas of the province. They lived in a mobile home and moved periodically until 1958 when Lawrence was transferred to the Jumping Pound Gas Plant in the Cochrane area. They’ve lived in Cochrane ever since. Pat and Lorne purchased the W. Camden house (built 1903) in 1962 and lived there for 40 years. 

Camden Woods Home

Lorne and Pat had three children: Gail, Guy, and Craig. They all reside in Cochrane. They also have two grandsons. 

As most families, they became involved in several community activities while their children were small. Pat served on the executive of the Home and School Association, and the Brownies and Guides Association. She was a cub leader for five years. Lorne was on the District Executive of Boy Scouts of Canada for five years, and in 1960 started coaching organized minor hockey for the next thirteen years. In 1967 he received a certificate from the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association for Outstanding Service to Minor Hockey. 

Pat Woods Women at Counter (Left, unknown location)

As a family, they all had a love of the outdoors and fortunately the Cochrane area was handy for fishing, skiing, motorcycling, hunting, camping, and swimming. Many summer days were spent swimming in the Jumping Pound Creek (thanks to the H. Wearmouth Family) and what was known as the river backwater at Griffin’s Island. 

All three children spent their school years in Cochrane and they, as well as Pat and Lorne, are fortunate to have many schoolmates still living in the area.

Deep Dive

Hogarth Family

Page 512 More Big Hill Country 2009

Andrew Harvey (Harve) Hogarth was the eldest son of Robert and Mary (Elder) Hogarth, born October 2, 1911. Harve grew up with three brothers: William Elder (Bill), Robert John (Bob) and James Cecil (Jimmy). Jimmy died at 22 months due to pneumonia and was buried in the Cochrane cemetery.

The family lived on the land that Robert homesteaded SE Sec 24 Twp 27 Rge 5 W5M until 1913, when the family moved to Exshaw, where Robert had purchased a dairy from Adam Baptie. They sold the dairy and moved back to the homestead and lived there until about 1927. Then the family moved into Cochrane and operated a flour and feed mill. 

Robert loved to fly fish even though he did not eat his catch, but gave it away. He raised sheep and would go to neighbors to teach them how to handle and raise sheep. Also, he raised draft horses and would show them in shows in Calgary. Robert raised cattle and his son Harve

would show the steers at the Calgary shows. Robert was a manager for the McConachie Ranch. He loved to curl and would travel to Canmore, Exshaw, Banff, Springbank and Calgary to compete in bonspiels. 

Mary was a good Scottish cook, especially known for her scones. When asked how the food was, Robert would always reply “Fair to middling.” She loved to knit and was able to knit argyle socks as well as sweaters, skirts, and other clothing. Like many women of her time, she became an excellent seamstress, making her own curtains as well as clothing. Mary loved to put on Christmas Eve dinners. This was a double celebration as it was Robert’s birthday. They always celebrated April 2 with Dewey Blaney, as this was both Mary and Dewey’s birthdays. 

Later Robert and his brother Jock Hogarth purchased a business from Robert Butler. This included a machinery agency for International Harvester and McCormick Deering, as well as a Union Oil Service Station. In 1933 Robert bought out Jock and the business became known as R. Hogarth and Sons. With the onset of the Depression, business fell off and Robert sold the business to move again to Exshaw and bought a dairy operation His boys Bill and Bob operated this until Bill left to join the R.C.A.F during WWII. Bill married Vernie in 1943 just before leaving for war, where he was killed in August of 1943. 

Robert came back to the Cochrane area and took over the Bottrel mail route from W. Johnson. Robert did this until 1958 when his health failed. Robert and Mary lived north of Cochrane on the Armistead place for a while, and then moved back into Cochrane, building a small house on Fisher Avenue. 

Robert and Mary’s son Bob went to work at the Exshaw Cement Plant. He married Marion Whitehead and they raised three children: William (Bill), Carol and Gary. 

Robert and Harve bought a milk route from Jack Steel, and then Harve bought his Dad out in 1936. 

The Hogarth family loved sports, participating in and supporting curling, fastball, hockey, golf, and track and field. 

Violet Louise Buckler was born July 26, 1913 on the family homestead, to David and Lillie Buckler. Violet grew up with her sister Maggie and four brothers Albert, Stan, Roy, and Henry. They all attended Summit Hill School. They rode horses to school. Violet learned to play piano and loved sports. She played on the girl’s Bottrel Basketball team. She was taught a crochet by her mother. Violet moved to Cochrane and worked in the Cochrane Cafe with her sister Maggie When their mother Lillie became ill, Violet returned home to take care of her. On November 12, 1934 Violet and A. Harvey (Harve) Hogarth married and lived in 

Cochrane. They lived in the old Catholic manse that had several vehicles crash into it. While the Hogarths were living there they were fortunate enough that only a bicycle had crashed into the house. They raised four children: Harvey David, Robert James, (Gloria) Louise, and John William. All four children went to school in Cochrane. 

In the mid 1940’s Violet helped her brothers saw the lumber from the family sawmill that was used to build Violet and Harve’s home on Powell Street in Cochrane. Harve drove a transport truck, collected milk from dairy farms on the trip into Calgary, bringing groceries and other goods on the return trip to Cochrane. He also drove a school bus. Harve coached the men’s fastball and hockey teams. 

Violet would coach the young boy’s hockey teams. Four of the boys that she coached made Junior B hockey teams in Calgary. Violet did not skate, but if she needed to have someone actually demonstrate, Harve would go up to the rink and perform the task. Violet and Harve were instrumental in having organized hockey and fastball leagues in the Cochrane area. Harve helped Bill MacLean organize men’s hockey in Morley. 

Violet started the Cochrane Highland Dancing Association and was warden for the Calgary Highland and Cochrane Highland Dancing Association, as well as being a founding member of the Booster Club. This group mainly raised money for amateur hockey, keeping the outdoor rink functioning. 

Whenever a master of ceremonies was needed Harve was called upon. This included calling bingo games in the Elks Hall, concerts, and amateur shows. He was the master of ceremonies for the Calgary Highland Games and Calgary Highland Dancing Association. Harve was a member of the I.O.O.F. Lodge. Both Harve and Violet loved to curl and went to a lot of bonspiels and represented Cochrane in playdowns. Harve died suddenly on June 14, 1959, after playing ball. 

In the early 1960’s Violet came home to find the fire crew at her home fighting an electrical fire. 

After being on her own for several years, Violet met and was engaged to August (Gus) Graff. They loved to camp and spent a lot of time at the campground near Seebe, where they would attend fastball tournaments and go to bingo in Exshaw. Violet had a stroke in 1986. She was at home for a year and a half before she moved to the Bethany Care Centre in Calgary. Violet passed away on June 14, 1997, thirty-eight years to the day after her husband Andrew Harvey (Harve) Hogarth. 

The last year that Harvey Jr. played Junior B hockey, he and his brother Bob were picked to play for the Calgary Junior A team that was coached by Gus Kyle. Harvey 

Jr. went on to play hockey in Vernon, Nelson, Lacombe and Olds before joining the Nanton Palominos for the Big Six Hockey League. Bob joined him there for two years. Harvey Jr. lost his sight in one eye on February 8, 1958 when he was hit by a puck that was shot by an opposing player in anger after the whistle was blown. This ended his career in hockey at that level. Harvey did play ball with the Cochrane Cardinals and Cougars as well as other teams. Harvey Jr. also represented the Bow Valley several times for curling playdowns.

Harvey Jr. took over the trucking business and ran it with his mother Violet until 1985. Then he ran the business on his own until 1996 when he sold it. Harvey married Heather Scott and they have two children, Harvey III (Chub) and Deanna. 

Chub played Junior B hockey in Cranbrook, British Columbia. Later he returned to Cochrane, where he and his cousin Derek played for the Barons. Chub married Teresa Gibson and they have two daughters, Caitlin and Tristin. They live in Cochrane and Chub works as a millwright at the Exshaw Canada Lafarge Cement Plant. Chub and his cousin Derek, both work for Lafarge, where their great-great-grandfather William Elder had helped build the first section of the cement plant. The girls, Caitlin and Tristin are very active in soccer and volleyball. Tristin was named Best Junior Varsity Volleyball player in the high school league in 2007, while attending Bow Valley High School. 

Deanna married Troy Sylvestre. They have two children, Talon and Dominique (Dom). 

Deanna works for the Royal Bank of Canada in Cochrane and Troy works for the Town of Cochrane.

Deanna took highland dancing from her Aunt Louise and won several awards. She loves to curl. Both of their children are very involved with sports, especially ice hockey. Talon plays for the Cochrane Generals. 

Robert (Bob) married June Suzliak. They lived here in Cochrane while Bob drove the school bus for his Uncle Roy Buckler as well as looking after the outdoor skating rink. Bob drove a truck for the family business, Hogarth Transport for two years. They moved to Calgary in 1963 and stayed there until Bob retired from Atco in 1997. He was shipping foreman for Atco Structures. 

Bob and Harvey Jr. were both involved in coaching Cochrane fastball. Harvey Jr. and his brothers Bob and John played on the Provincial Champions teams of Intermediate B in 1962 and Intermediate A in 1963. Bob was a pitcher and Harvey was either catcher or first base and John would fill in where needed. Bob and June moved to Sundre, Alberta in 2000 to be closer to their daughter’s family. They have two children, Lorelei (Lore) and Robert (Bob). Robert married Stephanie Beck. Lorelei married Dale Nylund and they have three children: James (Jamie), Alexandra (Lexie), and Dale (Dude). They live near Sundre on a farm. Jamie plays basketball. Dude golfs and Lexie is a fastball pitcher, following in her mother’s footsteps. All the family enjoys participating in curling. 

With the urging of her grade one teacher, Mrs. Miriam Callaway, at age eight, Louise took dance classes: Highland, Tap, Ballet, Characterist, Baton, and Acrobatics. Her dance teacher was Jean Murdock Simpson. The fact that Louise was interested in his native dances delighted her Grandfather Hogarth and she received tips on how to get rhythm in her jig from her Grandfather Buckler. Then at age ten, she took acrobatics and baton. Later she added singing and piano lessons. Her singing teacher was Norma Piper Pocaterra. Norma taught Louise to sing opera. Louise did competitive highland dancing and taught dancing classes in Cochrane and Calgary. Both she and her daughter Teresa have their Members in Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing. Louise taught the Cochrane Baton Core for four years, which included the Centennial Celebrations in 1967. She won several certificates, medals, and trophies for her Highland dance and other awards for her singing. She performed on radio and television and judged many talent contests in Alberta. 

Louise married Gordon Lewis. They moved to Calgary in December of 1959 where they raised their daughter Teresa and son Derek. She taught Highland Dancing in Calgary and had many pupils win awards. Louise was president and secretary of the Calgary Highland Dancing Association and the Provincial Board of Highland Dancing Association. She was 

awarded a Lifetime Membership to the Highland Dancing Association in 1968. They moved back to Cochrane in 1975. Teresa took her Grades 11 and 12 in Cochrane. Derek took his high school here. Louise was working for Hogarth Transport helping her mother Violet, doing the office work. 

Louise met Jack Laird and they were married in September 1990. They live in Cochrane. 

Teresa took after her mother taking highland dancing. She was Alberta Champion in 1979. Teresa married Terry Cummings and they had a son Dylan. Teresa and Dylan lived in Seebe until 2003 when the town site was sold. She worked in Canmore as manager of a drug store. Teresa and Dylan then moved back to Cochrane. Teresa works at the Cochrane Medical Centre. She remarried in 2006. Teresa and her husband, Tony Sylvestre, live in Didsbury. Dylan stayed in Cochrane with Louise in order to continue his schooling here. Dylan is very musical, playing piano, keyboard, guitar, saxophone, and oboe, and likes to sing as well. 

Derek married Lisa Johnston and they have two children, Brendan and Danika. Derek remarried and lives in Cochrane with his wife, Dawn Biro. He works in Exshaw as shipping supervisor of the Canada Lefarge Cement Plant. He has a degree in Logistics. Derek and his cousin, Chub competed in Senior A fastball for Dome Petroleum in the early 1980’s. Then they, with cousin Bob, won the Senior B Western Canadian Championships in 1994. Derek was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. He plays goal for a senior hockey team in Cochrane. He has won many awards in several different leagues. Derek’s’ son Brendan plays hockey and is a goalie like his Dad. He also likes lacrosse and snowboarding. Danika is a fastball pitcher. 

John was the youngest of the Harve and Violet Hogarth’s family, born September 6, 1947. He was very involved in sports including track and field, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, curling, badminton, fastball, skiing, and golfing. He has his ticket for umpire in slo-pitch and fastball as well as referee for hockey. He played hockey with his older brothers on the Cochrane Blades, then he played ball for the Cochrane Cougars, Canmore Merchants, and Seebe Bears. He played Oldtimer Hockey for the Centennials in Canmore. John was president of the Seebe Curling Club for two years. 

John married Shirley Bateman of Springbank and they have three daughters: Lynn, Andrea, and Tina. John lived in Canmore until he retired in 2004 from TransAlta Seebe Power Plant. He is a millwright and started with the company in January 22, 1968 when it was known as Calgary Power Ltd. He was in charge of Dam Safety for the Hydro department for five years as

was a volunteer firefighter in both Seebe and more. John has his first aid ticket. When he retired moved to Sundre and he works as a foreman at Coyote Creek Golf Club. 

Jan and Shirley’s girls Lynn, Tina, and Andrea all ended school in Canmore. The two oldest girls, Tina Lynn are very involved with riding horses. Andrea is involved in highland dancing and won several awards and she obtained her Associate Members of Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing

Deep Dive

Klassen Family

More Big Hill Country 2009 pg 549

Barney came from a family of hardware merchants – his grandfather, father, and both brothers were in the hardware business. He was involved in Builders’ Hardware stores in several Alberta towns, including Two Hills, Blackfalds and Didsbury, before opening his own store in Cochrane in 1935. 

He married Margaret Sastaunik, from Melville, Saskatchewan, in Herbert, Saskatchewan, in 1931. They lived in three different houses in Cochrane – first the Robinson house east of the school, the next at the bottom of the Cochrane hill in what would later be the Catholic manse (fortunately moving before a truck loaded with pipe lost its brakes and plowed through the house, narrowly missing the resident Catholic priest) then the Webster house north of Graeme Broatch’s garage. The backyard had a chicken coop, root cellar, large water cistern, and even a deluxe two-holer. Coal was delivered through the basement windows. 

They were both active in community affairs. Margaret taught Sunday school and belonged to the Order of the Eastern Star. She always said that she was mainly involved with bringing up her two girls! She was very adept at all forms of handiwork – sewing, knitting, crocheting, quilting and embroidery, and continued to be very active in this regard as a member of Hope Lutheran Church in Calgary. 

Barney was on the United Church Board and belonged to the Masons and Oddfellows Lodges. He enjoyed fishing, duck hunting, played on the local men’s baseball team, and they both curled. Summer Sunday afternoons were occasions for drives or picnics, often to Jumping Pound or Kananaskis, before any paved roads. They were blessed with many wonderful friends in Cochrane and area and enjoyed bridge games.

Barney’s Sunday mornings at home were often disturbed by people requesting the purchase of fishing licenses. Besides selling hardware, he was very involved in the installation and repair of appliances, large and small. In fact, on October 27, 1944, when Dianne was born, he was down F.L. Gainer’s well repairing a water pump! He had a pipe-threading machine in the back of the store, and also cut lots of glass there, especially after the severe hailstorm in 1945 that broke many windows in town and the surrounding area. 

Running the hardware store was a full time job until he hired Mr. Gogul, then Roy Downs, who eventually bought the store with Archie Kerfoot. Barney went to Calgary every Wednesday afternoon to do his buying 

from the warehouses. On one such occasion, he Shirley for a dental appointment, then to Barbara Ann Scott win the Canadian Figure Skating Championship at the Crystal Rink.

He was hit in the eye during a baseball game, fortunately just breaking his glasses. Another time he was fishing in the Bow River when the Ghost Dam gates were opened and he had a hard time getting to shore from the slippery rocks. Another interesting experience was swimming in the Banff Hot Springs with Kirk Kirkerberg (RCMP) and Mary when Kirk stepped on someone’s glass eye and everyone had quite a bit of fun with that. Daughter Shirley witnessed all these events 

Enid Gammon was very sick at one time so Barney being the same blood type, drove to the Calgary hospital and gave her a bedside blood transfusion. 

Barney was Mayor of Cochrane from 1954-1957. To quote Gordon Hall in Gary Stevenson’s column of June 26, 2002 in the Cochrane Times, “Barney Klassen was mayor and was instrumental in getting natural gas installed in the Village. He also had water, sewer and seven fire hydrants put in place. Klassen and the council were successful in getting the first mechanized Fire Brigade organized.” 

Following the sale of Klassen’s Hardware to Kerfoot Downs in 1958, Barney and Margaret moved to Calgary. They operated the Card and Candy Shop in North Hill Shopping Center for several years, then enjoying spending their winters in Mesa, Arizona. 

They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on July 31.1991. Barney died in May 1993, followed by Margaret two days later. After a double funeral, their ashes were scattered in Queen’s Park Cemetery in Calgary.

Scotch Kings

as told by William Laidlaw  pg 681 Big Hill Country 1977

William and Agnes King, their two sons, Adam and Billy, and four daughters, Jean, Maggie, Lizzie and May, came from Manitoulin Island, Ontario, in 1904. They purchased the Jim Reid place (the NE4 22-27-3-5), and Adam and Billy homesteaded the SW and SE quarters of 22 respectively. In later years the family added

several more quarters of land to their holdings, which became known as the Sunset Ranch. 

Another son, Jim, who was a Boer War veteran’, homesteaded at Michichi, Alberta. He married and had a family of two daughters and three sons. Jean married James Briggs. 


The Scotch Kings, as the family was called, were hard workers and staunch supporters of the Lochend Church. They built a large house, which still stands in a grove of tall spruces which they planted. The girls were keen gardeners, and always had a big vegetable patch and beautiful flowers. 

Billy King was elected a Member of the Legislative Assembly when Social Credit was swept into power in Alberta in 1935. He was the M.L.A. for this constituency from 1935 until 1939. 

Mr. and Mrs. King and Adam passed away while living at the ranch. The ranch was sold to Cleo Reilly in 1945, at which time Billy, Maggie, Lizzie and May moved to Calgary. Gardening became their hobby, and the grounds at their home on Elbow Drive have always been beautiful, as well as very productive. Billy, Maggie, and Lizzie have passed away. 

The King’s Sunset Ranch is presently owned by the Robert Ellis and Leon Doty families.

King Ranch 2023 From Google Earth

Deep Dive

Harvey and Margaret Buckley

pg 342 More Big Hill Country 2009

My early schooling was taken at Springbank where my twin brother and I walked to school as we lived so close. The school was across the road from our parent’s farm. Sometimes the Munro family would pick us up in their buggy as they drove right by our door on their way to school across the fields. 

I graduated from High School at Mount Royal College in 1950 after working on my parent’s farm and ranch operation. I then attended Olds School of Agriculture, taking the two year in one course, and graduated in 1952. My brother Clarence took the two year in one course the following year and graduated in 1953. 

Following graduation, we both went farming and ranching with our parents. My brother and I rented the Stretton place and farmed there for it was across the road from our parent’s farm. The Stretton place is now the home of the Springbank Park for All Seasons, the Springbank High School, and numerous acreages. We also had pasture land in the Jumping Pound district which my parents had purchased in the 1940s. Here we summered our beef cattle herd. 

At this time we were farming about 800 acres with two John Deere “D” tractors. What a lot of work! In 1954 we purchased the Henry Bolter place (six quarters) north of Cochrane adjacent to what is now high- way 567, one mile east of Weedon. 

We summered our cows in Jumping Pound and then weaned the calves and wintered them and the cow herd at home in Springbank. We trailed the cows in Spring and Fall between Springbank and Jumping Pound. After purchasing the Bolter place north of Cochrane we took the yearling steers we had wintered as weaned calves in Springbank and trailed them to Jumping Pound in early April. In early June we trailed them to the Bolter place. Here they would grow and fatten on the grass. In October we shipped them by truck to the Calgary Stockyards to the fall Feeder Sales.

Trailing those yearling steers from Jumping Pound through Cochrane to the Bolter Place was a real challenge. We started out about six miles west of Cochrane and came down to what is now George Fox Trail, crossing the Bow River at the George Bunney farm and the old bridge. More than once we had steers in their garden or running around in their chicken pen. The Bunneys were very good neighbours; today we would likely get sued for damages. That was the first challenge!

We then went up the road towards Howes Brothers Lumber, turned right across what is now Spray Lake Sawmills and the Domtar land then on towards McGonigle’s which was across the road from the present Canadian Tire Store. Rose always used the fences on the road for her clothes line and with all her children, there was always washing to do. That was the second challenge, getting by those clothes blowing in the wind! 

We then moved the cattle across the fields that is now the residential district of Glenbow, the Big Hill Creek and across the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks where the intersection of Highway 1A and Highway 22 is today. If there wasn’t a train coming, we coaxed the cattle across the rail line. This was the third challenge! 

Usually, the rest of the trip of about eight miles was uneventful, passing Cochrane Lakes using an undeveloped road allowance we came out at the Weedon Hall and headed east to our pasture land across from Powlesland’s. We trailed the cattle this way until about the late 1950’s when we had to revert to trucking the cattle because there were too many gravel roads by then and the cattle spent all summer getting over sore feet. So much for progress! 

In 1957, my brother and I both got married. Clarence remained on the Springbank property and my wife, Margaret and I moved to the Jumping Pound Ranch. Margaret was born and raised in the City of Calgary and had graduated from the Calgary General Hospital as a Registered Nurse. 

The Jumping Pound Ranch now consisted of fifteen quarters which had been bought over the previous twenty years. We proceeded to build our house, barn, and out buildings, planted 400 spruce trees, and planned and built our corrals and farmstead. We had a good team of horses along with our riding horses, four milk cows, and 100 laying hens.

I fed cows and hauled hay with the team and wagon and Margaret delivered the cream to the Cochrane Creamery and her eggs to many customers in Calgary. We used our car, with the back seat removed as a truck and with the seat in for our family car. One story comes to mind about the car/truck. I drove the tractor with the seeder north of Cochrane to the Bolter place but also needed the harrows. I arrived there and was visiting with our neighbour Fred Adams when Margaret came along in the car. Opening the back door, she pulled out the harrows, bid us farewell and headed back to Cochrane to deliver the cream to the creamery. Fred just stood there, removed his hat, and scratching his head said “Well, now I’ve seen everything!” 

Over the next 40 years, we were able to add another eight quarters and grazing and forestry permits to our land base. 

In 1959 our first son John was born. He was a busy little lad and loved the outdoors. We live on a side hill where the west wind blows almost constantly and so Margaret tied John to the clothesline with a lariat and he was able to play in the dirt pile by our house without getting blown away over the hill. There were no children John’s age to play with close by so he was always happy to see his cousins when they came up with Clarence. 

David and Grace Daniels and their family lived north of us at the old Merino Ranch buildings on the Stoney Indian Reserve. David often came over to help me and he brought his children over to play with John. Their favorite game was “Cowboys and Indians” and John was always disappointed because he wanted to be an Indian and the older Daniels kids wouldn’t let him. He had to be a cowboy because he was “white” and they gave him their younger siblings to be cowboys too. When it came time for the children to go to school they had a long drive on the school bus to pick up the Daniel’s children plus they had a long walk before they got to their stop. However, they were not strangers and it was good for John to see them again. 

In 1962 our second son, Bruce arrived and building on the ranch was progressing so that now we had a road to the bottom of the hill. What a treat that was. We only had to drive up the hill through the fields now and could see the house if we had to leave the car and walk when we got stuck. We now had a proper barn to milk the cows in and stable the horses. What luxury! No longer did I have to look after a cow during calving, tied it to a willow bush, or bring a cold calf in on my horse for Margaret to warm up in the house. A brand new calving barn was built the year Bruce was born and it certainly made checking cows every two hours 

in the bush at night a lot easier and warmer. Now I just had to go a few hundred yards and take my flashlight. Such a treat to have someplace to put the animals during those infamous April snowstorms! 

In 1965, we were all delighted when our daughter Carolyn arrived. Margaret was glad she wasn’t going to be raising a football team of boys and ordered a lovely “girly” girl who she could sew and knit and take to teas and shop with. The shopping and tea party thing did not materialize however but I managed to get another cowhand to help me out. 

In 1966, Dale Riddell came from Milverton, Ontario to work for me for the summer. He stayed and joined our family. He attended Olds Agricultural College and after graduation in 1968, he was employed by the University of Calgary to look after their animals and run their anticipated University Farm. When this did not materialize he worked for a Feed Company in Calgary and later moved to Red Deer as a news broadcaster. He was also involved with 4-H Clubs in the Red Deer area and then took a position with Alberta Wheat Pool in Calgary. 

Dale married Claudette Millard, a Registered Nurse. from Peterborough, Ontario who was working at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary and they raised two sons, Scott and Ryan, and a daughter Kari. 

Having come from a dairy farming family in Ontario and owning his own horse before coming west, Dale was always fond of animals. He joined the Springbank 4-H Beef Club and thus became involved for many 1 years with the 4-H movement. Dale was the first leader of the successful Jumping Pound 4-H Beef Club and throughout the years was very active with the 4-H Council. When the Alberta Wheat Pool amalgamated with Agricore, Dale was transferred to their headquarters in Winnipeg where he and Claudette still reside. He has since retired from Agricore but remains very busy consulting with various farm organizations. 

John, Bruce, and Carolyn attended school in Cochrane and graduated from Cochrane High School. They were involved in 4-H, football, hockey, and band and all the usual things that make Mom into a taxi driver. 

Carolyn was very involved in the Cochrane Pony Club that met at Bruce and Dorothy Boothby’s and then moved to our ranch for a number of years. Harold and Rachel Coward and their daughter Susan shared the driving to take the girls on weekends to the various three-phase events they competed in. It was great to get a break from the competitions the girls were in by sharing the driving with our truck, camper, and trailer. The girls competed in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan and enjoyed the camaraderie with their

instructor Sarah Leete. Even though Margaret is not fond of horses she learned to drive the truck and trailer to the many events the girls participated in. One thing she never did learn was to back up the truck and trailer. They had to get to the event early so she could drive in and turn around to face out or ask another parent to do the job for her. They have great memories of those times together in the summer while the boys and I were busy at home haying

The 1970s brought another change when we became involved with the Beefbooster group of cattle breeders, a group that we are still part of today. Great improvements have been made throughout the years to our cattle production

In 1972 I was appointed a member of the Alberta Agricultural Products Marketing Council and in 1981 I was appointed Chairman. I continued in that position and retired in 1996. During that period of time, I reported to eight different Ministers of Agriculture for the Province of Alberta. I enjoyed the work and it was a great experience to be able to broaden my agricultural knowledge and myself in the experience of working with people

John came home to the ranch after graduating from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Science in 1981. While at University he played in an Aggie band Livestockand thoroughly enjoyed his four years up in Edmonton. He met many good friends that have kept in touch through the years. In 1984, John married Tracy Sloan, daughter of Lang and Doris Sloan from Calgary. Tracy is a graduate of Olds Agricultural College and is an Animal Health Technician. They have two sons Trevor, presently serving with the Calgary Highlanders in Afghanistan, and Eric who has just graduated from high school and is planning to continue his education while also serving in the Calgary Highlanders Reserve. Both boys attended school in Cochrane graduating from Cochrane High. Today John and Tracy are involved in managing our Quarter Circle X Ranch, while John enjoys his music and Tracy enjoys her horses

Bruce attended the University of Calgary and obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree in General Studies. He then attended the University of Victoria Law School and graduated in 1987 with a Law Degree. He married Patricia TrishWigglesworth, daughter of John and Betty Wigglesworth from Calgary in 1987 and articled with a law firm in Red Deer, Alberta. Bruce and Trish live in Red Deer and Bruce now has his own law practice. They have a son Alex and a daughter Mollie who are attending elementary school and keeping their parents very busy. Bruce and Trish

have just finished restoring the “Manning House” an historic home in Red Deer which has become Bruce’s Law Office. They were just honored with a 2008 Red Deer Heritage Recognition Award by the City of Red Deer.

After graduating from Cochrane High School, Carolyn worked as a secretary for an Agricultural Consulting Firm in Calgary. In 1988 she married Dwayne Walker from Radium, British Columbia. They lived in Radium for a number of years then moved to an acreage southeast of Carseland, Alberta. They have two children, a daughter Jessica and a son Ryan. Both children attend high school in Strathmore, Alberta. Jessica and Ryan are both avid soccer players and keep their parents busy cheering them on at their many championship games. Dwayne is employed with Volker Stevin and Carolyn works in Calgary as a receptionist for a large cargo shipping firm. 

Ranching has certainly changed in the last 50 to 60 years. It is not a profession for the timid as globalization of the world has made the agricultural industry one of the most competitive and stressful professions. 

Margaret and I have been very involved in our communities and have had the good fortune of receiving numerous awards of recognition. We celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary last year and had the entire family on a holiday to remember. 


Changing times and events to remember: 

Trailing cattle in the 1950s and 1960s home in November from what is now Kananaskis Country when it was -20 to -30 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. This was part of ranch life so we just put on more clothes and did the job. 

Crossing yearling steers over the Bow River Bridge at Cochrane.

The difference between winter and summer was you got up at 6 am instead of 5:30 am to do chores and breakfast was at 7 am. Dinner was at noon unless you had made lunch and you were eating frozen sandwiches somewhere out in the bush. Supper was at 6 pm or 7 pm or whenever you got home. The phrase “coffee break” was not invented yet. 

Trailing cattle home late at night by moonlight worked fine, especially if there was snow on the ground. Some days you were so cold the only thought that kept you going was your warm bed at night. 

The scoop shovel was standard equipment. You never left home in your car without one just in case the snow had drifted and you had to shovel your way home. 

The first four-wheel drive trucks; they sure made a difference. Coming home with your load of hay, carefully driving the team so that you don’t tip your load over, and just when you get in sight of home a west wind gets up and blows you, your wagon, and the hay over SO you start all over again. 

We have spent a great fifty-plus years together raising our children and are now fortunate enough to be able to enjoy their children. We have enjoyed the opportunity to work with many talented and gifted people throughout the years in our many home, community, provincial, national, and international organizations. We have been fortunate to have been able to travel to many places and learn about things that make this world turn. We also have had the pleasure of witnessing and participating in great changes in the ranching and cattle industries and for that, we are very thankful.

Deep Dive

Bob and Shirley Thomas family

By Shirley Thomas pg 753 More Big Hill Country 2009

Bob and I were married fifty years ago, on September 21, 1957. 

I grew up on a dairy farm on what is now Lochend Road, between Calgary and Cochrane. My Dad, Thomas Wearmouth, came from Durham County, England, in March 1906. He homesteaded the SW Sec 2 Twp 26 Rge 3 W5M in 1909. He worked at the Glenbow Quarry while proving his homestead. He built a small house and decorated the yard with buffalo skulls and rocks. Tom met Annie Standring who lived several miles north. Her parents were Richard and Mary Ann (Polly) Standring. They had come from Lancashire, England in 1902 and they homesteaded on what is Marg Chalack’s farm today. Annie’s siblings were John, Betty, Maggie, and Dorothy. Tom Wearmouth and Annie Standring were married in June 1913. They had a family of seven: Winnie, Dick, Hugh, Walter, Bill, Dennis, and myself, Shirley. 

Mother and Dad were very active in the community. Of course, the early times were horse and buggy days. It was a hard life with no electricity or running water but still, they did many things. Mother was a Charter Member of the Glendale Women’s Institute and a member of Eastern Star. She was a wonderful cook. sewed and quilted, had a large garden, and loved to ride. She was an excellent horsewoman and won many races at the local gymkhanas. She was loved and respected by relatives and friends. Dad was a Charter member of the Masonic Lodge in Cochrane. He was an early riser and a hard worker. Sadly, Mother had cancer. She had operations and radium treatments but died in 1937 at 45 years. I was two years old. 


Winnie and Dick stayed with Dad and took on family responsibilities. Winnie took charge of the house and looked out for us. She enjoyed activities in the community. She was a member of the Glendale Women’s Institute and a Founding Member of the Cochrane Art Club. She was a wonderful friend to family and neighbors. She lived on the homestead for seventy-five years but passed away in 1993. 

With five brothers, there were always lots of activities. They all had their interests and kept busy with the work on the farm. There were lots of fun times, too. Eventually, they started moving away. First Hugh, then Walter, Bill, and Dennis. They married and had families. We had many family gatherings. It was great to belong to a large family. 

As a youngster, I helped with the housework. I worked especially hard so I could have time outdoors as I loved to ride. We rode three miles to a one-roomed school called Glendale. Twenty to thirty students from grades one to nine attended and just one teacher. More than half rode to school. There was a horse barn. It was amazing that there were few problems with the horses. At recess and noon, we always went outdoors to play. I guess that was the only way the teacher could stay sane. There were some schoolyard altercations but the big kids would help keep order. We had a lot of fun riding to school with our friends. One winter we had a lot of snow. My horse plunged and plunged through the drifts, nearly becoming exhausted, but would not stop until she was clear. In the summer we would bring the milk cows home from the pasture after school. If the flies were bad, it might take a long time to get them out of the trees. We always had collie dogs and they would help. 

My brother Dennis and I would try to hitch young calves up to a little wagon. It was not very successful as the calves would not cooperate. One year, Hugh gave me a late little calf. I fed “Albert” diligently and he thrived. I would ride to the pasture and feed him grain and I kept him for three years. It was a sad day when he went to the market. 

I helped hay by raking with a team of horses. Sometimes Dick was haying prairie wool in areas among willow trees. It was difficult to get the hay raked in the little spaces but even harder to get it stacked. Dennis and I would often tramp the stack in the field and in the loft. 

I remember one summer as a kid, going Saskatoon picking near what is now the Retreat. It was Bowhay’s land. Many people came and we had a picnic. We filled milk cans with saskatoons. It must have been a good berry year. 

We had a dairy farm with mostly Holstein cattle. We had workhorses and riding horses, dogs, cats, chickens, turkeys, and a couple of pigs. A large garden was essential. No electricity was available until 1949. There were lots of chores. Wood and coal stoves would go out at night and it was cold in the morning but Dad was the best fire maker and soon we were warm. The coal oil lampshades would become black with soot and we could not read. We had to blow out the lamp before we could clean the shade. 

I belonged to the 4-H Beef and Dairy Club, the Junior Red Cross, and many school activities. We learned to skate on the sloughs. 

Some of my best memories of growing up were riding in the late evening, watching a beautiful sunset over the mountains, and seeing a harvest moon rising in the eastern sky. Coyotes may be howling and birds calling. The natural beauty was overwhelming. 

From 1950-1953 I attended Crescent Heights High School in Calgary. That was quite a change from thirty students to fifteen hundred students. I boarded in the city but came home on weekends to help Winnie. Nearly every Friday there was a country dance where we had great times. 

In 1953 I entered the Calgary General Hospital School of Nursing. Spending three years in residence resulted in lasting friendships and a great education. 

Bob was born October 27, 1931, in Hardisty, Alberta. His Dad, Tom Thomas had come from Kent, England in 1919. His Uncle Frank Matthews was farming near Hardisty. Tom worked for Frank and later rented a farm. He met Edna Bertina Lyseng who was nursing at the Hardisty Hospital. She was from a family of thirteen. Her parents had immigrated to Canada from the USA after coming from Norway. They settled in the Armena area near Camrose. Tom and Edna were married in 1930. Bob’s sister, Joyce, was born in 1934. Bob remembers driving a team and wheat-filled wagon to an elevator at Bot. This was a few miles from home but he was only eight years old. The elevator operator came and put a pole through the back wheel spokes and drove the wagon down the steep approach. The wagon was emptied and Bob drove home. Tom joined The Royal Edmonton Regiment in 1939. He went to England with the First Division. Edna, Bob, and Joyce went to Calgary. Edna spent some time in the Baker Tuberculosis Sanatorium and Bob spent his summers at Lyseng farms near Armena. His Dad served in Sicily and Italy. He came home in the summer of 1945 and Bob went with the horse and buggy to meet him at the train at Armena. 

Bob attended schools in Calgary completing high school at Western Canada High. Those were the days of the Sateen Club. It was the largest Teen Club in Western Canada. All the High Schools participated. Bob was an active member. Their activities included dances with big bands, ski trips, mystery trips, and radio programs. No alcohol was allowed. 

After high school, Bob worked for a survey company. They surveyed the power line that goes through Kananaskis. In 1952 Bob came to Bearspaw and worked for Norman Newsome. He drove a truck hauling milk, in cans, from the farms to the dairies in Calgary. He met Cliff Gillespie and Ted Cushing who owned the Bearspaw Service Station. He then took Automotive Mechanics at TEC (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology). He apprenticed at the station and got his ticket in 1954. 

Bob and I met in 1954. We were married in 1957 and we lived in the city for a short time. In 1958 we ran a dairy farm near Cochrane. We were on a rural telephone line with fourteen neighbors; our ring was five longs. An emergency was announced by ten long rings. Then everyone would listen to find out what was the emergency. Often it was a grass fire.

Bruce and Glen were born when we were dairying. When my Dad became ill, we moved there to help with his care. We bought an acreage from Dick and had a small house moved. Dad passed away in October 1962. We moved to the acreage in February 1963 and lived there for forty-one years. Here we raised our four sons: Bruce, Glen, Keith, and Wayne. Bob was employed by Whittle Implements of Cochrane. He went to farms and ranches to repair machinery. He met many of the old timers and “characters” of the area. What stories were told! 

Bob also worked for the Alberta Forestry and later Fairbanks Morse, which specializes in gas compres- sion engines and compressors. He still does some work for them. Bob has been a member of the Bearspaw Lions for over forty five years. He was awarded the prestigious Melvin Jones Fellow recognizing his dedication to the work of the Lions organization. Bob coached and managed minor hockey and baseball. He played Oldtimer Hockey and enjoyed skiing, cycling, and curling. Golfing is now a favorite sport. 

Nursing has always been an important part of my life. I worked over 35 years (often part-time) in a variety of nursing positions. With raising our family I worked shifts and weekends so one of us could be at home. What a boon were oven timers and casseroles! I enjoyed sewing and took many courses. I received my Occupational Nursing Certificate from Grant MacEwen College. I was Nursing Home Manager when the Bethany opened in Cochrane in 1988. I spent several years at the Palliative Care Unit at the Calgary General Hospital. Gardening and outdoor activities kept me busy. I belong to the Glendale Women’s Institute, Healing Touch Calgary, and am active with Community and Church and I love golfing. 

We were the first acreage in this area (1963). All our sons attended Cochrane Schools. The bus picked Bruce up at 7:30 am and he was home at 5:00 pm. . In the 1970s, farms were sold and more acreages were developed. As more people moved in, more schools were built in Cochrane. More buses meant shorter ride times. The schools could offer more options. The new neighbors joined the community activities and they were a great asset. Some coached sports teams, and helped with Cubs and Scouts and other activities. Roads were improved and an indoor arena was built. But the farms were being displaced. The area had been primarily dairy and mixed farms. Many were homesteads. In the 1980s, 1990’s and 2000’s more development took place. Huge homes were built. Many students went to private schools. The whole landscape changed. Our sons, Bruce, Glen, Keith, and Wayne, participated in many activities. Sports included hockey, baseball, football, rugby, lacrosse, swimming, skiing, and track. They belonged to Cubs, Scouts, and 4-H. They enjoyed music and drama. They excelled in many areas. There seemed to always be kids playing football, lawn hockey or other interests. They crowded into the house for their favorite snacks. Getting them to their games was a challenge. No seat belts were required or available so our station wagon was filled with kids and equipment. We traveled many, many miles. Most times we picked up some of their friends. There was never a dull moment. These were busy, wonderful times. 


For holidays we often went camping. Many times we went to the Mara or Shuswap Lakes in British Columbia. We all enjoyed water skiing, the sandy beaches, and campfires. We all have tales to tell of those times, like being caught far out in the lake in a wild storm or being buried in the sand, or camping under the stars on a lonely beach. Downhill skiing was learned at Paskapoo (Canada Olympic Park). We had fun ski trips. We took the family to Disneyland. Being in the country was great. We had a dog, cats, horses, and sometimes cattle. The Prairie Trail was great for motorbikes. After a dune buggy ride through an obstacle course in our field after a heavy rain, the occupants could not be recognized. Glen was especially proud of fixing an old truck. He drove it proudly up to the garage and into the door! The brakes did not work. 

Bruce had friends over for a party on the deck. Our neighbors, Phil and Bob Norris could hear George Fox singing from the roof of our house and a band blaring out popular music. Keith and Ron launched rockets. Some were never found, so they must have gone far. Wayne won a 250 motorbike and was the envy of his brothers. The boys were unique in their interests and personalities but had a family bond. There were many fun times with their cousins and friends. They tell tales of those days and we wonder where we were! The boys completed High School in Cochrane. They went to University, to work, or to Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. 

As a Civil Engineer, Bruce spent two years in Chile coordinating projects on a Gas Pipeline over the Andes Mountains. He and Philippa now live in Cochrane. Philippa has worked with horses most of her life and has a wonderful way with animals. Bruce works for an Engineering Company in Calgary. 

Glen worked for TransAlta Utilities for fourteen years advancing to high voltage, “hotline” work. Later he had his own business and was a “stay-at-home Dad”. He now works for Enmax. Elise is a Grade six teacher. She is very busy with many, varied activities. They have a daughter Mahri (10 years) and a son Will (7 years). They both play soccer. Mahri figure skates. They love the water and are good swimmers. They live in Altadore, Calgary 

Keith is an Aeronautical Engineering Technologist. He designs oil and gas field equipment. Laura is a Florist and has an amazing yard. They have a son, Mitchell who loves skateboarding. They live in Riverbend, Calgary. 

Wayne completed Electronics at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and worked for Canon for years. He then took teaching at University and teaches at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Patricia has a home-based position in sales. They live in New Westminister, British Columbia.

In 2004 we sold our acreage and moved to the site where my Dad homesteaded. We added a sunroom to the old house and have a beautiful view of our red barn silhouetted against our bright sunrises. To the west, from our windy hill, the Rockies are magnificent. 

In 2005 we held a Wearmouth Family Reunion. With the help of nieces and nephews, we cleaned the loft of our 60-year-old dairy barn. Outside stairs were built and Dan and helpers made a lift for Seniors and Wheelchairs. We had room for RVs. About 150 people attended. Weekend activities included campfires, wiener roasts, “funny money” Texas Hold ’em poker. This included young kids to 90-year-olds. A horseshoe tournament was held. Scavenger hunts, mummy wrapping, digging in the straw for prizes, just visiting, and kids running about, were all enjoyed. Many a story was told. Jeff gave rides in his Model T. Vicki gave rides in her Beetle Convertible. A mighty beef and potluck meal was devoured. A special Birthday cake was a surprise for Dick’s 90th Birthday. As darkness approached, adults sat on chairs on the hillside. The kids sat on the grass and awaited the fireworks. Bruce, Glen, Keith, and Wayne did a great job. There were lots of oohs and ahs. The kids were rolling on the ground with laughter at the fireworks with sound effects! It was a wonderful weekend at the Homestead, celebrating our own lives and the lives of our ancestors. 

We enjoy our Grandchildren, Mahri, Mitchell, and Will. They have fun on our farm. They love to go camping and enjoy the campfire, fishing, and climbing the Badlands. This year we went to Dinosaur Park near Brooks. They found real dinosaur bones embedded in the ground. They have a great time together. 

Bob and I have always had an RV. We have seen the farthest point West, East, and South in Canada. We have been to all Provinces and Territories except Nunavit. In February we enjoyed a cruise through the Panama Canal. After our 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration in September, we spent some time with friends, camping, and golfing.

Life and the area have changed greatly through the years. Fortunately, we still enjoy life with family and friends. We have many interests and activities. We look forward to the opening of the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park located along the Bow River between Calgary and Cochrane. What a great country!

Deep Dive

The Vision of Cochrane Pioneers

Cochrane’s continued explosive growth made me consider why I’m a member of CHAPS and of an article I compiled about the Nan Boothby Memorial Library a couple of years ago. The Town is also concerned as they recently asked for public input.

The mission of CHAPS is to identify, preserve, protect, and educate the public about
historically significant properties and buildings in Cochrane, Alberta. With this growth we can lose the memories and consequently the vision of early settlers.

The Cochrane Historical Museum supported by CHAPS is run by volunteers and is in need of your support.

Become a Member

CHAPS needs volunteers to support the Museum, its Executive, and a variety of projects.

“Gordon Davies, a CHAPS member who remembers visiting Nan and her library in the basement as a kid said volunteers are the cornerstone to many services in town and their efforts shouldn’t be forgotten once it’s taken over municipally. It’s a shame that people who are recent residents of Cochrane don’t understand (the history). I think that’s too bad because I think that part of Cochrane is really important. I think there are other organizations and groups that will face the same thing.” Davies said.”

“Cochrane now enjoys a Library that was started by the vision and hard work of our community’s great-grandmothers in tough times. I hope this history won’t be lost.”

Deep Dive

James Quigley Family

by Alex Quigley, aged 85 years pg 260 Big Hill Country 1977

James Quigley, my father, was born in Old Monkland, Scotland, and when a child moved to the Parish of Bothwell. Mother, Annie Lawson, was born in Kilsyth, Sterlingshire, Scotland, and also moved to Bothwell, where she met Dad and where they were married in 1877. 

Dad and his three brothers were all miners. They were following a coal seam three miles under the ocean when a big explosion flooded the mine. Dad was not working that day, but Mother lost a brother and his two sons. Dad and Mother were determined not to let their sons be coal miners, so Dad took Tom, aged four years, and sailed for Canada. He settled in Westville, Nova Scotia, and Mother, my brother James and

my sister Mary came later. Here, Sarah and Sam were born and Dad worked in the mines with his three brothers, Tom, Joe and Sam. There is a monument in Nova Scotia honoring Sam and Joe for their excellent service in the mining industry. 

In 1884 Dad moved his family to Lethbridge, then known as Galt, North West Territories, and in 1885 came to Cochrane. He built a home for his family on land in the east end of the Village. Annabelle, myself, Joe, Bob, Susan, Lizzie, Johnny and George were all born here. 


Our brother Jim was sixteen years old and he wanted to leave home and go to work on the railroad. John Pedeprat, brother of Charlie, went to Golden, British Columbia, to build some cabins so Jim went with him. Jim got a job braking on a logging train there. Tom went and brought him back but he left again in January 1902. We got word Jim was killed at Nelson, British Columbia, he had slipped on the hard snow and fallen under a train. Johnny, aged two, died in 1902 and George died in 1903 at the age of three. There was no cemetery in Cochrane so the boys were buried near our homestead. A number of the Hewitt children were buried there too. Dad persuaded Pete Collins to sell some of his land on the hill north of the village of Cochrane and the present cemetery site was established. The bodies that were laid to rest on our homestead were moved up to the cemetery on the hill. 

The Hillcrest mine west of Lethbridge was getting ready to open up, and work being very scarce around Cochrane at the time, Dad went there to work in the mine.

Another mine disaster occurred; Jim Quigley, a nephew of Dad’s, was killed. 

Dad came back home and took a job to supply three sheep ranchers in the area with groceries, mail, and sheep dip. These ranchers were: one east of Cochrane, the Merino Ranch southwest of Cochrane, and a sheep ranch north of Cochrane. I well remember the great flocks of sheep coming into the corrals at night. Coyotes were numerous and sheep losses were heavy at

times. At shearing time they would put the wool in big sacks and these were loaded in hayracks and taken to Cochrane to be loaded on the train. 

Dad worked very hard and saved enough money to buy 26 acres of land from the C.P.R. There was a hill on this land and a good spring was flowing from it so Dad piped water from it into our house. We were the first family to have water piped into the house. Dad and Mr. Bruce got the first school started in Cochrane; there were enough children with the Bruce family and our family to open one. 

Our brother Tom was a big lad and very handy at building things. He built a wagon from old brake wheels, thrown away off the boxcars. He bought an old horse and drove around gathering up buffalo bones for the sugar refineries. They used these bones for bleaching the sugar. Tom piled the bones along the railway track and they were loaded into boxcars when there were enough to ship. We kids had lots of fun playing on the big piles of bones. 

With Dad’s savings and Tom’s earnings they bought two cows, another horse and a real wagon. The wagon was bought at T. Eaton’s. Sarah and Mary learned to milk and to make butter and it was Sam’s job to look after the calves. Tom got a job planning and plowing fireguard for the C.P.R. from Cochrane to Glenbow. He had to plow up around the big

coulee east of town and north of the railway line. This coulee is on the south end of, and below the present sanitary disposal grounds. He did the sidehills with a sulky plow. At that time a road was getting underway from Calgary. Dad got a job on the C.P.R. as a section foreman working the line seven miles west of town. 


Tom along with Tom Fisher built the brickyard east of town. The C.P.R. was trying to buy back the 26 acres Dad bought because they wanted to run our spring down to the tracks. Dad had paid $10.00 an acre for the land and they wanted to buy it back for the same price but Dad would not sell.

By this time the town of Mitford was going down. The sawmill and brickyard had folded up and all the English help had left the Tom Cochranes. Dad bought a big English grand piano with a flat top from Lady Adela Cochrane and Tom hauled it from Mitford to our place. It was too big to go through the door so they had to tear off some of the front of the house to get it in. In 1889 Charlie Pedeprat and his brother John built a new house for Dad and Mother. 

By this time I was ready to go to work and got a job at Horse Creek helping to get rail ties with my brother Tom. He now owned a new team and had purchased a new set of harnesses from Fisher’s store. By now we had a number of horses and cattle. One old horse was a pet and we called it Borgy. It would let five of us on it and often five of us did get on and ride him around. Dad finally sold all the horses except Borgy. Some of the horses were sold to a man at Ashcroft, British Columbia, for bush work, and Dan Foster who was in the dray business in

Cochrane, bought some. Tom started a sawmill at Jack Ass Canyon, north of Radnor. He ran a rail line up the Grand Valley to haul the lumber. Bill Robinson had come West for harvest and he was on his way back to Centralia, Ontario, when he decided to come to Cochrane to visit his brother Jack. Tom persuaded him to stay and work in the sawmill so he became a millwright and helped set up the sawmill. Later Bill mar- ried my sister Sarah. 

At 21 Sam left to work on the C.N.R. (Grand Trunk at that time) in Saskatchewan. Tom married Ethel Bassett and built his own home in the east end of town. They had five children. His wife died in 1909; Mother took Gordon, Tom’s youngest boy, and raised him, and Mr. and Mrs. Foster raised Ronald. I left in 1898 to work on the railroad in Saskatchewan. My sister Mary married George Mortimer, a dray man in Cochrane. Annabell married Alex MacKay and they lived at the Merino Ranch for sometime. Lizzie married Bert Sibbald of Cochrane. Bob and Joe left home and went to work in Banff and Lake Louise for Brewsters and later for the C.P.R. Dad had to have help on the ranch so he hired a chap by the name of Dave Van Ambler. 

Jim Hewitt, my cousin, came to Cochrane and he married Alice Howard. They started the first pool hall in Cochrane. 

War broke out in 1914 and Joe, Bob, Sam and I joined up. After the war Sam and I went back railroading in Melville, Saskatchewan. Joe and Bob returned to the Rockies but in 1923 I persuaded them to come to Melville and work on the railroad. Dad sold the cattle ranch and built a new brick house across the road from our home on the 26 acres. They built the home in 1916. In later years Lizzie and Bert Sibbald lived in the house. The big house built in 1889 became a hospital and Mrs. Campbell Roberts was in charge of it. Dr. Park was the doctor and May Coatsworth was the head nurse. 

Mother laid the cornerstone at the Saint Andrews United Church at Cochrane in 1910. 

Dad and Mother celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1927. Dad passed away in 1930 at the age of 73 years and Mother in 1940 at the age of 82 years. 

Note: Alex Quigley, writer of this story, passed away in January 1975. 

Deep Dive

Bernice Irene Buckler Klotz

pg 554 More Big Hill Country 2009

The youngest of five children born to Roy and Iris Buckler, I was born on April 27, 1956, in Calgary, Alberta. Our family lived on a farm in the Bottrel area, fifteen miles north of Cochrane, until the summer of 1957. At that time we moved into the village of Cochrane. Being ten years younger than my next sibling, Pat, I was the only one at home by 1963. My schooling took place in Cochrane Elementary, grade six in the old Cochrane brick school, and grades seven to twelve in the Cochrane High School. From November 1971 to May 1974 I worked part-time at Mount Saint Francis Retreat House. During the summer of 1974, I helped Dad and Mildred (my eldest sister) build her and her husband Jack’s home in Exshaw. In September of 1974, I started working for Calgary Power Ltd. in the Purchasing Department in the Calgary office. 


For my first paid vacation my parents, niece Jacquie, and I went to Reno, Nevada to visit my Aunt Jessie and Uncle Vern Troxell. This was Mom’s first trip to the U.S. to see her family since she was married. This was Jacquie’s first time in the U.S. and we had to have special permission to take her from school as she was only fourteen. For me, this trip started a life-long passion for travel. In the spring of 1976 one of my school friends, Heather Robinson, and I decided to try our hand at some “real” traveling. In September-October of that year, we spent some time traveling in the United Kingdom. We spent two weeks using the Brit Rail system in England and Scotland before crossing the English Channel to Holland and staying with a family friend, Marcel Cox. Marcel was at home to see his sister Frances, who graciously invited us into her home and toured us around Holland. At one time we had our picture taken with Heather, Frances and I standing together but each of us was in a different country. 

In April of 1977, I left Calgary Power, and, after a quick trip to see my Aunt Jessie and Uncle Vern, I started working for Domtar Chemicals Ltd. in Cochrane. In April of 1978 Heather and I quit our jobs and May 1st found us on our way to England. We spent May and June traveling the U.K. and several Western European countries. Marcel Cox was on a one-year sabbatical at this time and living with his sister Frances in Holland. Again they took us in and we toured the countryside before they delivered us to meet up with our tour bus. We made many life-long friends on that tour. We were to spend five days in London, but at the last minute scrapped that idea to meet up with new friends from Australia in Ireland. They had adopted us during the first tour and were able to convince Heather it was safe to travel to southern Ireland. Pat McCarthy was Irish and was going home with his wife Therese to visit his parents in the Cork area. After a fast-moving three days. with many mishaps, we managed to catch the ship back to England with minutes to spare. We spent another ten days on an organized tour of England, Scotland and Wales. 

Arriving home on June 28th, 1978, I just had time to unpack and repack immediately in order to attend the First International Balderson Reunion in Spokane. Washington with my Mom and Dad. 

Once we returned home from Washington, I looked into going to Australia on a working holiday with the International Agricultural Exchange Association. By September 15, 1978, I was accepted to work in Tasmania, Australia on a sheep station as a house help. Before leaving I worked with Dad at the Retreat House remodeling their garage, building a greenhouse, putting a roof over the back deck as well as other small jobs to help pay for my ticket to Australia. On November 11, 1978, I boarded a DC-8 bound for Sydney. After spending a week at one of Melbourne’s colleges, everyone was shipped out to their Host families. I spent four months at “Red Rock” a farm owned by Don and Vivienne McShane. There was also a German trainee assigned to “Red Rock”, a chap called Jorg. As long as we stuck to English the family and I understood each other, but if they spoke Australian or I spoke Canadian all was lost. At one point Viv told me to wash my “duna cover”, so I washed the bedspread. I later found out that a “duna” is a quilt and the quilts had removable covers. Also, I had a hard time getting used to the sun being high in the north. In “Down Under” the clothes don’t dry as well if they are hung on the south side of the trees. I was very fortunate to be placed in Tasmania, as it is very similar to the Cochrane area. Lots of trees, rolling hills, a river at the bottom end of the farm, and mountains in the distance. Two things that I found very strange were to be pod- ding fresh garden peas for Christmas dinner and to have an outdoor picnic on Boxing Day. Once the job portion of the trip was over, I traveled from

Melbourne to Cairns and back down the east coast to Sydney sightseeing and visiting people I had met on the European tours. I spent two weeks in Sydney with the McCarthy family. When I arrived home in Canada one of the first questions asked was “Did you see a Tasmanian Devil?” The Tasmanian Devil is a most unusual animal found only on the Island State of Tasmania, a part of Australia. They are very ferocious animals, but will not attack unless cornered and, although carnivorous, only attack weak and sick animals that can’t defend themselves. Not at all like the famous one on Bugs Bunny.

I returned to Canada on April 28, 1979, and because of the time difference and crossing the International Date Line, I landed in Vancouver ten minutes before I left Sydney. I also managed two birthdays in one year; one for twenty-four hours in Sydney and one for four or five hours over the Pacific Ocean. 

Shortly after returning home, I returned to construction with Dad. We worked on adding the back porch to Dolly and Allister Moore’s home, using bricks from the Simpson house that Allister and I retrieved and cleaned. While helping to finish building the garage and pour the cement walkways and driveway I received a call from Ray Whittle asking if I was looking for a job. I started to work for Whittle Agencies Ltd. on August 20, 1979, working full-time until January 1991 and part-time until Ray sold the business. Then I worked part-time with the new owners, Hi-Alta, based in High River. Finally, in 2000 I retired to look after Dad full-time. During this time my parents and I took several trips including England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales in 1982. In 1986 we went to Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii on a five-week holiday and my nephew Clinton went with us. We returned home on May 12, and on May 14th, Dad’s 71st birthday, we were snowbound as over two feet of wet snow closed down the highways. August 1992 Mom, Dad, and I drove the Alaskan Highway, going up and back in fifteen days, just getting through the mountain passes before they were closed with snow storms. 

In July of 1986 our neighbour, Bill Laidlaw, passed on. Bill’s lot was left for Dad to buy or at least right of first refusal. Dad purchased the lot and in November he and I started to tear the buildings down. We found that the original building was a granary on skids, with a second shack added on plus the newer kitchen that Bill had added in the 1980s. In April 1987 the basement hole was increased and we started to build my new house. Dad was not one to waste, but my brother David informed me that unless Dad had me invest in some new nails David would not help in the construction. Dad straightened old ones to put the frames for the cement footings together. I bought new nails. I was very fortunate to have my own contractor. I would design whatever I wanted to be built and he would build it. The design of my house is completely mine. The family would come by on weekends when the walls were to be lifted and the rafters to be raised. Mainly it was Dad, David, and I hammering nails until Moe (Maurice) came on the scene to help. He arrived with a new “french” hammer and by the end of the day, its claws had broken off. David joked that he had never worked with anyone so confident that he wouldn’t need to pull any nails that he would use a clawless hammer. Moe (Maurice) Gerald Klotz was a family friend who had been coming around from time to time. That spring he and I started dating and by October we were married. We stayed with Mom and Dad until November when we moved into our own home. Moe is fond of telling people that our courtship was building the house. I think we actually went to two movies that summer but decided if we were going to sleep through them, it was a waste. I was in charge of staging a Balderson family reunion at Grainger, Alberta, for my mother’s 15 brothers and sisters that summer, and Moe was introduced to our very large family. In 1989 Moe discovered the Buckler Family has reunions every five years. He had to deal with another large group of relatives, as I organized this event as well. Being so close to Calgary, we have had the opportunity to have lots of company come to stay with us. In 1989, my host mother from Australia, Vivienne, and her cousin Peg came and spent a week with us. It was great to be able to return a little of the hospitality, showing them Alberta and through British Columbia to Vancouver to connect with their flight home.

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

Moe (Maurice) was born on March 26, 1945, in Regina, Saskatchewan. He was raised on the family farm near Vibank, Saskatchewan. He took grades one to eight in the Tache School near the farm, then grades nine and ten in Elsas High School in Vibank. For grades eleven and twelve Moe attended Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. After graduation he went to work for MacDonalds Consolidated in Regina. Later he worked for Associated Groceries in Alberta, before working at MacDonalds Consolidated again. He spent some time in Edmonton, Lumsden and Cochrane, taking courses and looking into Franciscan life. 

It was during this time in 1973 that Moe and I met at Mount Saint Francis Retreat House. Then he went to work for Safeway Canada Ltd. in Calgary and Airdrie. In 1987 we were married and built our home in Cochrane. We both worked in the community. Moe started his own small business that he has continued as a sideline after joining the maintenance staff of the local gas extraction plant. Moe and I enjoy traveling. We have made several short trips to the States, toured the Maritimes, and made short trips around the western provinces. We’re looking forward to more traveling once he retires. In the meantime, I spend a lot of time with CHAPS, looking to preserve the history of Cochrane. I enjoy helping to plan the spring and fall fundraising dinners as well as working on several ongoing projects.

Deep Dive

Jim and Lydia Graham

pg 470 More Big Hill Country 2009

Jim, Lydia, and their children Russell and Beth moved back west to Cochrane in 1975 after 9 years of working and studying in Eastern Canada. Jim joined the Faculty of Management at the University of Calgary and Lydia became involved in Cochrane community activities. Cochrane was a small town in 1975. On one of his first trips downtown, Jim was accosted by a senior citizen who asked who he was and where he came from. She was concerned that, with all the new people in town, there were a lot of people she didn’t know. After a series of questions, she was pleased to learn that Jim was one of the Grahams who came from a farm north and west of Vulcan. However, she was not familiar with Lydia’s family, the Properzis who had homesteaded in the Barrhead region in the early 1920s. 

Jim and Lydia have been very involved in their community. Lydia’s first community efforts were the forming of a preschool and presuming the option for a French immersion program in Cochrane Schools. She ran for council in 1986 and served as councilor for 6 and mayor for 9 years. During that time Cochrane grew from 2500 to over 10,000 and the council was faced with a complicated series of problems concerning recreation, infrastructure, land use and other growth issues. Lydia provided direction and leadership to the council. One of the highlights of her time was the negotiation of an agreement for a sewer line to Calgary which was paid for by the province and the City of Calgary. Since her retirement from public office, Lydia sits on the Board of CHAPS, FCSS, and is involved with the All Saints Anglican Church. 

Jim helped coach ringette and served on the vestry of All Saints. In addition to teaching and researching, Jim served as Assistant Dean of both the Undergraduate and Graduate Programs. He and several colleagues developed the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Jim led the development of The Enterprise MBA Program which was selected as the best Entrepreneurship Program in North American Business Schools. Jim served as Chairman of the Board of Calgary Vocational Services (now called Prospects), and served on the Board of a number of Public and Private Corporations. Jim’s consulting company J. B. Graham & Associates Ltd. has served large and small, public and private clients over the last 30 years providing market research, business strategy, and employee training. Since Jim retired from the University of Calgary in 1996 he and Russell have worked to develop new technologies for mineral processing, oil sands cleaning, and effective coal combustion. 

Russell Graham completed is Bachelor of Arts in Economics at the University of Calgary where he played football for the Dinos. He married Maureen Beveridge, a dental hygienist, in 2001 and has a son Tanner. Russell is the operations manager for Aerosion Ltd. and is active in the Calgary business community. Beth Graham earned both a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from the University of Alberta and is a professional actress and writer in Edmonton. She’s won numerous awards for her acting and plays. Beth married Patrick Frazer, the stage manager at the Winspear Centre in Edmonton, in 2008. 

Both Lydia and Jim remain active in the Cochrane community.

Deep Dive

Want Family

pg 783 More Big Hill Country 2009

Charles and Sissy Want Family by Larry Want

Charles William Want was born on September 30, 1896, in the Town of Basingstoke in the County of Hampshire, England. He had four brothers and one sister. When he was 13 years old he signed on as a coal stoker aboard a merchant ship headed for Canada. 

Upon arriving in eastern Canada he started to work his way westward, by working for the Canadian Pacific Railway. When he reached Turner Valley, Alberta he found work with the drilling rigs, looking after the steam boilers. 

On June 1, 1915, he signed up and took an oath to join the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force in WWI. He lied about his age and stated he was born in 1890. He was five foot, four and a half inches tall, and weighed 149 pounds. Charles served with the #49 Canadian Infantry Battalion and was wounded once at Ypres, Belgium, and twice in France. The pay was fifteen dollars per month plus a field allowance of ten cents per day. He received an honourable discharge on June 4, 1918.

In 1925 he married Sissy Sara Hunt and they had four children: Leonard born in 1927, Clarence in 1929, Mary in 1932, and Dorothy in 1937, all born in Calgary. 

On September 6, 1939, Charles Want signed up for WWII but because of his previous war wounds was found unfit for combat duty. He did serve in the Canadian Army as a steam engineer and a cook until being honourably discharged on October 8, 1940. 

For the next 30 years (approx.) Charles worked as a steam engineer for Alberta Wood Preserving, the forerunner of Domtar. Charles died in the Colonel Belcher Hospital on June 6, 1959. Sissy passed away at the age of 82 and her remains were interred with her husband at the Burnsland Cemetery in Calgary.

Leonard and Rowena Want Family 

Charles and Sissy’s oldest son Leonard “Len” was dating Jean Crown, daughter of Ernie and May Crown of Cochrane and Jean introduced Len to a farm girl, Rowena Mable Cook “Cookie”. On October 7, 1946 Len and Rowena were married at the Hillhurst United Church, Calgary. Len’s cousin George Johns and his sister Mary signed as witnesses.

Len worked at Alberta Wood Preserving, which changed its name to Canada Creosote and eventually Domtar Wood Preserving, for 39 years. Rowena worked part-time at the Dairy Queen, previously located on Richmond Road, and then she found full-time employment at the T. Eaton Co., Catalogue Sales Department. She worked there for 12 years.

Len and Rowena had four sons: Charles Leonard, born August 1949, Lawrence Grant, born February 1950, Edward Gerald, born September 1952 and Lloyd Alan born December 1953. 

The Want family lived in Calgary but spent a lot of time on their farm in the Cochrane area NW Sec 15, Twp 25 Range 4 W5M. In 1972 the family moved into a new house on the land and continued to raise cattle and grow hay. Rowena had a very large productive garden and she became active in the Lochend Ladies Club. Sewing and shopping or bargain hunting were her favourite past times. Len and Rowena were most happy when the house was full of family and friends. The grandchildren spent many a summer, living on the farm. They rode horses, drove tractors, cut, baled, and stacked hay, and helped at calving time. 

Rowena was always conscious of breast cancer being in her family so she scheduled regular medical exams and tests. In the fall of 1998, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In 1999 she went through an operation and several months of chemotherapy and drugs. She passed away, at home on May 28, 2000. 

Len ultimately sold the acreage in 2007 and bought a condo in Cochrane. He keeps busy having coffee with friends, visiting the post office for the mail, watching hockey, attending Legion activities, and spending time with special friends. 

Charles Leonard Want “Charley” was a member of the Navy Cadet League. After graduating from high school, he started apprenticing as an insulator for his future father-in-law John Benninger. 

Charley married his high school sweetheart, Heidi Benninger on August 22, 1971. They had one child, Steven born in September 1973. Charley is still in the insulating business, and he and Heidi live in Sicamous, British Columbia. Steven lives in Calgary and is also an insulator. 

Larry and Gayle Want Family 

Lawrence Grant Want “Larry” joined the Cubs, Boy Scouts and at the age of 12 he joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets #538 Buffalo Squadron for seven years. Through the Air Cadets he received his private pilot’s license in 1968. After high school he attended Mount Royal College for a year and then transferred to the University of Calgary, Business Faculty, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in 1975. Articling for a Chartered Accountant Degree took another three years. 

Summer jobs in the 1970s involved operating construction equipment and when Len and Ed purchased a John Deere backhoe from Allan Hall in 1979, Larry put it to use, working for Alberta Government Telephones and L. Want and Sons Backhoe Services Ltd. was born. Larry spent half the year digging ditches and the other half doing accounting and tax returns. As the years progressed and construction activity intensified, 

Larry gave up his Accountant’s Office in the Shell Building in Calgary and started to buy more excavating equipment. Gravel trucks, excavators, trailers, and pipe pushers were added to the business. 

In the early 1980’s Larry met Helen and Earl Armstrong and subsequently met their daughter, Gayle Denise. After spending holidays and going on ski trips together a wedding ceremony took place on May 6, 1989, in the Cochrane Community Hall. Larry was exceptionally happy and proud because he now had two daughters Kari Lee and Dawn Katherine. 

Kari and her husband Gord live in Calgary with their two dogs. Gord is a cabinet maker and Kari is a Gas Operations Analyst. They spend their spare time camping, going on cruises, and riding their motorbikes. 

Dawn lives in Cochrane and has her own successful House Cleaning Business. She was married for a brief time. Two beautiful little girls keep her life active and full of surprises. Jordyn Doris was born July 24, 1996 and Hayley Helen was born December 4, 1998. Both girls participate in the local gymkhana club as well as taking swimming lessons yearly. Jordyn also plays in the junior school band. The girls recently started a paper route, delivering the Cochrane Times to 206 subscribers.

Larry and Gayle live on part of the Cook/Want family farm. Gayle now works part-time at the Royal Bank in Cochrane but there is always something to do with the granddaughters on a daily basis. Larry’s outside activities include sitting on the Board of Directors for the Cochrane Lake Gas Co-Op and participating in CHAPS. Larry served eight years on the Municipal Planning Commission and volunteered as a member of the North Cochrane Area Structure Plan. Gayle volunteers her time at Glenbow School. 

Edward Gerald Want “Ed” joined the same RCAC Squadron as Larry and earned his private pilot’s license as well. At one time Ed wanted to farm but the cost of land, equipment, and a house all at once, changed his mind. 

He started to apprentice for a sheet metal ticket with Don Wigton and Tony Helfrich. He played a lot of hockey, went to a lot of dances, and chased a lot of Cochrane girls but this came to an abrupt halt when the R.C.M.P. accepted his application in 1979. Some of his positions have been to Onion Lake and Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Yellowknife, Cambridge Bay, Ottawa, High Prairie, and Calgary. 

While at Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, he met and married Shannon Smith on April 2, 1983. (See Ed Want Family Story) Shannon currently works at the Cochrane High School while Ed is now a Staff Sgt. and after 29 years with the R.C.M.P. is preparing for retirement. His favourite pastime is “Horse Reigning”. 

Lloyd Allan Want, the youngest son of Len and Rowena, was also an air cadet for a few years. At the age of 16, he left home to be on his own. He got a job as a security guard and eventually enrolled in Police Science at Mount Royal College. 

After graduating from Mount Royal, Lloyd married Gloria Bernie. They had two boys Trevor Lloyd born May 1, 1977, and Troy Edward born July 17, 1979. 

Lloyd served with the Barrhead Police Department for three and a half years and then moved to the Medicine Hat Police Department where he retired as a Staff Sgt. after twenty-six and a half years of service. 

Lloyd married Dee Anderson in Great Falls, Montana on November 7, 1990. They have 80 acres in the Dunmore area, adjacent to the Elk Water National Provincial Park. Dee works at the Medicine Hat Police Station while Lloyd looks after their horses, goats, cats, and dogs. 

Lloyd’s son Trevor works as an oil field operator and has a six-year-old son named Conner. 

Lloyd’s second son Troy is employed by Schlumberger. On May 27, 2006, Troy married Janelle Seidel. They live in Medicine Hat and have a beautiful baby girl, Erika Nicole who was born on March 16, 2008. 

While Rowena Want was working at Eaton’s she met a bright young co-worker Linda May Etsell of Kindersley, Saskatchewan. They instantly became good friends. Linda came to live with the Want Family for a number of years and became the daughter Len and Rowena never had. Linda graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in 1975. 

The Sporting Goods Department was right next to the Catalogue Sales Office and this is how Linda met Richard Rispin. They were married in 1973 and have three children: Geoffrey Richard born April 15, 1977, Lesley Leanna born July 1, 1978, and Dean Cameron, born June 3, 1984. Lesley and her husband Scott are expecting their first child sometime in October 2008. 

The family home is in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Edward Want Family 

“Hillhurst United Church was the scene of a wedding, October 7th when Miss Rowena Mabel Cook, youngest daughter of Mrs. Grace Cook of Cochrane, became the bride of Leonard Howard Want, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Want, of Calgary.” (from “The Old- Timer”, Cochrane, November 8, 1946) 

My name is Edward Gerald Want. On September 26, 1952, I was born at the old General Hospital in Calgary, to Leonard Howard Want and Rowena Mabel Cook, the third of four sons and a daughter. We lived in the city but spent plenty of time in the Springbank area at our Uncle Gerald and Aunt Carmen Cook’s home, and also at my granddad Cook’s just north of Cochrane. 

My childhood was not unusual and I did what most kids did in their youth – I attended school and played sports. My passion for hockey sometimes overtook my studies so I never made the honor lists or received awards of distinction. 

As I was completing high school, I became cognizant that my hockey ability was not going to get me to the NHL and I had better obtain my high school diploma with a plan toward secondary education. 

I worked at several jobs from construction to operating heavy equipment. In 1973 I moved to my grandad’s farm with my Mom, Dad, and older brother, Larry. We purchased some beef cattle and slowly acquired farm equipment. I worked on the neighbor’s dairy farm to earn extra income. I kept at it in spite of the fact that there were many times a manure-drenched tail flipped in my face or a heavy hoof landed on my toes!! These good times could not continue, and I moved on to seek employment with local businesses in Cochrane: Wigton’s with Don and Sheila Wigton, and Zodiac Sheet Metal with Tony Helfrich. 

During my spare time, I played hockey with the Domtar Jets. I also attempted riding a few broncs in local rodeos however, I always seemed to lose my hat and had to get off the bronc to find it!! Could never seem to win anything…..

I became friends with several local Cochrane RCMP members who convinced me that I had some qualities that the RCMP were looking for. In May 1979 my dreams finally came true and I was accepted to RCMP Training Depot in Regina. The training was arduous but fulfilling. My first posting was at Onion Lake, Saskatchewan. I stayed in Onion Lake for close to a year before being posted to Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. It was during my short stint there that I met my future bride, Shannon Lee Smith. Shannon was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan but had lived in Meadow Lake most of her life. In February 1982 a transfer to Pelican Narrows took place which made ‘courting’ a long-distance experience. Shannon and I were married on April 2, 1983, and immediately moved to Yellowknife, NWT where our son, Shane Tyler, was born on April 9, 1984. Cambridge Bay was our next posting then back to Yellowknife where our daughter, Kaylee Morgan, was born on February 28, 1988. 

We enjoyed our years in the north and made many good friends, however, our nomadic lifestyle was not yet over. Shannon and I moved our young family to Ottawa in 1988 when I accepted a posting in the War Crimes Unit. Much of my time was spent traveling overseas to the former Czechoslovakia, Russia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Israel, and the United States. 

In July 1992, a transfer took us to High Prairie, Alberta. While there, I was seconded from the RCMP and formed a native police force. Five years later, in 1997, we again made a trek back to my roots, Cochrane.  

Mom and Dad were still living on the farm and our young family loved being so close to their Grandma

and Granddad. In August 2000 we moved into a new house in their hay field and became part of the Cook/Want colony! Unfortunately, Mom passed away two months prior to our move. 

Shane is currently attending the University of Calgary in International Relations. He loves hockey, languages, and traveling. Kaylee is in the General Studies transfer program at Mount Royal College and hopes to one day become a teacher. She enjoys riding – her biggest passion is working cow horse! 

Since the kids have graduated, I have again become involved in riding mostly on the reining circuit. Shannon has worked at Cochrane High School for a number of years and has taken some painting and quilting classes. We thoroughly enjoy living ‘on the farm’, and being able to keep our horses, dog, and cats! Our future plans involve traveling, and at some point – grandchildren!

Deep Dive

Builders of the 137th Battalion Memorial

from the Estate of J.W. Boothby

In 1915, sponsored by the Hon. R.B. Bennett, M.P., later P.M. of Canada, permission was granted to form and recruit the 137 Batt. C.E.F. in Calgary. Lt. Col. Morfitt was C.O. Most officers and recruits were from the Calgary district. 3 Co’s were billeted in Calgary, and 1 Co. was billeted and recruited in High River. The 137 moved to Sarcee Camp May 1916.

On Aug. 14 the Batt. left for overseas, sailed on the S.S.Olympic, landed at Liverpool and on to Whitley Camp, England for final training. Oct. 1916 the Batt. was broken up and became part of the 21st Res. which supplied replacements for 4 Alta. units on the battlefield, viz: 10th, 31st, 49th and 50th Batt’s.

While at Sarcee the 137 placed rocks on a hill and laid out the figures 1.3.7. covering about 2 acres.

The first reunion of the 137 was held in 1923. Hon. R.B. Bennett attended and paid all costs for the 237 members. Reunions were carried on until 1960, then effects were given to the Cdn. Legion and Glenbow Museum. 1965 a few ex-members got together, cleared the brush & painted the rocks white. In 1965 the annual reunion was continued.

One of our members serving with the 50th Batt. during the Battle of Vimy was awarded the Victoria Cross for outstanding bravery. The 137 was successful, with the help of the City and Legion, in having a new bridge dedicated in honor of J.G.Pattison, V.C.

The site of the 137 rocks was sold for development purposes eliminating our memorial. Building a Memorial to carry the memory of the 137 Batt. into the far distant future seemed the only solution. The City of Calgary co-operated and dedicated to us a beautiful location in the lovely Glenmore Park. The result is the Memorial seen in these pictures. It is of solid construction using white cement, reinforced with steel, and should last hundreds of years. All costs were borne by ex-members and dependents, with all the work being done by ex-members in their late 70’s. We have every reason to be very proud of our efforts in erecting and dedicating a lasting Memorial to a Batt. that did not serve on the battlefields as a unit.

Plaque on Bridge dedicated to John G Pattison V.C. 1975-1917 Pvt

Deep Dive

Stewart Family

pg 743 More Big Hill Country 2009

Judy and Dr. Bruce Stewart both grew up in Quebec. Judy is the daughter of Herbert and Leah Dubeau, French-Canadian farmers from Lost Nation, Quebec. Judy attended Knowlton High School in Knowlton Quebec for grades 1-11. Bruce is the son of Glenn and Catherine Stewart and he attended school in Beaconsfield, Quebec. Judy and Bruce met in 1970 while students at McGill University. In 1974, they married and moved to Calgary where Bruce was in medical school. Judy, a teacher in Quebec, was not qualified to teach in Alberta so worked during the day as a teacher’s aide, and attended the University of Calgary in the evenings until she graduated with her Bachelor of Education in 1977. Bruce graduated from medical school that same year. 

Upon graduation, they moved to Torbay, Newfoundland for a year while Bruce completed his residency, returning to Calgary in 1978. From 1978-1979, Judy taught at Manachaban School in Cochrane. In 1979 she taught in Calgary, while Bruce began his medical practice with Dr. George McQuitty in Cochrane. They moved to Cochrane to cut down on Bruce’s travel time, found the perfect house in the East End, and moved in 1980. They have lived in the same house in the same neighbourhood next to the same neighbours, Doug and Lessia Innes for 28 years.

Judy and Bruce raised two children, Rory and Marlene, who both attended Cochrane High School, after attending Andrew Sibbald, Glenbow School, and Mitford School. Rory attended the University of Calgary, became an engineer, and is married to Katie McIntyre, daughter of Jocelyn Brett and Blaine McIntyre. Rory and Katie live in Cochrane in May Olson’s old house about five doors down from Bruce and Judy. Marlene attended the University of Victoria and became a band teacher, following in the footsteps of Rob Billington and Merrilee Stonewall, both Cochrane band teachers who had a tremendous impact on both Stewart children. At the time of writing, there are no grandchildren. 

In the early 1990s, Judy and her husband Bruce teamed up with their neighbours to protect the hills and coulees behind their home from infill and development. While they were able to save the hillsides, one coulee was filled and they dubbed it “Mount Ugly”. As predicted by the neighbours and ranchers in the area, the infill has led to several floods and mudslides. The latest was in 2005. The development caused significant political outcry leading to Judy running for Town Council and Bruce’s “working” with the council of the day to have an underpass constructed on Highway 1A. The only benefit accrued to the area by Mount Ugly is that this area is now the “Mediterranean” of Cochrane. 

Judy’s life in Cochrane was always full of fun, starting with the earliest days when most people simply referred to her as “the doctor’s wife”. She was able to stay home with the children until they started kindergarten and taught four year olds at the Cochrane Creative Playschool during the early years 1988-1991. She started the Cochrane Creative Playschool 10 K Run, which she organized for several years. Judy was an active runner and cyclist during those years. 

She also organized Canada Day and the Terry Fox Run for many years. In 1992, she was honoured to receive the Governor General’s Commemorative Medal for volunteerism in her community. In 1991, she went to University and earned her Bachelor of Laws in 1994. In 1992, she was elected to Town Council, where she served until 1998 when she was called to the Alberta bar. Judy’s political career was peppered with controversy as she spoke her mind and worked hard to represent the interests of the citizens during periods of rapid growth and development. In 2001, she became the Mayor, although she did not seek re-election in the 2004 election. In 1997, and 2004, Judy ran for the Provincial Liberal party, and in 2004, and 2006 she ran for the Federal liberal party. In 2007, she ran again for a seat as a town councilor and lost by 12 votes. Judy has worked with the Bow River Basin Council since 1992, and continues to work locally, regionally, and provincially on policy development for protecting water resources. In 2007, she started her Master of Laws degree at the University of Calgary and her thesis will be Municipal Integrated Water and Land Use Management. Judy has her own law practice in Cochrane. Judy’s claim to fame is that she served with many of Cochrane’s Mayors from the 1980s, 2008 beginning with Caroline Godfrey, Verne Friesen, Lydia Graham, Ken Bech and Truper McBride. Her two most favourite memories in Cochrane were getting the George Fox Trail named for George Fox, and being part of the entourage of pioneer women who came down the big hill at Cochrane’s Centennial. She is most known for her work to protect ravines and wetlands from the impacts of development.

Bruce’s life in Cochrane was always busy with his family, and family medicine practice. 

He joined Dr. McQuitty at the Cochrane Health Centre in the old Provincial Building on Main Street after doing locums in Pincher Creek and Calgary. Thinking this was probably another short-term locum, he reconsidered after George’s sudden passing and decided to stay on “for a while”, 1979-2003. For many years, Bruce kept Dr. McQuitty’s legacy of family practice alive through the George McQuitty Society. and even ensured that a small space in the Cochrane Health Centre was set aside to showcase the medical instruments used by his predecessor. In 2003, Bruce took a sabbatical and is now semi-retired working a few days a week at Royal Oak Medical Clinic. Bruce was an active community volunteer, serving on the ambulance committee for the Town of Cochrane, and the ICAN anti-smoking campaign which ended with a bylaw that prohibited smoking in restaurants where children under 18 were in attendance. Bruce coached soccer for both his children for many years. He was an avid skier, runner, and cyclist. He cycled across Canada with Dr. Dennis Fundytus and Rick Makowichuk, a teacher from Cochrane High School in the 1990s. Bruce currently enjoys making music with the Cochrane Music Society and serves on the Board of Directors. 

Both Judy and Bruce had a life of community service and are still actively engaged in service to their communities in many ways. They have a dog Phreadee that they adopted from the Cochrane Humane Society who keeps them walking. They have no regrets.

Deep Dive

Life and Times of Caroline Godfrey

pg 467 More Big Hill Country 2009

Caroline Irene Weitzel was born on August 7, 1920, and grew up in Calgary, Alberta in the community of Bridgeland. Caroline had three siblings (Norma, Don, and Helen) and when her mother became ill, she left school at the age of 12 to take care of her sisters and brother. She worked at the Holy Cross Hospital for a period of time while also enjoying some of her athletic pursuits, lacrosse and women’s hockey. Caroline was a member of Calgary’s first all-girls’ hockey team, the Bridgeland-Riverside Red Wings, one of three such teams in the City of Calgary. During this time period, she met her future husband, Cecil Godfrey. They were married on August 31, 1941. Cec was employed by the CPR. at the time and they had three children (Bill, Rick and Janis). Sometime later, Cec was hired by Shell Oil-Jumping Pound Plant. He carpooled back and forth to Calgary for a while and then in 1953 Cec, Caroline and family made the move to Cochrane when Shell Oil built some homes, which the employees could purchase. Cec and Caroline lived in Cochrane in this same house for the rest of their lives. This was the beginning of Caroline’s involvement in the community and in politics. 

Caroline began her community service almost as soon as she arrived in Cochrane. She saw the need for a new elementary school and became part of a group of parents/citizens that facilitated the construction of the Andrew Sibbald Elementary School (now known as Holy Spirit). She also was instrumental in getting Cochrane’s first outdoor swimming pool installed. Caroline served on the Home & School Association and was a member of St. Andrew’s United Church. Whenever she saw a need for volunteers, Caroline was always there. 

Cochrane pool 1960

Once her children were older, Caroline decided that she could now seriously consider getting involved in local politics. In 1963, she was elected as Cochrane’s first female Councillor, which would mark the beginning of her twenty+ years in politics. As one could imagine, politics was predominately a man’s world and she had many major hurdles to overcome because of this. In the early years, what Caroline knew about politics was learned through reading and taking whatever courses were available, but ultimately it was her life experiences and her great leadership qualities that carried her forward. It took a little time, but eventually, Caroline earned the citizen’s and other politicians’ trust and, more importantly, their respect. People may not have always liked everything Caroline said or did, but most people recognized that she was fair and that she really cared about the citizens of Cochrane. 

In March 1964, Caroline was appointed Deputy Mayor, a role she played off and on until the election in 1970 when she ran for the position of mayor. Even though she won by a small majority, she was very proud to become the first elected female mayor in Cochrane. She may even have been the first elected female mayor in all of Alberta. Caroline served two additional terms until 1977 when her husband, Cec, passed away unexpectedly on December 4, 1977. Caroline did not seek re-election until 1980 when she once again was elected Mayor, a position she held until 1983. After this, Caroline did not seek re-election again until 1992 when she served as Town Councillor until 1995, retiring from politics at the age of 75.

Caroline also served as Vice Chairman of the Calgary Regional Planning Commission for 10 years. As well, she was a lifetime member of the Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary, served two terms as President of the Big Hill Lodge Senior Citizens Activity Society, and served as a Justice of the Peace for a number of years. Some of Caroline’s many accolades include receiving a distinguished service award from the Alberta Urban 

Municipalities Association for having served more than 20 years on Cochrane’s Municipal Council, the Western Living at its Prime Award for her municipal work and second great passion, gardening, and a special Tribute Tea held July 20, 2002 commemorating Caroline’s 20 years of dedication to the Cochrane Community.

Another special and humbling moment came for Caroline when she was notified on April 22, 2003 that the Town of Cochrane would be naming a local environmental reserve in her honour, to be called the “Caroline Godfrey Park.” Unfortunately, Caroline unexpectedly passed away on July 27, 2003 at the age of 82. The “Park” dedication was held in July 2004. 

On a personal note, Caroline had other talents, one of them being her love of flowers and plants. At one time, she used to nurture over 1500 plants grown from seed in her greenhouse each year. She really had a green thumb, she could make anything grow and often said how good it made her feel to watch plants grow. Caroline’s yard was her pride and joy. Other hobbies included reading, sewing, quilting, homemade preserves, knitting, and crocheting. Caroline had five wonderful grandchildren that she loved unconditionally. 

Caroline’s dedication and love of community lives on in other female Mayor’s and Councillors who came after her and those who are yet to serve their community.

Deep Dive

Norman and Laura Kells

pgs 31 & 39 More Big Hill Country 2009

This article differs from most as I could not find any family article in either Big Hill Country or More Big Hill Country. Laura, Norman, Mary-Del, and Joe  Kells certainly have a place in my memory of growing up in Cochrane so I’ve included references to the businesses they ran. 

A search of our archive records shows N. Kells was Fire Chief of the Cochrane department from 1964-65. Norman Kells was also a member of the Cochrane Lions.

Range Grill

This café was located behind the Cochrane Hotel and the building is still standing. It was built by Eustace Bowhay and he sold it to the Sailors in 1945. Later Laura Kells purchased the business and ran the Coffee Bar. Yvonne (Blow) Callaway worked for Laura and in 1952 Yvonne’s mother Mabel Blow ran the business while renting the building. Laura returned to operate the business in 1958 and renamed it the Range Grill. It was a popular place for teenagers and Laura was a wonderful mentor to them. Then the Fraser family ran the café for a short while. Laura sold the business to Gus Graff in 1966, who in turn sold it in 1967 to the Veselic Family and the restaurant was renamed the “Ponderosa”.


When machinery became available for excavating one of the first in Cochrane to have this type of business was Jack Steel. Later some of the others to take on this business were Dave Bryant operating as A&B Construction, Norman and Joe Kells operating as Kell’s Active Excavating, Grimstead Construction, and Roy Genung and Son Excavating. Today there are many companies in and around Cochrane offering this service such as Kelly Harbidge and L. Want and Sons.

Gravel Pits 

Andrew Clarke bought some land south of Griffin Road and east of River Avenue from which they operated a gravel pit. This was originally the Want homestead. His company A. Clarke and Sons started out with a contract to build the old bridge across the Bow River in 1927. Later on, Norman and Laura Kells purchased the gravel pit from Clarke’s and ran it for a number of years. This property is now the Burnco site.

Deep Dive

Mjolsness Family

pg 606 More Big Hill Country 2009

Clara Jeanette and John Johann Mjolsness had raised eleven children in Minnesota when talk began of some of their boys coming to Alberta to take advantage of the homesteads being made available to encourage settlement. Early in the 20th Century, four brothers, Martin and John Alfred in 1906, Joseph in 1909 and Louis in 1910 all took up homesteads near Sundre, Alberta. Unfortunately, Joseph was killed overseas shortly before the end of WWI. 

The rest of the family followed when the parents of these four boys also decided to immigrate. John and Clara Mjolsness with their seven remaining children, four boys, and three girls left Minnesota to establish a new home in Alberta. They brought with them not only household goods but a thousand feet of oak lumber. blacksmith equipment, farm machinery, horses, and cattle. 

Arriving in Alberta, they lived in old ranch buildings seven miles west of Olds, Alberta. They then purchased a half section of land, N Sec 33 Twp 31 Rge 5 W5M, and built a home with lumber sawn at the mill of J.T. Johanneson. Two of their sons, Endred and Bill were working for Johanneson. A shingle mill owned by other brothers provided the shingles for their new home and for many other district families. 

Louis Mjolsness, one of the original four homesteaders, was born on June 22, 1882. He was a mature thirty years old when he returned to Minnesota on a very important trip. He went to call on a lady he knew with the intention to marry her; Minnie Granum, born June 9, 1882, who was teaching school in Minnesota. They were married on December 30, 1912. 

Louis brought his bride to the McDougal Flats area of south-central Alberta and there over the years four children were born; Gladys, Lloyd, Chester, and Marian The everyday life of the young family was guided by the principles of the parents. A helping hand to those in need and sharing faith was important to them both. 

The small farm southwest of Sundre was generally the mainstay of Louis Mjolsness’ livelihood but for three years he was involved in sawmilling with J.T. Johanneson. Louis also logged his own timber and had it milled by Tom Arnew, west of Sundre where Louis built himself a cabin to use while working there. Chester, as a young lad remembers going with his Dad and helping to chink the logs with green moss. The site was seven miles west of Sundre known as Sawdust Hill. 

Minnie Mjolsness was a kind, knowledgeable lady who taught the children well and loved them dearly. She was always a strong supporter of anything the children wanted to do. 

Louis made a rare visit to the doctor after feeling poorly in the fall of 1930. He passed away fourteen days later after being diagnosed with liver cancer. His death was a severe shock to his wife and young family and their lives out of necessity took on many changes 

Minnie hired Carl Christensen, who was born in Denmark and came to Canada from Greenland. He had worked for Louis previously. She combined a small government widow’s pension with the money she earned from the cream from her milk cows and was able to care for her four children without “relief”, as she called welfare. Carl worked the farm with the boys until 1937. By that time Lloyd and Chester were old enough to take over full responsibility for the farm work.

Later Minnie left the farm and moved into Sundre. She operated a boarding house for teachers and others in need of a home while there. 

In 1944, Minnie married her former foreman Carl Christenson who renovated the old Pool Hall (which he won in a raffle), added a barber shop, and kept quite busy after their marriage. 

Carl passed away at Olds in 1956. He was highly respected in the community and well-loved. He never had any natural children but loved the four Mjolsness children as if they were his own. In May 1958, Minnie suffered a stroke and quietly passed away. 

Minnie had played the role of both mother and father for so many of the growing-up years of the children. A large void occurred in their lives upon her passing. Minnie kept the family together providing strong Christian leadership in the home. She had given much strength and encouragement to her four children throughout the years of her life. 


Chester Jerome Mjolsness 

Chester was the second son and third child born to Louis and Minnie Mjolsness in Didsbury, Alberta on October 14, 1919. Like his brother Lloyd, he attended school at McDougal Flats. 

The children drove to school in a buggy pulled by a horse named “Dixie” and often they rode “Dixie” for fun. By tapping lightly on the fetlock, Dixie would lie down and let the kids mount. Faye Adams was his teacher but the school didn’t hold much attraction for him. The best subject at school for Chester was baseball and he was the pitcher many times when they played against nearby schools, Sunberry, Bearberry, Eagle Hill, and Rockwood. 

Tragedy struck when Chester’s father passed away suddenly when Chester was just eleven years old. His mother hired Carl Christensen, who had worked for Chester’s father as a foreman on the farm. 

At age fourteen, Chester quit school having managed to complete grade eight. “No Honours” he admits and although his mother disapproved he felt he was ready to step out into the world. 

Chester suffered from asthma and had always been allergic to grain dust, and currying and feeding the horses resulted in a marked reaction. So he turned to other activities that would enable him to earn a little money. 

Chester had honed his skills with a .22 rifle and made himself a lucrative hobby of shooting and skinning squirrels. He could sell the pelts for twelve cents each and he shot and skinned thirty in a single day. He bought a coyote snare and managed to snare a coyote.  Chester offered the pelt to a traveling buyer at six dollars. The man refused but came back a second time thinking he could get it for less. Chester again refused to sell. The third time back, Chester got his asking price. He spent the entire six dollars on more snares and managed to earn quite a bit of money as each pelt sold for ten to fifteen dollars. 

Chester saved this money and one day after selling pelts in Calgary, Chester and Lloyd planned to trade in the family-owned 1929 Chevrolet. Its doors and sills were rotted out so Chester replaced them and Lloyd tuned up the motor. Their Uncle Hale Gochee had taught them both a lot about carpentry and mechanics. After a harrowing trip to Calgary, in which the Chevy was wrecked in an accident, and with help from a friend Arie Vooys, who owned a garage in Sundre, they found a 1936 Plymouth four-door sedan for six hundred dollars. What was left of the old Chevy was sold to Arie. 

Over the years, the boys worked at a number of jobs including the building of roads which helped to pay the farm taxes. Chester also continued trapping. 

In 1938, Chester got his first job at a sawmill. The camp was located twelve miles west of Sundre and three miles south. For two and a half months until early spring, he learned the art of cutting logs. 

In 1939, with the outbreak of WWII, Chester and Lloyd both received their calling-up papers. However, after reporting and receiving their medicals, both failed to meet the required standards and returned to the farm. Looking for a change, Chester went knocking on doors in Calgary looking for work. He was hired by the Royal Lumber Yard for one hundred fifty dollars a month. His room and board were forty-five dollars. Chester did a lot of painting and unloaded lumber and shingles from box cars. However, the dust from the shingles irritated his asthma so he quit his job and went back to the farm. At this time, the government began building airports at training camps. Chester seized the opportunity and went to Penhold, building rafters for the airport hangers. 

Chester’s next venture took him to the oil patch, working the oil rigs at Turner Valley. He became a rough-neck, first on the floor then later working the derricks until he was promoted to cat-head. At times he filled in as a driller. During the next two years he worked at Turner Valley, Bruderheim and Taber. He thought he had found his lifetime career as he loved this work. However, circumstances led to Chester 1 being out of work, so he returned to the farm. Although he was disappointed not to have work in the oilfield. he found work at the Colonel Snyder Ranch, west of  Sundre. His uncle Hale Gochee was the foreman there at the time.

 During this time Chester heard of a stand of timber west of Doc Shymer’s place, fifteen miles south-west of Sundre. As a teenager, he had thought seriously about a career in either sawmilling or commercial fishing. Fishing presented a few problems for a land boy but memories of his father sawmilling had remained. The idea of starting a sawmill was intriguing. Chester discussed the idea with his uncle Hale, to join forces with him and start their own mill. So he and Hale viewed the timber on saddle horses and the partnership was made. Chester would obtain the timber and do the logging and Hale would do the sawing. 

The government Ranger called one day to say he’d be coming out to cruise the timber. As luck would have it, it was the day of Lloyd’s wedding, at which Chester was the Best Man. Concerned about his duties for the wedding and hoping he would make it back on time (which he did) Chester and the Ranger did the inspection. Hail had damaged some of the timber to the point it would be of no use for lumber but fortunately there were also eight or nine hundred thousand board feet of good quality pine and spruce in this block. The parcel was approved as a licensed timber berth but Chester still had to compete for the actual purchase. 

All timber was sold by oral bid at the Forestry Office in Rocky Mountain House. Chester went to the sale prepared to bid whatever was necessary. However, there was one other fellow who had designs on that lease and he kept bidding up the price. At the time, leases usually went for no higher than one dollar per thousand-foot board measure (F.B.M.) Finally, when the bid reached three dollars per thousand F.B.M. the other fellow dropped out. Chester had the dubious distinction of having bought the highest price timber in Alberta at that time. He had gone to the sale not even realizing there would be any competition but he was also determined to have that timber whatever the price. On the drive home, he began to wonder at the wisdom of the commitment. 

Now Chester had a timber lease but no mill. Hale was a genius at mechanics and carpentry work and began to build his own mill at the blacksmith shop on the Mjolsness farm. There was only one welder in Sundre owned by Chester’s friend Harold Hardy. Using discarded iron from old cars and other scrap iron, Harold and Hale designed and built a mill that would perform as accurately as any other, even the portable mills of today. 

While Hale was building the mill, Chester was busy cutting the hail-damaged timber for mine props. They were sold and hauled to Drumheller for the mines there. It took all winter but Hale finished the mill on March 1, 1944. Most mills were winding down for spring break up but Chester and Hale were determined to start their new venture. 

Side Arm Loader Sunchild Indian Reserve Courtesy Provincial Archives

Chester’s Mom, Minnie was very supportive of her son’s endeavor and loaned him five hundred dollars. This money paid for his first timber license and helped defray other expenses. Chester borrowed the farm’s 20-35 steel-wheeled Allis Chalmers tractor from Lloyd to provide power to operate the mill. He borrowed a fourteen-foot granary from Lloyds father-in-law which they moved into the bush for a temporary bunkhouse and cookhouse. The first winter, Chester did most of the cooking with his mother sending food out when possible. When that first season came to a close, one hundred and five thousand board feet of rough lumber had been cut. It sold for $17.50 a thousand delivered to Olds. 

When the mill shut down for the summer Chester returned to the farm to help Lloyd and visited with his mother. 

In sawmilling, Chester found a way of life so appealing to him he felt he could build a solid future. After a few successful years in 1944 and 1945 Hale Gochee and Chester dissolved their partnership and Hale sold his share to Chester. 

Fate took a hand in Chester’s life in 1945 when the Ranger at the Red Deer Ranger Station Carl Larson and his wife Marg invited Marg’s friend Beryl Chapman to visit them for the summer. Carl kept reminding Beryl every time they went to Sundre for supplies of a young man who owned and operated a sawmill along the road. Viewing the little shacks that served as housing Beryl let Carl know that she wasn’t interested. She said she couldn’t live in one of them. which was a dangerous statement, and she lived to eat her words. She met the “young man” that fall and on their very first date, he took her to a Timber Sale. 

After Beryl’s stay with the Larsons, she worked for Jack Macleod in his store and boarded at Minnie Mjolsness’ home. Chester’s visits to see his mother suddenly became more frequent and in the spring the couple became engaged. Minnie decided to hold an engagement party to celebrate the occasion. It was unfortunate that on the day of the party, Ed and Ken Philips decided that was the day they could haul lumber into Sundre from Chester’s camp. The lumber was for a house Hale Gochee planned to build. Because of the spring breakup, Chester had to remain on-site to pull the trucks through the mud with the Cat. Finally, he was able to leave for the engagement party but by the time he arrived the guests had long departed and the party was over. It was a poor start for what would be a long and happy relationship. Beryl and Chester were married on June 27, 1946. 

Sawmilling continued to flourish, new timber berths were applied for and received and more machinery and buildings were purchased. Chester’s brother Lloyd sold the farm and joined in the partnership with Chester. Together they purchased a UD 18 power unit 

be used for mill power and a brand new 3-ton truck. This truck was driven in two shifts hauling lumber to Beaver Lumber in Calgary and Red Deer that winter. 

When the seasonal work drew to a close in the spring of 1947 everything was moved out of camp, including a 16 foot x 24 foot house, built at the camp that winter for Beryl and Chester to live in. This house was placed on property on Main Street in Sundre and later used as a garage for the new house built for Chester and Beryl by Hale Gochee. 

During the late 1940s and early 1950s Chester and Lloyd logged in the Boggy Lake and Williams Creek areas and it was about this time they were told about the Eau Claire Lumber lease in the Spray Lakes area. 

For some time the brothers had been pondering the problem of year-round work for their men. They contacted the Eau Claire Lumber manager who arranged for them to be taken out to show them the timber at Spray Lakes. This trip was an eye-opener for Chester and Lloyd. Traveling by jeep they arrived within four miles of the timber stand at a cabin owned by Calgary Power. 

The area was a remote wilderness area reserved as a game preserve until the joining of Jasper and Banff Parks; closed to motorized vehicles with a locked gate to deter public travel. The two men spent two days on foot inspecting the timber. They found good quality timber in worthwhile quantity but it would require eighteen miles of road to be built to provide access. 

Negotiations were started with Eau Claire Lumber and the Mjolsness Brothers were amazed to learn that the timber license had been held on the seven-and-a-half sections since 1884. It had been issued at Selkirk, Manitoba, North West Territories. Although the area had been classed as inaccessible, prior to Calgary Power building a road from Canmore to Spray Lakes, the company continued to hold the lease. 

With all the details settled in 1953, a camp was set up five miles beyond the gate and work began on building a road. Three 12 foot x 20 foot buildings were moved in and two shifts of men working on building the road to Mud Lake where a permanent camp would be set up. Sawmilling began in 1954 and the routine of moving operations between Spray Lakes (summer/fall) and Williams Creek (winter) became established. Working at such a high altitude was a new experience for Chester and Lloyd. It could be raining at the camp and three miles down the road it was dry. 

The earliest sawing began at Spray Lake was June 20th, and in 1955 a custom began that continued into the late 1960s. When the school closed at the end of June many of the men moved their wives and families out to the mountain wonderland where the camp was located. Chester and Beryl brought their boys Brian and Barry and in later years daughters, Lori and Cindy out to the camp. One year the camp had 27 children spending the summer. Most lived in cabins but some preferred to stay in tents. Many fondly recall these were the best years of their lives. These “holidays” were missed when they ended. 

In the late 1960s, apart from quotas held by Sundre Lumber and Revelstoke Lumber, Chester and Lloyd were able to purchase every quota between the Bow River and Clearwater Rivers. 

In 1968 the Mjolness brothers purchased land from John and James Henderson at Cochrane, Alberta. This land would be the site where they planned to centralize all milling operations. Through the winter of 1968-1969, more than a million feet were logged from the Courtrielle lease on the Forestry Road, 7 miles south of Mountain Aire Lodge. These logs were hauled to the newly acquired land at Cochrane and throughout the summer, the sawmill moved to Cochrane from the Macleod site on the Highwood, was kept humming. 

By the summer of 1970, Camp No. 2 at Spray Lakes was still operating. However, all the other lumber was now being produced by the mill in Cochrane. With the Cochrane mill operating continuously, it seemed set for steady growth but on Boxing Day a fire occurred at the mill. A short developed in a drop cord and ignited the sawmill on fire. Despite all efforts of the fire department, the mill and all the new electrical motors just installed were lost. 

Because insurance premiums to cover this kind of business were astronomical, no insurance had been carried and the loss fell squarely on the shoulders of Lloyd and Chester. Sometime in the future, it was hoped that a new, modern sawmill could be built at Cochrane but for the time being the No. 2 mill from Spray Lakes was brought to Cochrane. This mill was used until 1974. 

With almost 30 years of experience behind them and a promise of a continuous supply of timber, Chester and Lloyd began giving serious consideration to fulfilling a long-held dream – that of a fully automated, central operation that would make full use of all the by-products of the milling industry. 

They investigated and appraised the design of different mills in British Columbia and Quebec. They found mills in the eastern province very efficient, particularly in the sawing of small timber. After a great deal of study and following consultation with engineers, a flow plan was drawn up. During this time, while the new mill was under consideration, Chester and Lloyd disposed of some of their other assets. 

Early in 1973, the ground was broken for the new mill building and Spray Lake Sawmills Ltd. embarked on the purchase of new equipment. The new mill building would be constructed completely of steel with a sprinkler system to guard against fire. 

On Friday, June 21, 1974, a Grand Opening Ceremony was held on a beautiful day with many dignitaries, business associates, and friends from near and far. Among those attending were the Mayor of Cochrane, Caroline Godfrey, Minister of Lands and Forests, Hon. Dr. Alan Warrack and Banff/Cochrane MLA and Minister of Highways Hon. Clarence Copithorne. Tours of the mill were conducted and a hot meal with music and entertainment followed. It truly was a gala affair. 

For several months, work proceeded slowly as each man had to learn new procedures. There was absolutely no comparison to the former bush mills. Each phase was electronically controlled with the operator controlling an electrically powered panel by pushing buttons to activate the various functions of the machines. Not only production slowed but the bottom dropped out of the lumber market. For some months the returns were below the cost of production. 

This was a critical time for Chester and Lloyd as they wondered when the axe would fall bringing an end to all their dreams. A large portion of the new mill had been financed and repayment (for the time being) was out of the question. 

Finally, in February 1975, markets picked up and prices improved. With four million board feet of lumber accumulated the pressure was off and Spray Lake Sawmills was operating again under more favorable conditions. 

The old bush mill had been put into storage at the west end of the Cochrane yard adjacent to the old sawdust pile. In January 1975, a strong chinook wind blew causing a fire in the sawdust pile to erupt. In no time fire spread to the old building that housed the old sawmill and fire crews from Cochrane and Calgary responded. The fire was contained and the new mill remained unharmed. 

Chester feels it was ironic that after operating mills in the bush for 25 years without a fire (despite the potential risk) they would have two fires within a relatively short time at Cochrane. By 1975 however, there was full insurance on the mill. 

Over the next few years, Lloyd and Chester devoted themselves to the business, concentrating on ensuring the smooth running of the improved facility and settling their commitments with the bank. With their major goal accomplished by 1979, the brothers decided to retire. 

Chester’s two sons Brian and Barry and his son-in-law Gill Ilk were willing to take over the responsibilities in the following year and Spray Lake Sawmills (1980) Ltd. was born. Lloyd and Chester continued to advise the young men over the next few years until they became familiar with all aspects of the business. 

By 1990 Barry had assumed full ownership and continued to operate Spray Lake Sawmills (1980) in a manner respected by the community. 

Although the Town of Cochrane now completely surrounds Spray Lake Sawmills (1980) the company remains Cochrane’s largest employer and as it has over the years, endeavors to work in complete harmony with the community, town, and all related government departments. 

Lloyd Maxwell Mjolsness 

Louis and Minnie’s oldest son, Lloyd Mjolsness, was born September, 1916 in Sundre and was fourteen years old when his father Louis passed away. He attended McDougall Flats School, three and a half miles from their home. His favorite subjects were arithmetic and spelling and the Annual School Fair. He participated by taking first prize for his “Sally Ann” muffins and also took a colt and a calf to the fair once. With the sudden passing of his father Louis, just nine days after Lloyd’s fourteenth birthday he quit school to help his mother with farming. With the hiring of  Carl Christensen, who had worked for Louis, a new routine fell into place.  

Lloyd helped Carl with the plowing, harrowing, and seeding. All the family, including eleven-year-old Chester, cooperated as they fixed fences and harnesses for the horses. Lloyd and Chester cut down trees for logs to build corrals and hauled them home about eight miles. Sharpening fence posts, fixing singletrees and doubletrees for the horses, and keeping the machinery fixed kept Lloyd and Chester busy. Their parents always kept the farm yard neat and tidy so on weekends everything was cleaned up and made attractive. 

Through the years there were many exciting events  including the Sundre Stampede. One year, with Rusty Stevenson and his cousin Harold Erickson, Lloyd entered the Wild Cow Race. They won the second prize, five dollars, which they split between them. 

Breaking horses was another job that Lloyd had to do and by the time Carl quit working for Minnie when Lloyd was twenty-one, he had matured physically and in character and was able to carry on managing the farm. 

Chester, a few years younger was able to help Lloyd by stooking and working on farm machinery repairs. Their uncle, Hal Gochee, was a mechanic and taught the boys a lot about fixing mechanical problems. 

When new neighbours, the Kuykendalls, moved in a short distance away, Lloyd took his mother over to meet them after having done some work for Mr. Kuykendall. There he met their daughter Mary and after dating for a year they became engaged. 

They were married on November 6, 1943 and a tense bridegroom was made even more nervous. His best man, brother Chester, had been called by a forestry official to go and inspect a timber lease Chester had applied for. However the inspection was carried out and Chester returned to Sundre in good time to perform his duties, much to Lloyd’s relief. 

When Chester decided to operate a sawmill in 1943, the mill was built on the Mjolsness farm making use of the farm’s forge and blacksmith shop. Power for the mill was provided by the farm’s tractor. The 1936 Plymouth used by Lloyd was traded for a two ton Ford with a short wheel base which was put to steady use to haul lumber to the Madsen lumberyard in Olds. This job was undertaken by Lloyd, who left the farm each day at 3 am in order to travel while the roads were still frozen. He loaded the truck by hand and enroute to Olds from the Coal Camp, he stopped at the farm for breakfast and to milk the cows. He delivered the load, returned to the home farm to do the chores then retired to bed early to be fresh to start over again the next day. After three years of marriage, Lloyd had an offer from someone who wanted to buy the farm. With no objection from his mother, they sold the farm and he and Mary moved into Sundre. They had three children Marilyn Diane, Gail Ann and Robert (Bob) Lloyd. 

In 1947, Lloyd and Chester became equal partners in the business they named “Mjolsness Brothers”. Now that the farm no longer took Lloyd’s attention he was free to share responsibility with Chester so a formal agreement was drawn up. 

In 1948, the opportunity to purchase a mill owned by Max Dix came up. This package included the timber lease, the mill, the steam engine and the camp. Lloyd was kept busy hauling lumber daily to Penhold, Red Deer or Calgary. 

One day in April 1949, Lloyd and Chester were in Calgary on business and met some friends that were on their way to Cardston to look at land available for lease on the Blood Indian Reserve. The Mjolsness brothers were invited to go along. After looking at the land, five and a half sections, Jack Morgan, one of the chaps with them, turned to Lloyd and Chester and asked them if they were willing to form a partnership and take on the lease. Some time passed and discussions took place. It was agreed this was a good opportunity. A partnership was formed comprised of Jack and Geoff Morgan and Lloyd and Chester Mjolsness. The operation was to be known as M and M Farming Co. Ltd. 

Because of his extensive experience in farming, Lloyd was chosen to be in charge of operations but as in all their mutual dealings, Lloyd and Chester had an equal interest in the new Company. Lloyd was required to be on the spot from early spring until harvesting was completed in the fall. He would then return to the sawmill in the winter. Likewise, Chester would go to the Reserve in the spring and help out with seeding and various employees would be given work when needed. The Morgan brothers each received one-third share of M & M while the Mjolsness third (owned jointly by Lloyd and Chester) did not pass into their individual bank accounts. If a profit was made, this would go into the joint Mjolsness account, once again to be used for the betterment of the sawmilling operation. 

For the next twenty years, the farm on the Blood Reserve became a way of life for Lloyd. From spring to fall he spent most of his time there. When spring breakup came to the Mjolsness Bros. Camp on Williams Creek, four or five of the men would join Lloyd at Cardston to help with the work being done there. Gradually the land holdings on the farm comprised 8700 acres. 

In 1956 Mary and Lloyd sold their home in Sundre and moved to Calgary. This made for a shorter drive to the Blood Reserve, now less than two and a half hour’s drive from Calgary. With this move, the help provided by Mary became an important factor in both the sawmill and farming. When the whistle sounded at the end of work at noon each Saturday, many of the single men would spend their free time partying at various “watering holes” in and around Calgary. Lloyd knew all their favorite spots and sent Mary to make the rounds, picking up the workers to be sure they were back in camp in time to start on Monday morning. Mary’s services were also appreciated where groceries were concerned. She was familiar with the roads and even in winter’s most treacherous conditions, she could be relied on to deliver the goods, whether it be to the camp on Williams Creek or the farm on the reserve. 

The company name of Mjolsness Brothers had been changed to Spray Lake Sawmills Ltd. in the mid-fifties. By the late 1950s sawmilling was beginning to expand. Lloyd and Chester had purchased a timber lease from Eau Claire Lumber at Spray Lakes in Kananaskis, which provided more work than ever for the brothers and their employees. Several businesses were purchased or opened creating further expansion, all related to the lumber business. 

By this time M&M Farming had also expanded. As well as leasing seven and a half sections on the Blood Indian Reserve, in 1965 the company had purchased a further five and a half sections at Hawarden, Saskatchewan. This was further increased when adja cent land beside it became available. More land was rented and farmed and the last year Lloyd was involved in the farming operation 8700 acres were being seeded on the Blood Indian Reserve. 

After twenty years of successfully managing the farm it became clear that Lloyd could no longer be spared to devoting so much time to farming on the Reserve. Buyers were found for the leases and all the equipment. This change allowed Lloyd to be at home more often and he began to devote more time to the lumber business which was expanding rapidly. 

Their portable sawmills continued to operate and flourish. By the mid-1960s the Sundre operations were shut down and the business, now known as Spray Lake Sawmills Ltd., set up a second mill at Spray Lake. But Lloyd and Chester recognized times were changing. It became increasingly difficult to keep workers in the bush and operate mills there. In the late 1960’s it was decided they should eventually centralize all operations. During this period, 60 acres of land at Cochrane was purchased and plans were being made to build a mill there. 

With that change, a Mjolsness tradition ended. Up at Spray Lakes, some of the workers would bring their families with them for the summer. Sometimes as many as seven families stayed there. Cabins were built for them to live in although some preferred to live under canvas. It was kind of like a holiday during the summer logging season and many good times were had by the families while they stayed at the logging camp. With larger quotas and those changing times Spray Lake Sawmills centralized its operations with a new mill in Cochrane, Alberta in June 1974. Shortly after, the new Kananaskis Provincial Park was established and the timber licenses held by Spray Lake Sawmills in the Spray Lakes area was not renewed. Later new timber licenses were issued to replace those lost to the park. 

In 1980, Lloyd, along with his brother Chester retired from active business and sold out to Chester’s sons Brian and Barry and Chester’s son-in-law Gilbert Ilk. The plant was expanded to include a pressure-treating plant and a dry kiln, along with the production of some 500,000 fence posts a year. 

Barry Mjolsness 

Today, Barry Mjolsness is sole owner of Spray Lake Sawmills (1980) Ltd. a company that has, for many years been the largest and steadiest employer of the Cochrane and area workforce. 

He points to his father Chester and Uncle Lloyd Mjolsness as the two forces behind the success of the company. Over the years, Barry learned the sawmilling business from the ground up. He has worked every job. from the bush to the finished product. Barry was able to work with his father, observing Chester’s way of doing business and trying to emulate his methods, learning every aspect of the business from labor to management. 

Before handing over the reins of Spray Lake Sawmills, Chester invited his son to join in on the business transactions, including him in the decision-making process. Barry admired his father’s integrity and felt that by continuing Chester’s tried and proven examples, he would maintain the reputation and success than had been established and now continues over 65 years as a sawmill company. 

Barry Mjolsness was born in Olds, Alberta in February 1950 and is the younger son of Beryl and Chester Mjolsness. School began for Barry when the family lived in Sundre, where he was a pupil until grade four. The family then moved to Canmore, where he continued school until 1967. 

Barry was attending Grade 12 when he decided he was capable of working to support himself with a typical teenage attitude. With the passing of years he has come to regret his haste to leave the classroom behind However at the age of seventeen he made his decision and plunged into earning a living. 

Ever since he was quite small he had carried out jobs at the sawmill camps. The highlight of each year had always been the two summer months spent at the Spray Lakes camp where the family lived in their small cabin. Between Canmore and the Spray Lakes operation, there were gates on the road which served to keep the public away from the milling operation. With the privacy of Crown land, a wonderful summer was spent by the children of the sawmill workers. They spent carefree days playing together, fishing in the lake, and creating adventures in the sawdust piles. Hogarth Lake, some two or three miles from camp was thirty feet deep and crystal clear, a joy for a small boy with a fishing line. There were also saddle horses or skid horses which could be ridden and included in yet more adventures. 

It was a privilege to be allowed to carry out odd jobs at the sawmill camps. Gradually as the years passed, Barry became able to accept more responsibilities. At the age of fourteen, he was allowed to work with a faller. He was paid ten cents per tree to remove the limbs with an axe. Each summer he worked where he could be of use. One of his full-time jobs was at the “jack ladder” where logs were pushed from the pond using a pike pole, up the chain ladder to the mill beyond. 

Another year Barry operated a Cat dozer pulling slabs and edgings away from the mill. In fact by the time he left school, he was adept at most of the jobs in and around camp. One time while skidding with a dozer, almost at the top of a mountain at Mud Lake, Barry was hurrying, and instead of parking the dozer facing into the bank, the usual safety measure, he just jumped off, leaving it facing out. The brake snapped off and down the mountain sped the big machine. It did not follow the spiral road but took a direct cut across trails and mountainsides. Finally, its downward rush was stopped by a tree stump. Barry was relieved to find the only damage done was a track had fallen off. The worst part was, having to ask his Dad to bring up a second Cat dozer for a tow. Chester had just spent all day moving the other Cat to a location five miles away. 

For a short period after leaving school, Barry apprenticed as a mechanic, then decided to return to the work he knew best. In the winter of 1968, Barry and his brother Brian both worked in Manning, Alberta experiencing temperatures of forty below zero day after day. Every day Barry froze his nose and it turned black. A bonus of five cents per tree was promised for all those who remained on the job until spring, an incentive Barry was determined not to forego. Brian was working as a sawyer while Barry operated a skidder in the bush. 

When spring forced the shutdown of bush work, Barry spent a month working on an oil rig. Meanwhile, Brian was driving a Cat at Golden, British Columbia so Barry joined him and skidded trees there until he got work as a skidder operator on the Stoney Indian Reserve. When this job ended Barry took on a new role operating a Cat dozer in road and oilfield construction for Don Beddoes. 

In August 1970 Barry married Lorna Jean Cavanaugh. Lorna, as well as Barry had been raised in Canmore. That fall, Lorna learned the hard way the meaning of being married to a young man committed to sawmilling. 

Strictly a town girl, she found herself working as a cook at one of the two camps established at Mud Lake. They lived in a 14’x16′ cabin without water or plumbing. Even Barry, accustomed as he was to logging camps, concedes that it must have been hard for his new wife; isolated by blizzards and making do without amenities to which Lorna was accustomed. He admits that the early days of their marriage brought with them tough times, financially and otherwise but he feels that getting through them laid a strong foundation on which their lives have been built. 

Barry was given his first supervisory job at the post-peeling operation west of Water Valley. Often battling mud up to his knees he gained valuable experience there. For the summer months, it was back to the Spray Lakes camp at Mud Lake. 

By 1973, Lorna and Barry were becoming established as a family. In 1971, they welcomed their first child, a daughter Tammy. Then two years later a second daughter Terry was born and while Lorna was in the hospital, their mobile home was moved from Water Valley to Cochrane. The family expanded in 1982 with the adoption of siblings Darlene and Cory, and then once again in 1989 with the adoption of James. 

Barry took a new position at the mill yard in Cochrane as foreman. At the age of twenty-three, he found himself in the awkward position of having to direct men who, in many cases, were considerably older with years of experience. It was a period of adjustment for many but gradually things worked out. Barry refers to this time as “the school of hard knocks.” 

In January of 1975, an event having long-lasting repercussions occurred. Due to internal combustion and a strong Chinook wind, a fire began in a sawdust pile. Those at the scene did their best to control it but by the time the fire departments arrived, the fire was well underway. The Cochrane and Calgary Fire Departments and many people with wet gunny sacks were all working hard to save the wood piles and the buildings. Everyone was thankful once the fire was out that things were no worse than they were. 

The fire marked the end of an era. Gone forever were the old days and old ways. When the new mill opened in 1974 it introduced state-of-the-art equipment with gradually less manpower needed. Efficient and highly automated machinery came into general use. 

As with everyone else Barry grew with the company. Electronics and compressed air took the place of men who had sweated over the heavier equipment. Barry pitched in with mechanical work and as millwright, he took on responsibilities it felt good to learn. To learn the new mechanics he did every job and with time the right man was allocated to a job that suited him. 

Chester, who worked so hard to make the mill the success it was, felt the need to slow down. He was happy his sons were ready and willing to take over as second-generation management. In 1980, the mill changed hands with Brian in charge of bush operations and Barry becoming responsible for the mill. In time, Barry assumed his brother’s share of the business. 

From humble beginnings to successful business, many changes have occurred over the years. Barry, like his father before him, continues to explore all markets. A sharp contrast with the early days of Mjolsness sawmilling is that everything from the trees is utilized. Barry feels confident that timber supplies can last forever provided the present 90-year rotation method is maintained. He is proud of his loyal and dedicated staff. 

Both Barry and Chester credit their success to the solid, Christian-based, foundation provided by Minnie Mjolsness so many years ago and influenced by their continuing faith and commitment to God. 

A lifetime of memories and a life of dedication sum up Barry Mjolsness and his love affair with sawmilling; a man doing a job well and enjoying every minute.

Deep Dive

Andy Anderson and Dorothy Anderson Family

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.

Gordon Ivan Davies Family

pg 390 More Bill Hill Country 2009

The Gordon Ivan Davies family moved to Cochrane in 1962 from Mercury Camp, just two kilometers north of Longview, Alberta. At the time, Gordon and his wife, Mildred (nee Garbutt), had five children, with baby Teresa being just seven months old. 

Gordon was raised on a small ranch in the Porcupine Hills west of Claresholm, Alberta. His parents were Ivan Jennings Davies and Rachel Lillian Lepard. Ivan’s family moved to southern Alberta from Idaho Falls, Idaho in 1908, and Rachel’s from Frazee, Minnesota in 1910. 

Ivan and Rachel met in Claresholm and married in 1926. They had two boys, Gordon Ivan and Stewart William.

Mildred was raised on a farm a few miles east of Nanton, Alberta. Her parents, Harold Frederick Garbutt and Sarah Rebecca Lewis were both from Ontario. They married in 1924 and ventured out to the Wild West after their first son, Lewis, was born. They had four other children: Arletta, Donald, Phyllis, and Mildred Mae. Another son, Bruce, died in infancy. 

In 1946, the Davies family moved to a farm just south of Nanton and shortly thereafter, Gordon and Mildred met at a fateful community dance in Parkland. They were married in 1950. The next year, Gordon took a job at the Purity 99 refinery just north of Longview.

The bustling company community of Mercury Camp consisted of the employees of Purity 99 and their families 

During their years in Mercury Camp, Gordon and Mildred had five children: Theodore Gordon (1952), Leslie Dawn (1955), Ivan Blaine (1956), Arletta Lorraine (1959), and Teresa Darlene (1961). The refinery suffered a huge explosion and fire in 1953 and then closed down in 1961. As a result of the closure, Gordon took a job as an operator at the brand-new Wildcat Hills Petro-Fina gas and sulphur plant (now Petro Canada) ten miles west of Cochrane and moved his family to their new home in the summer of 1962 

The move, however, took place in stages. Gordon went up to Cochrane in December of 1961 to start his new job, and wee Ivan, at the tender age of five, made the trek north at the beginning of June to get a head start on his education, attending a couple of weeks of kindergarten Teddy and Leslie were attending school in Longview, SD Mildred waited out the school year and brought the rest of the clan up at the beginning of July. 

At the time, Cochrane had a population of about 800 people. The Davies moved into a small bungalow, just off Main Street, two houses north of what was then Graham’s Pharmacy. There were only two bedrooms for the family of seven – but they made do just fine with the three girls tucked into the second bedroom and the boys bunking out in the open basement. This small home later had several incarnations as different restaurants including a rib house, and Chinese and Mexican restaurants. It was an odd feeling for us to go sit at a table in our parents’ bedroom and order a meal! 

The days in Cochrane were punctuated by the town siren sounding daily at noon. On occasion, the emergency siren would also start wailing to announce a fine Dad, who was a volunteer firefighter for several years would drop everything and make a mad dash to the fine hall. Other regular sounds were the church bells pealing on Sundays, and frequent train whistles all day every day The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Station stood by itself on the long strip of land between Main Street (now 1st Street) and the railroad tracks. Theo and Ivan remember anxiously hanging around the station platform waiting for the trains to come through and unload their mystery cargoes. In the first few years, we received our Sears parcels by train and the boys have fond memories of one truly exciting package – the green Woods tent that became the focal point of our annual family vacation in Mara Lake, British Columbia The anticipation of going camping in it was almost overwhelming! 

The sleepy little village with its graveled streets and open fields was an idyllic playground to grow up in Everyone knew everyone else, doors were never locked, neighbours dropped in unannounced for coffee, and we children roamed free – as long as the dishes and our other chores were done! 

We had great fun playing scrub baseball next to the railroad tracks for hours on end. Summer nights and weekends, one of the neighbourhood kids would run up the street calling out, “Scrub, scrub!” and the rest of us would grab our mitts, if we were lucky enough to have one, and pour out of our houses to race over to the field, jump the page wire fence, tag home base and call out “Batter 1! Batter 2! Catcher! Pitcher!” according to Our preference and order of arrival. These scrub baseball games may have been instrumental in Ivan’s not-so-illustrious performance in Minor Baseball League games played on the Banff-Canmore-Exshaw circuit! 

On our street, other summer sports included pick-up tackle football in the Milligan yard (site of the present Ducks on the Roof business complex), and long evenings of Hide and Seek, Ante Over, and Kick the Can. On sunny summer days, we would set off to go fishing in Big Hill Creek. To us, the creek seemed like a l-o-o-n-g way out of town, and there were times when Ivan and his buddies were known to hop the train and take it down as far as they could, so they could save a few footsteps. The stretch of the creek between Cochrane Ranche and where it joins the Bow River yielded many a tasty trout! 

The other place we could always be found was the aid outdoor swimming pool, which is now long gone and buried under the playground next to the outdoor skating rink at the bottom of Big Hill. We would sometimes spend entire days splashing and roughhousing in the undersized pool. In the early 1960s, the Cochrane Piranha Swim Club was born, with Keith Raby as the coach. We Davies children all took to the water like fish and spent several years swimming with the Piranhas and competing in summer swim meets around Alberta. Leslie, Arletta, and Teresa all went on to become lifeguards and swimming instructors, and Leslie coached the Cochrane Piranhas for a couple of summers. 

In the winter, we simply switched venues from the swimming pool to the skating rink next door to it! The winters were very cold and the snow banks were often piled higher than the boards around the rink. We all learned to skate by playing games like Crack the Whip, Pom Pom Pull Away, and British Bull Dog. An old one-room schoolhouse that had been moved to the west end of the rink was used as a change house. It had an old pot-bellied wood stove in it, and it was always a real treat when the stove was fired up! Later we started using the swimming pool building as a changing room. 


Then, as now, hockey was the be-all and end-all. In the early years, the boys used gunny sacks to carry up to the rink their prized hockey equipment, metal rod shin pads, newspaper for extra padding, and quart jar sealer rings to hold it all together! Ted and Ivan both played hockey from Tiny Mite to Midget, and the girls froze their behinds faithfully cheering them on all winter long. 

In addition to recreational skating and hockey, the boys also spent countless hours practicing for the Cub and Scout Ice Chuckwagon races. The Cochrane teams often brought home the coveted championship trophies from the Banff-Canmore-Exshaw circuit, and Ivan still remembers the excitement of getting to compete in the Calgary Stampede Corral. 

Big Hill Creek provided many a winter adventure, too! With our skates slung over our shoulders, we made the long trek down to the old Creamery on the site of what is now Cochrane Ranche. There, we would lace up and spend long hours ripping and roaring up and down the creek! 

Gordon’s lifelong love of horses was a core part of our family life. Given that we lived in town, we boarded the horses in a field in the east end of town, where the present-day Hill Lodge is situated, as well as uphill on the Copithorne farm, where the GlenEagles development is today. Many glorious days were spent riding the hillsides. It was particularly interesting to notice how the underground springs in the area would shift, popping up in different locations from one week to the next! 

Gordon’s dream was always to own his own land and run cattle and horses. With five children to support, however, this was difficult to do. But he always owned cattle, buying some of the first purebred Charolais cattle brought in from France. In the beginning, he pastured them out at the Dalton Gibson ranch at the end of Jamieson Road west of Cochrane; later on, he moved them to the twenty acres he purchased just west of Cochrane Lake. Although the family never lived on that piece of land, it still brings up bitter-sweet memories of endless days picking rocks and planting and digging potatoes, all the while struggling to stay upright in the relentless westerly winds! 

The family participated in many local riding events, especially the annual Beaupre gymkhana. Ivan remembers riding his first steer at the age of 14 at the Lions Club rodeo grounds. At that time, the grounds were located out at the “edge of town”, but now they are pretty much smack in the middle of town! Ivan continued his rodeo career with wild cow milking, wild horse racing, and many a team roping event with his father, Gordon. 

A great memory of early Cochrane is the phone system. No such thing as dial phones then – just the old wooden box phone with a crank handle! We had to ring the operator and ask for the number we wanted. Our number was 23 – Leslie still has her old figure skates with her name and phone number written inside. It’s funny to think of how, in the mid 1960s, the entire town was called to a meeting in the community hall to learn how to use the new dial phones that were to be connected on New Year’s Eve! 


Other fond memories of growing up in Cochrane: Fresh bread at the bakery (where the Telus building is now located) – five loaves for a dollar! 

Garden raiding on warm summer evenings and delicious sour crab apples, especially from R. E. Moore’s trees. 

Long hours lost browsing through the bookshelves of the community library in the basement of the town hall – hooray for Nancy Drew! 

Wash day Monday, with Mom elbow deep in the wringer washer, the laundry flapping in the breeze in summer and frozen stiff in winter. 

The Calgary Herald paper route being passed down through all the siblings, from Teddy to Teresa, over the course of several years! 

The excitement of roaming the aisles of Kerfoot and Downs Hardware store with Dad, trying to find some little thing for Mom for Mother’s Day. 

A family charge account at Graham’s Drugstore and Moore’s Foodmaster. 

The thrill of buying a new pair of jeans at Andison’s Dry Goods store. 

Piranha swim club 24 hour swimathons. 

Teen club walkathons to the edge of Calgary and back. 

Saturday allowance of 10 cents each, which bought us a chocolate bar or a bag of chips. 

Fries and gravy for 30 cents at the Range Grill, a big splurge at 10 cents a week! 

Roaming the Cochrane hillsides for early spring crocuses The “swinging tree” with the rope hanging over the creek for us to dare each other on. 

The fascination of television when it first came out, and Sunday evenings with the whole family watching Bonanza together on the black and white screen. 

Leslie and Arletta scooping ice cream at MacKay’s where the lineups were as long as or longer than now! 

Dad’s short stint as the town dog catcher. 

Graduation from Cochrane High School for all five kids

Where are we in 2008? 

Gordon worked as an operator and then as an instrument technician at the Petro-Fina gas plant. He made a dream reality when he and Mildred moved out of town to twenty acres situated just south of the ANG gas plant. In 1981, Petro-Fina was acquired by Petro- Canada, and Gordon took an early retirement a year later at age 55. Thereafter, he continued to enjoy working with his horses and helping out neighbours and friends with any and everything. Sadly, he passed away in 1988, a the young age of 61. He died doing what he loved, however, as he was outside working with his spring calves. 

Mildred continues to live on the acreage just outside of town that she and Gordon bought. After spending many years raising their five children, she took on developing some of her own hobbies and loves. She traveled far and wide, including to Africa and South America to visit Leslie while she was doing volunteer work on those continents. She also took up golf and oil painting, two creative endeavours that she enjoys immensely and does very well at. 

Theo got a diploma in Architectural Technology from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. After graduating, he set off to fulfill his dream of circumnavigating the world and spent two years backpacking his way from West to East. Shortly after his return he started up his own carpentry business that was in operation from 1978 to 1986. He married Eileen Prevost and they have two wonderful boys, Brenden Wyatt (1984), who has a certificate in Computer Aided Drafting from Bow Valley College, and Tyson Cory (1989), who plans a career in EMT/firefighting. When the boys were young, Theo took a job with Methanex in Kitimat British Columbia, where the family lived for 15 years. When Methanex closed down in 2007, they moved Cold Lake, AB, where Theo works with Encana.

Leslie graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Education in English literature. She later went on to do two years of her Masters Degree in English. Leslie has taught high school for many years with the Calgary Catholic School District, which she enjoys immensely. Another love of hers, however, is volunteer service, and she has done over ten years of full-time volunteer work in Africa, India, and Latin America, as well as here at home in Canada. She is married to Robert John Paul Herrod and they live happily with their two cats in the quiet and neighbourly east end of Cochrane. 

After high school, Ivan spent some time testing gas wells and then traveling overseas. He also worked for numerous years in the guest ranch industry, as well as guiding hunting and fishing trips in the Northwest Territories and northern British Columbia. Later on, he settled into the ski business and owned his own ski shop in Calgary for fifteen years. Ivan has two lovely daughters, Mackenzie Dawn (1985) and Carla Mae (1988). Kenzi graduated from Olds College with a diploma in Land Management, and Carla is pursuing a career in nursing. Ivan continues to live in Cochrane and is presently serving as a Town Councillor. In addition to serving as chairperson of the Cochrane Labour Day Parade Committee for a number of years, he has been a volunteer with the Calgary Stampede Parade Committee for 20 years. 

Arletta married William (Bill) Cross of Nanton in 1981. Bill’s family owned the historic A7 Ranch, and Arletta enthusiastically joined Bill in working of the ranch. In 1986, the family ranch was divided, and Bill and Arletta continued ranching under the name of Cross Cattle Company Ltd. Along with ranching, Arletta has her own consulting business. They have three great boys: Malcolm Alexander (1985), who is a helicopter pilot; Devin Jennings (1987), who has a year of studies at the University of Calgary under his belt; and Austin James (1993), who is in grade 8. An infant girl, Amber E. Cross, was born in February 1991 and, sadly, passed away in May of that same year. 

Teresa married William (Bill) Ostlund of Calgary in 1995. They have three lovely children: Michaela Kathleen (1996), Liam Gordon (1998), and Paul William (2000). Teresa has a diploma in Business Administration from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and worked in the oil and gas industry for many years as an executive administrator in the corporate and land departments. A lifelong fitness fanatic, Teresa accomplished her dream of doing an Ironman triathlon race when she completed Ironman Canada in 2006. Teresa is devoted to her growing family. 

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