W.H. Webb Family

by George Webb pg 663 Big Hill Country 2007

Dad came to Canada, from England in 1905, along with Sam Timmins and Alf Elkins. My uncle Charlie was already over here. The four of them homesteaded Section 22-27-4-5. Dad’s was the NE4 22-27-4-5. They hauled logs from the bush north of the homestead to build their houses. The logs were hauled with a team and wagon. When each one of them finished their house, they sent for their family to come over. Mother and the children arrived in 1906, the children were Florence, Charlie, Ethel, George, and Harry. At that time Harry was the baby. Billy, Dorothy, and Alfred were born in Canada

There were no roads, fences, or telephones; money was mighty scarce, but we had really good neighbors. Each family took turns going to town for supplies, which was usually once a month

Alf Elkins thought it was too hard a life. He gave up his homestead, moved to Calgary and started a bakery. Louis Blow took over his land. When Sam Timmins got the title to his land he moved to Calgary. Shortly after, Dad sold our quarter to my uncle Charlie and we moved to Calgary. Dad worked in Calgary until 1917, came back to the Weedon area, bought the Sam Timmins quarter, and started farming all over again.

My sister, Florence, married Tom Quigley, Charlie went Overseas with the 113th Battalion and the twins, Alfred and Dorothy, passed away. In the early twenties, Lily, who had been residing in Vancouver, passed away. Our family was getting smaller all the time. Ethel married Joe Fleenor, they lived in Calgary for a few years and then moved to a farm in the Weedon area. Harry and Bill never married and they are still on the homestead. 


Our water supply came from the sloughs. We used this water until we could get a well dug. Digging of wells was all done by pick and shovel, going to a depth of 90 to 110 feet to get water. 

In those days people were closer to one another, helping each other and certainly not trying to outdo each other; everyone was struggling to build a good life and they found enjoyment in doing it. 

My first job I remember well, was working for Lars Heland. He had Section 27-27-4-5 rented from Frank Smith, who lived at Champion, Alberta. I drove eight head of horses on a brush breaker, walking behind the plough; there was no seat on it so I had very little choice. I broke 100 acres, starting at 4:30 a.m. and stopping at 8:00 p.m. For that I received forty dollars per month. The next year I went to work for Bill McGlashing, who had opened the old Bonnie Brae mine again. We were going to get rich for sure. The mine was on the south side of the Bow River, near the Crawford place. We put a year and a half in there. Tom Zuccolo hauled the timbers for it, we went down four hundred feet and it flooded. We all had to go and find other work, planning to go back in the fall, but we never did. 

I went to work for Walter Hutchinson. I stayed there for three years. He had the biggest hay rack I had ever seen; nine feet wide eighteen feet long with four-foot stakes. We loaded this rack, using the four-tined pitchfork. One day we would haul three loads and the next day four loads. I did this seven days a week all winter long. Art Coburn was working at Hutchinsons too; we never thought about coffee breaks or the eight-hour day, we were so glad to have a job. One incident I remember well, was about 1925 Harvey Adams, a cattle buyer, came out and bought all of the calves. We had to drive the cows and calves to the stockyards in Cochrane and separate them. There being no trucks then, driving was the easiest way to handle them. We got them separated and drove the cows back to the ranch. The next morning the cows were scattered from the ranch to Cochrane. We spent a week looking for cows and I don’t think we ever got them all back. 

In 1928 I went to work for Sibbald Motors in Cochrane. In 1930 I married Eleanor Rushfeldt. R. B. Bennett was Prime Minister then and I think he was the only Prime Minister to keep his promise. He said if he were elected he would have Canada on its feet in sixty days; within thirty days there were thousands walking across the country looking for work. 

Over the years we had four children, Arnold, Kathleen, Orvil and Sharon. Arnold married Mary Young, Kathleen married Roy Line, Orvil married Marian Bell and Sharon married Ray Lambert.

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