Dennis and Maida Wearmouth Family By Dennis Wearmouth
I was born April 14th, 1933, the 6th child of Tom and Anne Wearmouth. The only way I went to school was on horseback, sometimes double with my sister Shirley and brother Bill. The school was Glendale, a 3-mile ride. When I was 15 years old, I left school to stay home and helped milk cows and farm with my Dad, brother Dick and sister Winnie. In 1954 Dick and I bought the E Sec 35 Twp 26 Range 3 W5M from Bob and Mabel Turner. We paid $16,000. and had 3 years to pay for it. In 1957 I bought Dick out. I moved up there from home, fixed up the barn and Dad gave me 15 cows and 200 lbs. of quota and I started milking cows. Maida and I were married on February 22, 1958. We built a loafing barn in 1962. In 1964 we built a modern 1200 sq. ft. home for $15,000. We bought the NW Sec 12 Twp 26 Range 3 W5M for $19,000.00 from Bus Kline on borrowed money from the Farm Credit at 6% interest. The milk cows were sold in 1979 and we‘ve had a small cow-calf operation since. We used a team of horses for chores etc. until 1966. Our first trees were planted on our land in 1965.
Maida Cope was born in Bonnyville, Alberta on September 6th, 1936. She moved to the Munson district with her parents Homer and Doreen Cope. There she attended Morning Glory School for grade one, to Munson School by bus till grade nine and to Drumheller High School. She moved to Calgary in 1953 and worked as a secretary until February 1958 when she married Dennis. We have three children: Mary Gail was born January 21, 1959, and attended Westbrook School and Cochrane High School. She was employed as a legal secretary until her marriage to Scott Edgelow. They have one daughter, Alison. Gail and Scott were divorced in 2000 and Gail now lives in Calgary.
Wanda Margaret was born December 14, 1960, and attended Westbrook School and Cochrane High School, later graduating from Delmar Beauty School. Wanda married Kevin Larsen from Standard, Alberta in July of 1984. They have four children: Cassie, Tyrel, Orin and Kane. Wanda owns and operates a barbershop in Roblin, Manitoba and she and Kevin presently own a lovely ranch in Shell Valley, Manitoba.
Tom Dennis was born on April 1, 1965, and attended Westbrook School and Cochrane High School. He married Jana George from Redvers, Saskatchewan in 1992. They have three children: Dawson, Deja and Dione. Tom has a son Dylan who was born in June 1989. Jana is employed as a nurse part-time at the Children’s Hospital in Calgary. Tom owns an oil well-servicing company. They live in the area near Dennis and Maida.
Memories of the Wearmouths by T.R. (Dick) Wearmouth in 2006 at age 91 years
My parents came from England. Mother, Annie Standring, along with her brother John and sisters Betty and Maggie, came as youngsters, with their parents, Richard and Mary Ann (Polly) Standring in 1902. They came by ship from Bury, Lancashire and spent some time in Montreal before coming to Calgary. Richard and his brother Joe, both homesteaded on Lochend Road.
Dad, Tom Wearmouth, came from County Durham in March 1906. He was 30 years old. He homesteaded on SW Sec 2 Twp 26 R3 W5M. For ten dollars, a person was given a quarter section (160 acres). If in three years, some land was broke, a residence built and you lived there, you obtained the title. That is how much of this area was settled.
Dad worked at the Glenbow Quarry while proving his homestead. He started farming with a saddle horse, a cow, two pigs, some chickens and twenty-five cents. He knew a lot about horses and dogs. He was a hard worker. One year he used three horses to pull a twelve-inch walking plough. He ploughed 100 acres, for a neighbour, walking behind the plough, holding onto the two handles. It must have taken many days.
Many years before, a huge fire had burned through the Glendale, Bearspaw and Westminster districts. It burned for months destroying trees and grass, even burning plant roots beneath the ground. This left raised areas, which would sink when run over. It was called the Burnt Ground.
Tom Wearmouth and Annie Standring were married June 1913. They had seven children; Winnie, Dick, Hugh, Walter, Bill, Dennis and Shirley.
They had a mixed farm, then started milking cows and shipping cream to Calgary. When the herd got larger, milk was shipped in eight-gallon cans. We shipped milk for over thirty years and always had the highest standard for grade and cleanliness. Norman Newsome hauled our milk for many years.
Hugh and I milked the cows (by hand) and later Walter, Bill and Dennis. Later milking machines were used. It was a never-ending job, morning and evening every day. But it provided a cheque every two weeks.
We attended Glendale School. It was one room, but later another room was added.
When Winnie started school she had a small white horse called Snowball. Mother rode along with her for the first few days. It was 3 1/2 miles through the fields. I thought school was fun as we met other kids along the way. Fun! Not so in the cold of the winter. We wore heavy, warm clothes. There were anywhere from three to thirty students. There was a barn for horses. In the winter we took the bridles into the school to keep the bits warm. When Hugh and I were a little older, we would stand up on the horses, even when galloping. We rode bareback as our parents would not allow us to
use saddles. Mother’s little sister, Dorothy, had been dragged when her foot caught in the stirrup.
Winnie and I had finished school when one cold day a fire started in the basement of the school. Everyone got out. Hugh went back in and brought out his bridle and some coats. He gave the coats to some of the younger children and rode home, very cold 1 am sure. Another one-room Glendale School was built on Glendale Road and stayed open until the 1960s.
Mother, besides looking after seven children, was very active. She loved the outdoors and loved riding and going to gymkhanas. She was an excellent horsewoman. She milked cows, churned butter, baked bread, had a large garden and picked berries. She sewed clothing, made quilts and made soap. This is all without modern conveniences. No electricity, running water or gas heating. Mother was also active in the community. The organizational meeting of the Glendale Women ‘s Institute was held at our house in May 1925. Some of the original members were Mother, Grandma Standring, Aunt Ellen Standring, Mrs. Norris, Mrs. Hanes, Mrs. W. Hutchison, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Woodson, Mrs. Cullings, and Mrs.Fenton. The Glendale Women’s Institute is still active today. My mother was a wonderful person and loved by so many. We lost her to cancer in 1937. This was a devastating blow to our family. We had to pick up the pieces and carry on.
I feel Dad was very fortunate to have a daughter like Winnie. She was in her early twenties and took on the responsibilities of seeing to the needs of her younger siblings. Dad was still in control but Winnie and I were there to help and support him. We enjoyed the part we played in their lives and have so many good memories.
My first job away from home was herding sheep for Sim Gillespie. I was about twelve years old. I rode my horse and used their dog. I boarded there and went home Saturday. The 500 sheep were in a section of land. I kept them together in the day and put them in a big corral in the evening. Then I milked a cow before the haymakers came home. I had to quit to go to school. I got a ten-dollar bill when I left.
In 1926 Dad bought a Ford car. When I was sixteen I drove to a dance at the school. Later I met Vernon Jensen. He said I was driving pretty fast and that he could not keep up. I was going 40 miles per hour.
In the early days, all hay was wild (prairie wool). It was cut with horse-drawn mowers with a six-foot cutting bar. A knife went back and forth over the guards. The knife was taken out often to sharpen. The hay was raked then a sweep was used. A team was at each end and the hay swept up to a stacker. Chains were lengthened and the teams went on each side of the stacker. The hay dropped down to make a stack. Later stationary balers were used, then balers pulled by a tractor and later some silage was made.
One summer when Hugh and I were still school age, we helped hay at Hutchinsons of Big Hill Creek. Uncle John had three teams for mowing and stacking. Hugh and I helped stack hay and rode to Cochrane for parts. Mr. Hutchinson had a lot of land growing good prairie wool. In order to get a heavy crop, it was only cut every second year. He had three or four outfits haying. When we were done, we went home to harvest the oats. Then we started hauling hay home. We got it home before winter.
It was difficult to get grain ground. We would sack the grain and take it to Tom Standrings, to be ground. Then we would fill the sacks and take it back home. Tom would clean the grinder, get some clean wheat, grind it and sell it for porridge. It was very good.
One dry year feed was hard to get. A farmer about twelve miles north said he would sell a load of straw for $2.00. Hugh would leave early in the morning with a team and an extra horse hooked on the outside. He would get a big load, pay the two dollars and be home before dark. A real day’s work.
Hugh and I broke horses. We would get three green horses from Rattray’s and break them. We would have one to sell (about $15.00) or to keep. Once I got a beautiful, spirited horse to break. It was over four years old. Hugh came and snubbed it to his saddle horn. I climbed on and around and around the field we went. It seemed to quiet down. A few days later after I had finished chores, I saddled up and headed out. I went to the highway and headed east and just kept going. The Calgary Stampede was on. I rode right through the downtown to the Rodeo Grounds. I talked to Gordon Dingwall for a while. Within an hour I was back on my horse and heading home. As soon as I was close to home, the horse began to buck. Guess he was happy to be home.
One year I got a job with Rawlinsons, fencing, looking after sheep, cows and horses. Just before Christmas, I went to Calgary to shop. With $10.00 in my pocket, I bought presents for the Rawlinsons and all of my family. This was 1936.
One of the jobs I did was road dragging. That is what it was called. A heavy drag was pulled over the rough dirt road to smooth it. Others before me had used four horses and so did I. But it was slow going so I used six horses and speeded up the process. I was bounced around when there were rocks on the road. I did that job for many years.
I used a horse-drawn binder to cut the grain. I never used a whip but I did keep a tin of small pebbles under the seat of the binder. If a horse needed waking, I tossed a pebble on his rump. My horses did not need much persuading to go. A feed of oats twice a day is the best waker-upper for a horse.
Later in the 1940s and fifties, it was action with my siblings, Walter, Bill, Dennis and Shirley. There are lots of stories of those days but they can tell their own.
Hugh left to marry Vernice Towers in the early 1940s. They ranched at Jumping Pound until Hugh passed away in 2005. Vernice resides in the Bethany Lodge. Walter married Kay Whitnack and they still reside on their farm near Cochrane. Bill was a house mover and demolition man. He resided in Calgary until passing away in 1997.
Dennis married Maida Cope and they still reside on their farm on Lochend Road. Shirley was a nurse. She married Bob Thomas. They now reside on the homestead site.
This story tells how things were in the early days. My mother had appendicitis.
Dr. Park came and did the operation on the kitchen table. Dad asked him if he was nervous. The Doctor said,” I was very scared”. The Parks were very good friends of our family.
My Dad had a brother, George Wearmouth. He was a very handyman. He lived at Spencer Creek, west of Cochrane for some time. Hugh and I would go there in the summer. He showed us how to fish. He also made dandelion wine. He was friends with the Morley Indians. Roland Gissing was also a good friend. Uncle George was an artist and Roland would give him advice. George moved to Vancouver to live with his sister, Ruth.
Tom Wearmouth was one of the first members of King Solomon Lodge No. 41, Cochrane, Alberta. It was formed in December 4, 1908. Dad received his fifty-year pin in 1959. In May 2004, my two brothers, Hugh and Walter and I (Dick) received our fifty-year pins at a presentation and banquet in Cochrane. Dad passed away in 1962 at age 87 years.
Winnie and I were left on the farm. Winnie lived on the homestead until 1989 when she went to Big Hill Lodge. Later she was in the Bethany Care Centre. She passed away there in 1993.
I needed more land for beef cattle. I started a herd of Horned Herefords. I bought and sold a ranch at Claresholm before getting a ranch near Sangudo. I moved there in I took my horses and cattle. I had two truckloads of machinery. There were 200 acres ready to seed. I did not have a lot of hay. There was lots of fencing and fixing corrals and barn. The house was in poor shape. Paul Balzer brought a skid shack in to make a house. Later when Pearl and I married, he built us a house.
I met Pearl when she was working for a veterinarian in Sangudo. I was accused of having a lot of sick animals and needing a lot of vet supplies that year. We married in 1973 and moved to my Hard Struggle Ranch. My stepson Doug was a young boy then. We ranched and increased our herd and bought more land. I soon felt at home in this area and made a new life with Pearl, We have lots of good friends and have kept very busy over the years. We moved close to Rochford Bridge and Doug lived on the Ranch. He married Debbie. She teaches school but also helps run the ranch. Pearl and I now live in a Senior‘s complex in Barrhead. Wow!
Walter and Kathryn Wearmouth
Kay and Walter were married in 1948. The wedding party was held at the Delacour Hall northwest of Calgary. We worked for George Clifford milking cows till May 1949. We then moved to the Bearspaw district and operated a dairy farm for Frank Newsome. Milk was put in eight-gallon milk cans, cooled in a water trough and shipped to the Union Milk Company in Calgary. Norman Newsome was hauling the milk in the area at that time. We stayed there for three years. While there our two daughters were born; Anne in 1949 and Marion in 1951.
Frank and Mary Newsome lived across the road where Stan Church now lives. While there, electric power came to the area, simplifying such things as pumping water, running milking machines etc. We also got a fridge. Some of those winters we had a lot of snow and the traffic used the fields more than the roads sometimes driving between the house and the barn. Ernie Dickey, who farmed north of Bearspaw Road, ran a locally owned blower/snowplow.
In 1952 we moved to the Westminster District to operate a dairy farm for Stan and Frances Vincent. We were there for three years. About that time a group of local men took up curling in Cochrane. Some of the weather we put up with just to go curling makes me wonder why (youth, I guess!) George Vincent was hauling our milk at this time. We were milking about 30 Holstein cows.
On May 1, 1995, our dream came true. We had bought 320 acres N Sec 7 Twp 26 Range 3 W5M from Gus Cullings. With it we also bought milk cows, milk quota, saddle horse, tractor and machinery. We were about 3 1/2 miles NE of Cochrane and on our own! We were becoming involved in the community – Kay in
the Glendale Women‘s Institute and Walt in the Bearspaw Lions Club. In September of that year, Anne started school at Bearspaw‘s one-room schoolhouse (total enrolment 24), going by a school bus driven by Cliff Gillespie. Her first teacher was Helen Scott, who had been Walter‘s grade five teacher as Helen Rowan. Marion started school in 1957, also at Bearspaw. We were milking about 30 cows and Harvey Hogarth hauled our milk. For a few years, we combined our efforts and machinery with Doug Master for haying.
Close neighbours were the Lloyd Fenton family, the Joe Bowhays, the Henry Whitfields and Charlie Robinson.
In 1958 we bought 430 acres from Ernie Thompson NW Sec 32 Twp 25 Range 3 W5M and part of S Sec 5 Twp 26 Range 3 W5M all south of Highway 1A. Bob and Shirley Thomas (Walter’s sister) operated the Culling farm and Kay and Walter milked about 45 cows on the Thompson place. Jack Beeby hauled our milk. We did our haying with our neighbour Jack Hawkwood. Close neighbours were the Norman Mackenzie family, the George Armstrongs, the George Washingtons, the Tim Bancrofts and the Neil Harvies. In 1962 the bulk tanks came into being for our milk, the milk trucks were tankers and pumped the milk from the farm tank into the truck tank. Our two sons were born, Roy in 1958 and Allan in 1962.
In 1962 we moved back to the Culling Farm. In 1964 we sold the dairy herd and quota and gradually went into beef cattle and have been ever since. In 1964 we built a Quonset and in 1965 we built a new house, 1300 sq. ft. for $15,000.00. Thanks to the Farm Improvement Loan at 5% it has been our home ever since.
In those years we were busy farming, raising four children, involved in 4-H, baseball, hockey, music, Women’s Institute, Lions Club and curling. As time went on we did some travelling to the southwest deserts of the United States, the Yukon, North West Territory, Alaska and Eastern Canada. We have been fortunate in having wonderful neighbours from farm and town and more modern neighbours on acreages and small holdings with the neighbourliness and community spirit of our great west.
At this writing, January 2008, our children are spread out somewhat. Anne and Bruce Brander live at James River east of Sundre. Anne has two children, Alana in Calgary and Colin with wife Keri and son Kale at Kamloops. Marion and Harry Fehr live in our yard. Marion has four children: Carl and Jen with three children: Lucas, Joshua and Katey on Maurelle Island off the coast of Vancouver Island. Keri lives in New Westminster, British Columbia. Laura (Preston Smith) lives in Calgary and D.J. (Jessica) in Cochrane. Harry has two children and five grandchildren. Roy and Lucille and son Mason live in Airdrie, Roy also has two daughters, Tamara (Sheldon Grollmus) with sons Ethan and Quinton, who live at Buffalo Lake and Candice and Shawn Cornell in Red Deer. Allan and Nina have three girls: Holly, Cindy and Julie. They live east of Olds.