The Reed Family

by Audrey Brown and Dorothy Boothby
pg 265 Big Hill Country 1977

In 1922 our father, Sydney John Reed, decided to immigrate to Canada from Woolwich, Kent, England. This decision was brought about due to a bad case of rheumatism, and a change in climate was the recommended cure. Arrangements were soon made with his fiance, Lilian Goodwin, and Father headed for Cochrane in 1923. 

Cochrane was the place chosen because Lilian Goodwin’s sister, Dora Noland, and her husband, Lloyd, lived on a homestead there. Father was greeted by Dora, Lloyd, and their four children, Beverly, Algy, Gary, and Bernice. The homestead was a Soldier’s Settlement entitled to Lloyd for his service during World War One. The farm was on the banks of the Bow River, eight miles west of Cochrane. The land was rocky and barren and did not lend itself to being a productive farm. Father worked as a handyman on the farm, while Lloyd was away working as a Government Mange Inspector until Lilian arrived from England in 1924. 

Father and Mother were married in a small ceremony at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Calgary, with Mr. and Mrs. Bert Baker and the Minister in attendance. 

Father and Mother remained on the Noland’s farm for one year until their first daughter, Audrey, was born. Another daughter, Eileen, was born to the Nolands. Consequently, with this sudden population explosion, Father and Mother realized it was time to move on. They decided to move to the Wildcat Hills, quite a name for a young girl fresh out of London. Here, Father found work at the Brooks Sawmill. 

After a few years, Father and Mother could see that the three Brooks boys were growing up and would soon be able to manage the sawmill themselves. So, in 1927 they moved to the town of Cochrane where Father found work at the hotel, then owned by Jack Dickenson. He also took jobs during harvest time, pitching bundles. 

In 1929 another daughter, Dorothy, was born. Father and Mother purchased a lot up the street north of the hotel, and they started to build a  home. At this time the government organized labour camps in an effort to curb unemployment. This gave Father the opportunity to work as a timekeeper in Seebe and Sundre. 

By 1935 the depression years began to come to a close and Father became established as a butter maker in the Cochrane Creamery. He held this position until he transferred to Okotoks in 1953. 

The second World War led to a shortage in man power. This gave girls a chance to get into the working force. Audrey was now eighteen and she became one of the first women to take over a man’s job in the bank. The staff of the Royal Bank in Cochrane in 1943 was Arthur O’Keefe, Ida Cooke and Audrey Reed. 

Audrey on bike in front of house
Dorothy Boothby

In 1943 Father succeeded Andy Chapman as the Mayor of Cochrane. During his short term in office, he managed to get garbage collectors for the town, something which up until then had been taken care of by the individual resident. Father was also the Vicar’s Warden in All Saints Anglican Church for many years and Mother was organist for awhile. 

Audrey was married, in 1947, to Donald Edward Brown who lived seven miles northeast of Cochrane. After their marriage, they moved to Edmonton where Donald was attending University. Audrey and Donald have four children, Dawn, married, with a daughter, Erin, and living in Calgary, Janet, married and nursing in Vancouver, Reed a world traveler, and Craig attending the Alberta College of Art in Calgary. 

Audrey, Don Brown Dorothy Boothby

Dorothy worked for the Royal Bank in Cochrane from 1947 until transferred to Calgary in 1951. In 1957 Dorothy married Bill Boothby of Cochrane. They reside on a ranch north of Cochrane and have three sons, Mark, Laurie, and Dana. The boys attend school in Cochrane. 

In 1958 Father passed away while still actively working at the Creamery in Okotoks. After Father’s death, Mother moved to Calgary, where she remained until her death in 1963. 

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