Inglis Ranch Research

Bill Watts of Ottawa recently asked if we knew of the Inglis Ranch. Frank Hennessey did some research and found an article in Big Hill Country.

CAPTAIN AND MRS. INGLIS – by Jo Hutchinson 

William Mason Inglis, who was generally known as Captain Inglis, owned land north of Cochrane along Beaver Dam Creek. He received title to SW1/4 17-28-3-5 in 1907, the S 1/2 of section 8 in the same township in 1908, and the adjoining NW1/4 in 1912. This land is now the property of the Jansen family. It should be understood that he could have been living on his land, and possibly homesteading a part of it, a number of years before the title was registered. He received title to SW1/4 32-27-3-5 in 1910, and sold it to Ernie Bell the following year. 

SW 17 28 3 W5

Captain Inglis was a veteran of the Boer War. His army saddle, that shows the mark of bullets, is now owned by Walter Hutchinson. It may be presumed that Captain Inglis left the Cochrane area to serve in the Boer War, since he did live here before its outbreak in 1899. 

He was a prominent Thoroughbred breeder and at one time is believed to have a had a race track on his land, although it was probably only used by him, and his neighbour, R. F. Bevan. Captain Inglis took an active part in the operation of the Cochrane race track; he also entered horses in the races, and on occasion, rode in events himself, 

During World War One Captain Inglis sold a number of horses to the Canadian Army for use in cavalry regiments. He and R. F. Bevan would trail the horses to Cochrane, where they were purchased by Army representatives and shipped by train to the East. 

Records of All Saints Anglican Church, Cochrane, show that Captain Inglis was appointed to the Vestry in 1899, serving as People’s Warden. As he lived about 25 miles from Mitford, where the church was located until later that year, attendance at church would have been dependent upon a fast team on the buggy, or a good saddlehorse. Communication with the far-flung parishioners would have been difficult, too, without the benefit of telephones or automobiles. 

Captain and Mrs. Inglis had three children, Ian, Robin and Evelyn. He sold out during the early 1920s, and it is believed that the family returned to England. Attempts at locating the family have proved unsuccessful. 

The Inglis family are remembered north of Cochrane; when a Post Office was opened at McCrady’s, it was officially named Inglis. The school district that was organized in that area was also named Inglis. The site chosen for Inglis School was on land originally owned by Captain Inglis. 

ROBERT INGLIS – by Jo Hutchinson 

Robert Chalmers Inglis received title to NW14 16-28-3-5 in 1891. The title was transferred to R. F. Bevan in 1898, and the land is now the property of the Leonard Beddoes family. 

It is believed that Robert (Bob) Inglis was related to Captain Inglis, and that he was a bachelor. There may have been several members of the Inglis family living in the Calgary area around 1900, since there are seven people by that name listed in the 1907 Brand Registry, all of whose addresses were listed as either Okotoks or Calgary. 

INGLIS SCHOOL – by D. M. McDonald 

The Inglis School District was formed in 1917, after a great deal of debate between the parents of school-age children and the many local residents who had none. Ernie Bell, who had three school-age children, and the Irish Kings, also with three, were the chief advocates for the formation of a new school district, as the nearest schools to these families were Weedon, Summit Hill or Lochend. After much discussion with Alberta Government representatives, the district was formed, and was named Inglis in honor of Captain Inglis, a veteran of the Boer War, and a local resident. 

In the spring of 1917, the contract to build the school was let to Dan Fenton, and by the fall of that year the school was ready to open. It was the first of the new style of schools that was built in the Cochrane area. Most of one side of the school was windows. 

The first teacher was Miss Ruby Wood, from Calgary. She boarded with the Ernie Bells, who just lived down the hill below the school, which was located on the SW corner of the Bell’s land, the SW14 32-37-3-5. The first pupils to enroll were three of the Irish King children, three of the Bells, the two Malcolm girls, John Milligan, Eric North and Douglas McDonald. The only one of these students in the Cochrane district at the present time is John Milligan. 

The Bells moved away shortly after the school was opened. Eric North, who had been staying with the Bells, also left, so the enrollment was sharply reduced, then the Ferguson family moved into the district; they had two school-age girls who attended. There was never a large enrollment at Inglis School, and it was closed periodically owing to a lack of students. At one time it was kept open for four students.

 Miss Lila Webster from Cochrane taught at Inglis for a time. She later married Tom Cairns. Miss Collier boarded with Mr. and Mrs. Angus McDonald while she taught there; Miss Janet Smith, who was related to the McCradys, boarded with them. She married Harry Jones. Miss Eva Whittle, who later married Ernie Peppard, boarded with the Edgar Youngs. As far as is known, other teachers at Inglis, not necessarily named in order, were Mr. Millar, Miss Wilson, and Miss Catherine Zuccolo. 

Angus McDonald and Ab McCrady were among those who took an active part in the operation of the school, serving as trustees for many years. 

The Inglis School was moved to Cochrane and used as an auxiliary classroom during the late 1940s. Later it was moved to the skating rink, to be used as a dressing room for several years.

Update from Bill Watts

FYI – he’s buried at Calgary, died suddenly in 1912. He was wounded in action in the Boer War (shot in the leg).

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