Why do people immigrate to Canada? Cathy Thompson relates a story of the Donnelly’s travels and reasons for. Be aware the details are pretty grim.
Another video in the 100 Stories for 100 Years series.
This year CHAPS received what we suspect is a luggage cart that was used at the Cochrane CPR Train Station. Wayne Hilland ran a garage that was just across the street from the train station and likely rescued the cart before the station was demolished.
CHAPS members Mike Taylor and Lonnie Basiuk took on the task of restoration.
We will be placing the cart outside of the museum sometime in May or June.
The 4 by 4’s are hardwood and likely from Eastern Canada. We believe they are original.
Approximately 100 hours of restoration were required to take the cart apart, sand blast the original parts, replace and rebuild the cart. Many of the original parts were re-used. The wheels, lower undercarriage and trim are original.
Reconstruction took place in the Want Quonset during November and December. Mike was hopeful Reno’s would have taken a week but it required striping down and replacing parts. They were hopeful we could sand the trim but we had to sandblast at a place called Consolidated Compressor. We completed the sandblasting in 2.5 hours.
The metal was primed then painted with “Tuscany Red”. This colour closely matches the original.
We think that baggage carts for CP and CN were constructed by the same manufacturer. We’ve tried to track down these numbers. When you think of it every station had one of these carts. We think the cart came from the late 1800’s, early 1900’s due to the square bolts used. We need to get into places like Heritage Park to do more research.
Mike figures with all the construction materials the cart weighs in a three quarters of a ton and yet when you pick it up it moves just beautifully. It’s got big wide wheels so it doesn’t fall into cracks. It’s extremely well designed.
Cost of renovations was just under $1000.00
The Cart was offered to CHAPS by the family of Wayne Hilland. We are grateful for this addition to our exhibit. We are planning on placing the cart outside of the Cochrane Historical Museum, spring of 2020. We will let you know the date of the dedication.
Don Hutchinson remembers when dynamite was advertised in the Western Producer and was used on the Perrenoud Ranch. He has a handful of “dynamite” stories.
He continues with stories about his Uncle Vincent.
This is Don’s second video recorded in 100 Stories for 100 Years by Barry Thorson.
CHAPS Christmas Party 2019 was a wonderful get together with friends, supporters and members.
As people walked in Larry had displayed some photos we received from the Stockman’s. I’d never seen most of them before. We’ll create a couple of posts from these very interesting photos of the Cochrane Ranche bunk house and manager’s home. Most of the remaining photos were from the 1890’s of residents and main street.
While creating our YouTube channel to store our 100 Stories for 100 Years collection by Barry Thorson I learned of the wide range of renowned Cochrane residents. I hope to flesh out that list in a future post.
While flipping through More Big Hill Country I discovered this poem by Bobby Turner and followed up by reading their family history
As I ride in the storm I am not alone
It seems to me I am just coming home.
Ernie Thompson’s pack-saddle sits on old buck,
Gord Davies hobbles on the neck of Chuck.
Frank Hutchinson said, “don’t leave any rope slack.”
Carl’s brand on the fly that covers one pack.
From my father, Frank Newsome, and many others,
I learned ways of the wilderness: I didn’t have brothers.
From three older sisters I learned much of course,
Because each one of them was good with a horse.
With Wearmouths or Bowhays, some of the best
There were many a time our skills were put to the test.
Audley Richards was the first one I’d ever seen
Put a pack on a horse, and since then I have been keen.
To learn from each packer, a new trick or two
And from watching real close I learned quite a few;
Respect for the horse from Dr. Don Moore
Be careful in rivers, Hayward taught me for sure.
With all these teachers I won’t have a fear
To ride in the mountains with a packstring this year.
And somehow packing horse will be much more fun
I can teach a few tricks to some of my sons
The chill of the wind will not bother me
For just like the eagle; I’m wild and free.
If not in the flesh, then in spirit and mind.
And when I must leave this real world behind
With my good wide Sunni right by my side
Together on the wings of the eagle we’ll fly.
So don’t shed a tear for me my good friend
I have rode with the wind: I will ride again.
Gordon and Dolly Callaway ran a diary farm north and east of Cochrane. Daughter Rochelle relates in her history in More Big Hill Country that this was Gordon’s home for the majority of his life.
Dolly and Gordon recorded their story of growing up in Alberta when distances were harder to traverse and winter was a more of a struggle. Their story was captured by Barry Thorson in his CHAPS sponsored series, 100 Stories for 100 Years.
I think the title of their video comes from their wish to spend time somewhere tropical after spending so many years in Canada’s winter.
Callaway’s were neighbors when my brothers and I were growing up. I was fascinated by a diary and by the huge tunnels David built in the feed in their huge barn. I also remember Christmas’s filled with conversations, music and games.
Their family history starts on page 350 of More Big Hill Country.
Page 68-69 of More Big Hill Country has a really interesting history of the cattle industry, 1493 through 2008. You can see the ups and downs of one of the major industries of early Cochrane.
1493 – Spanish cattle come to the south of America on Columbus’ second voyage. Fore bearers of the Texas Longhorn
1823 – First cattle in Alberta at Fort St. Charles on the Peace River. Brought in by fur traders.
1857 – John Palliser’s group explores the west.
1866 – Nelson Storey drives 3,000 Longhorns from Texas to Bozeman, Montana. First herds to feed the miners.
1870 – Between 1860 and 1870 over 22,000 head of cattle herded to gold mines in the interior regions of British Columbia, Fraser Canyon and Cariboo Districts. Buffalo herds mainly gone from the Plains.
1871 – Fred Kanouse brings approximately 20 from Montana to winter in Alberta foothills.
1874 – John McDougall (Missionary) and brother David, one of the first cattlemen in the foothills region, drive a small herd from Sun River region in Montana to Morleyville, Alberta, North West Mounted Police (NWMP) arrive at present day Fort Macloed, bringing their own herd of cattle (25 head)
1875 – British Columbia herd of 400 go to Fort Edmonton. I.G. Baker Co. of Fort Benton, Montana brings herd of “police” beef.
1876 – Sgt. Whitney of NWMP turns cattle loose for the first time to winter on their own. The beginning of a long tradition. In the spring all 25 had survived.
1878 – First move made toward systematic branding in this region. Rustling and alterations of a brand becoming a serious problem and a serious offence.
1879 – First bona fide round up of the Foothills region.
1880 – Land opening for homesteading.
1887 – Disaster comes in the form of over grazed pastures and severe winter conditions. 50% of all cattle died in the grazing region from Red Deer River south to Texas.
1888 -Putting up hay for the winter becomes widespread practice in the Canadian cattle districts.
1891 – A deathly blizzard blows.
1890 – Quorn Ranches begins importing better breed bulls with hopes of improving breeds here. Fencing has begun. Ranchers had to reconcile their life styles to having farmers as neighbors.
1896 – Gold discovered in Yukon, 40,000 men rush to the Klondike.
1897 – P. Burns sponsors the first successful cattle drive to Dawson City by shipping cattle up the west coast to a point near Skagway then trailing them north over treacherous trails and rafting them down river. Bill Henry in charge.
1899 – Introduction of hot sulphur dipping vats to eliminate mange.
1900 – First Calgary bull sale.
1902 – Bar U receives shipment of 1,000 Mexican cattle, noted for their hardiness, however, they lacked confirmation.
1905 – Alberta and Saskatchewan achieve provincial status.
1906 – The hard winter, blizzards never to be forgotten …. and many long frigid weeks. It was a breaking point for many. The cattle that survived had white faces – the beginning of a large scale Hereford expansion in western Canada.
1912 – Beginning of the Calgary Stampede – organized by Guy Weadick and backed by the “Big Four”.
1914 – World War I Begins.
1919 – Worldwide flu epidemic. Bad weather combined with price collapse – many ranches bankrupt.
1929 – A world wide depression hits.
1931 – Provinces take over natural resources from Federal governments, previously ranch leases issued by Ottawa.
1936 – Federal government institutes relief shipment of cattle.
1939 – World War II begins followed by meat rationing – embargo of beef exports to U.S.
1951 – Highest prices on record – $35.00 CWT, followed by foot and mouth disease outbreak.
1952 – Market Collapse
1953 – First Charlais cattle imported in Canada.
1955 – Canada health of animals initiates National Brucellosis program.
1956 – Rapid expansion in the cattle feeding.
1957 – Canadian Hereford centennial.
1958 – First major custom feedlot, western feedlots, opened in Strathmore, Alberta – producer owned.
1959 – Federal – Provincial record of production established.
1960’s – Building of kill and chill beef plants – especially in Alberta.
1965 – European imports permitted first arrivals 1966. Record cow slaughter and beef production – not exceeded until 1977.
1967 – Canada net importer of beef for first time – hamburger trade at Expo a factor.
1968 – First Simmental from France followed by other breeds from Switzerland, Italy, German, Austria – again followed by explosive developments in A.I. and cross breeding.
1969 – Further expansion of cattle feeding in western Canada due to grain surplus.
1972 – New beef grades established in Canada. Canada pioneers embryo transplants. Montreal beef trades evolved.
1973 – Record high prices – first time calves over dollar/pound.
1974 – OPEC quadruples oil prices – coincident with world over supply of meat followed by a catastrophic price collapse through to 1977.
1980’s – Removal of the “Crow Rate” (a subsidy for shipping grain to the ports for export) spawned the acceleration of the growth of the feeding industry in Alberta.
1990’s – Two major food processing plants were established in Alberta, Tyson’s and Cargill.
2002 – Canada became the third largest exporter of beef and veal represent 15% of all global beef and veal exports in the world.
2003 – Bovine Spongiform Encelphalopathy (BSE) case discovered in one cow in Alberta – Alberta experiences an unprecedented $30 Billion halt of sales due to border closures of seven countries plus the USA to close the borders to Canadian Beef – Canada lost it’s ranking as the third largest exporter of beef in the world.
2004 – Brazil jumps to first place from 4th place and now exports 30% of the World’s beef.
2008 – Canada now represents just 10% of all beef and veal exports globally. At the present time as the beef industry adds significantly to Alberta’s economy, there will be changes in the Industry in the coming years.
Many of the terms Alberta Pioneers used now sound unfamiliar. How do you do with these 10 pioneer expressions?
Photos and text (page 791) from Big Hill Country.
More than just clothing to protect you from the elements. There are rules attached. Reprinted from page 18 More Big Hill Country.
A gentleman always removes his hat when first meeting a lady.
In subsequent meetings, a gentleman tips his hat to the lady.
When entering an enclosed living space, such as a home it is proper to remove one’s hat.
Do not leave your cowboy hat in the back window of your car while parked out in the heat of the day.
Better yet don’t leave your hat in a vehicle at all.
When looking for a place to put your hat, the first and most appropriate spot is the top of your head!
And, it had always been considered bad luck to place your cowboy hat brim on the bed.
The image of the haying crew is from our archives. It’s one of the many local photographs we’ve received with no details.
Leslie Davies talks about growing up in Cochrane, working at Mackay’s, going to school in the old 2 room, later 4 room brick school and a life lesson learned by volunteering.
This video from our 100 Stories for 100 Years series on our YouTube site. Please like and subscribe.
This video is part of the Live Stories Programme – 100 Stories for 100 Years, Produced by Barry Thorson – Lone Wolf Theatre Company
CHAPS has received a number of documents outlining the historical significance of the COCHRANE RANCHE.
Cochrane Ranche is the site of Alberta’s first large‐scale ranch, which operated between 1881 and 1888. The designated area consists of archaeological remains and landscape features on approximately 137 acres, located in a sheltered valley on the west bank of Big Hill Creek, west of the Town of Cochrane and overlooking the Bow River.
The heritage value of Cochrane Ranche lies in its representation of large‐scale cattle ranching in southern Alberta prior to 1896.
In 1881 the federal Conservative government initiated a policy of granting large‐scale grazing leases in hopes of establishing an Anglo‐Canadian ranching elite in the North‐West Territories. The first such lease, for 109,000 acres west of Calgary, was secured by the Cochrane Ranche Company, a group of Eastern capitalists under the leadership of Senator Matthew Cochrane of Montreal. As the first lease‐holder the Company was able to choose land that appeared to have all the criteria for success. The lands straddled the proposed route of the Canadian Pacific Railway and was blessed with good agricultural land in the Bow River valley, a climate of chinooks and plentiful grasses.
It also had ready access to markets for cattle in the nearby North West Mounted Police (NWMP) posts, Stoney and Sarcee Indian Reservations, and with future settlers. In 1881 the I.G. Baker Company of Fort Benton was contracted to drive cattle up from Montana and the ranch’s first manager, James Walker, a retired NWMP superintendent, began constructing buildings beside Big Hill Creek. Despite these advantages, the Ranche suffered drastic losses in its first two years, due to hard winters, lack of winter fodder, and poor herding practices. In 1883 the Company relocated its cattle south to a new lease on the Belly River and tried to raise horses and sheep on the original Cochrane Ranche, now reincorporated as the British American Ranch Company. This was not profitable, either, and in 1888, amid increasing pressure from incoming settlers to break up the large leases for homesteads, the property was sold.
Nonetheless, the Cochrane Ranche is a prominent part of the history of the beef cattle industry in Alberta and reflects the relationship between Eastern Canada and southern Alberta in the period after Confederation.
Between 1898 and 1919 the property was also the site of two brickyards, which played a role in Calgary’s booming construction industry prior to World War One. Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Heritage Resource Management Branch (File: Des. 395)
The character‐defining elements of the Cochrane Ranche include:
‐ archaeological remains associated with historic buildings and structures including the manager’s house, bunkhouses, stable, blacksmith shop, dugout, brickyards, barns and sheds, corrals;
‐ information potential of affiliated archaeological deposits, which provide an opportunity for additional
‐ landscape features such as a quarry, viewscapes, elevations, creek;
‐ documentary records relating to the history of the ranch, which support existing interpretation and provide
opportunity for additional study, including: plans of survey, maps, managers diaries, photographs, etc.;
‐ records resulting from archaeological studies previously undertaken including: reports plans, maps, photographs and substantive artifact collections, which provide an opportunity for additional research and interpretation.
Gordon Davies recently recieved a number of pages from a notebook kept by Margaret Buckley. CHAPS goal is to digitize the notebook and photos, restore the photos and add them to our collection.
The photo at the top of this page is labelled 1927.
The scan of the original document is below. We rescanned each image and did a minimal amount of processing to correct it. Those pictures with notes also appear below.
Man of Vision Cochrane Provincial Historic Site
Our final steps will be to have the images printed and put out for display.
CHAPS is planning monthly presentations of the history of Cochrane and Area. The first, which was given in October, goes hand in hand with an exhibit we’re planning. Thanks to Tim Collard for researching and developing a pamphlet. The presentation was done by Frank Hennessey. Photos courtesy of Glenbow Archives.
Cochrane Races 1900 – 1910 The First Race
The first recorded horse race in Cochrane took place in 1891. W.D. Kerfoot, former manager of the Cochrane Ranche, challenged his brother-in-law, William Bell-Irving, to a match race. Kerfoot’s horse, “The Dude”, won by a nose. This would be
the first of many races won by a Kerfoot horse in Cochrane.
Cochrane Races 1900 – 1910 The First Track
The first Cochrane track was built on land owned by George Bevan, across from the brickyard, between the railroad tracks and the highway.
These early meets largely consisted of local ranchers riding their own horses and racing against their neighbours. By perhaps as early as 1907, however, the popularity of the Cochrane Races drew enough interest from Calgary that the CPR
began to run a special train to bring spectators out to take in the action.
Local Horses, Local Riders
The early 20 th century saw Cochrane establish itself as one of the premier horse raising areas in Western Canada. Anchored by the Bow River Horse Ranch (an offshoot of the Cochrane Ranche) and bolstered by such horsemen as W.D.
Kerfoot, D.P. McDonald, Clem Gardner, The Murphy Brothers, and Walter Hutchinson.
The first thoroughbred in Cochrane was “Konrad”. Imported by Senator Matthew Cochrane, “Konrad” helped to establish the thoroughbred stock in the area. Another import,
“Juryman”, was stood on the Bow River Horse Ranch and sired “Cyclone”, one of the first great horses bred in the Cochrane area. Sold to A.J. Murphy, “Cyclone” dominated the early era of horse racing in Cochrane along with Kerfoot’s “Dixie Land”.
These two horses won races across the continent from Winnipeg to San Francisco.
The Race Industry Grows
By 1910, racing in Cochrane had become the Village’s signature event of the year. The Racing Association decided that a new, modern track, complete with grandstand, was needed. A parcel of land west of town (near the present community of Heartland) was purchased from Robert Howard and the new track was constructed.
Racing continued to grow in popularity after the new track was constructed in 1910. The Cochrane Advocate referred to the 1910 races as “our great annual holiday” and report that hotel rooms were full throughout the Village as crowds from Calgary flocked in by train and the newly popular motor car.
These races were dominated by horses owned by D.P. McDonald, Clem Gardner , E. Howard Abell and Walter Hutchinson, with McDonald’s “Dolly” winning many of the races held in these years.
Early Race Meets
The Cochrane Racing Association was formed in 1894 by A.J. Murphy, William Bell-Irving and W.D. Kerfoot. In 1895, at the Mitford and Cochrane Races, Kerfoot’s horses won all of the flat races on the program.
Cochrane Races 1914-1931 Outbreak of War
1914 saw the outbreak of World War I and with it, a marked decline in horse racing in Cochrane. The races continued throughout the war, but attendance was significantly lower and the field of both horses and riders diminished as Cochrane
was a major supplier of horses for the Canadian army.
Following the War, racing once again began to grow in Cochrane. In 1922, over 2,000 people attended the Cochrane Race meet. D.P. McDonald and Clem Gardner were still competing and Cochrane Area rancher, Laurie Johnson, won five of the ten races he entered.
The dominance of local ranchers would wain, however, with a change of management at the Racetrack.
Around 1925, the Rhodes Brothers, known locally as “Dusty” and “Bumpy”, took over the management of the Cochrane Racetrack. They modernized Cochrane racing by instituting the newly popular Pari-Mutual betting system and attracting professional horsemen from further afield.
The local ranchers’ race was still included, but the Rhodes brothers capitalized on
Cochrane’s reputation as “the best one-mile turf track in Western Canada” to attract a more serious racing crowd to the annual event. The meet was expanded to become a four-day event with larger prizes for the winners.
Cochrane Races 1914-1931 Famous Jockeys
During the heyday of professional racing in Cochrane in the mid to late 1920s, many aspiring jockeys took to the Cochrane course to ply their trade. Two of those jockeys went on to have hall of fame careers in horse racing.
In May of 1930, a cigar store clerk from Calgary and a young jockey with a penchant for books both made their way to the Cochrane course to compete. In the second
race of the third day, the cigar store salesman, Johnny Longden, beat the bookworm, Red Pollard by a nose.
Red Pollard went on to a hall of fame career as Seabiscuit’s jockey while Johnny Longden won over 6,000 races, making him one of the winningest jockeys of all time.
The End of the Race
The late 1920s looked ready to establish Cochrane as a premier racing venue, but the onset of the Great Depression shattered that hope. The Depression made the large, multi-day races that the Rhodes introduced too expensive an undertaking.
At the same time, interest from the local ranchers had waned as the races became
more professionalized. The last race was held at the Cochrane Racetrack in 1931.
CHAPS Plans Diorama Race Track
CHAPS is sponsoring the construction of a diorama showing the Cochrane Race Track at it’s peak. The diorama will be included in our Tribute to the Horse exhibit Summer 2020.
Mitford, Glenbow and Cochrane were towns that existed in close proximity. Why did Mitford become a ghost town? Are there any remnants?
CHAPS plans a series of presentations on the history of Cochrane and area. This is the second of the series that occur monthly.
We’ve recorded the presentation by Frank Hennessey and Gordon Davies and copied it to our YouTube channel. Have a look and remember to subscribe to our channel to get updated every time we produce a new video.
Here’s a video history of Mitford we found on YouTube.
Andy Marshall talks about his involvement with the Cochrane Times.
From the Livestories Programme: 100 Stories for 100 Years. Produced by Barry Thorson & Lone Wolf Theatre Company. Years ago, CHAPS sponsored the production of videos from Cochrane residents to capture their stories.
CHAPS has created a Youtube channel to present these wonderful stories.
In the spring of 2019, the Cochrane Historical Museum was damaged by flood waters from the Big Hill Springs Creek. The lower floor of the Museum containing office space, archives, and research area was damaged by a couple feet of water.
CHAPS, the umbrella organization that runs the Museum put out the call for assistance to help us restore the museum.
We’d like to thank the following people and organizations that came to the rescue. We’re overwhelmed by the generosity and level of support. It really shows how much people treasure the link to history.
|DONATIONS - Individuals|
|Lloyd & Clare Copithorne|
|Jim & Lydia Graham|
|Wally & Lois Irons|
|Tim & Jane Mason|
|Angus & Jean MacKenzie|
|Terry & Lorna McNeill|
|Bill & Jo-Anne Meller|
|W. Penner, R. Penner, T. Penner|
|W. Malcolm Sharp|
|Heinrich Karl & Marilyn Unger|
|Lawrence & Patricia Woods|
|Bow View Rebekah Lodge 125|
|Cochrane Big Hill Needle Arts|
|Cochrane Legion – Branch 15|
|Cochrane Lioness Lions Club|
|Cochrane Men’s Walking Group|
|Drycleaning by Dave|
|Inter Pipeline Ltd.|
|Red Hat Society - Cochrane|
|Riverbend Interiors Floors & Décor|
|Royal Mechanical Services Ltd.|
|Totem Charitable Foundation|
|Town of Cochrane|
|Treasures for Your Home Society|
|UFA Co-operative Limited|
CHAPS is restoring a luggage cart once used at the Cochrane Railway Station.
Mike Taylor and Lonnie Basiuk are leading the project. They have disassembled and examined each of the parts. While well constructed, they’ve discovered most of the wood needs replacing. The metal parts will be sand blasted. The cart will soon be painted, reassembled and join the collection of the Cochrane Historical Museum.
Years ago CHAPS sponsored the creation of 100 Stories for 100 Years. Last year we created a YouTube channel that highlights these local stories. The producer of the series is Barry Thorson of Lone Wolf Theatre Company.
This video is the first we’ll highlight on our website blog.
Author Fred Stenson talks about the history of the Cochrane Ranche and his book Lightning.
CHAPS recently sponsored the installation of 5 more historic signs. Each sign details a bit of the history involved with the site and why it’s important to our local story.
They include the Range Grill, Murray Hardware, Camden House, Shoemaker shop, and Meat Locker plant.
Thanks to all the volunteers and contractors that helped with the construction and installation. These signs help CHAPS fulfill our mission of educating people about the history of our beautiful town.