Archive | Genealogy RSS feed for this section

Maps and the lost Placename

5 Nov
Old Newspaper article National Railways Western Lines Map depicting Port Arthur / Fort William and Churchill to Prince Rupert and Vancouver Island. BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario Larry Walton

Old Newspaper article National Railways Western Lines Map depicting Port Arthur / Fort William and Churchill to Prince Rupert and Vancouver Island. BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario Larry Walton

“In cartography, as in medicine, art and science are inseparable. The perfect map blends art and science into an effective tool of visual communication.” ~ Dr. Keith Harries

How to travel to a homestead or unofficial placename in Saskatchewan or Western Canada.

How to determine distances between contemporary placenames and ghost towns.

Do you have an historic document or correspondence which has a placename that you have not heard of previously?

The homestead or locality which does not appear on a modern map are an enigma to the traveller trying to find the ancestral home. The genealogical researcher may wish to locate a local history book, or cemetery to glean more information about their family tree, however where would one locate the Saskatchewan place name “End Lake” or “Roderickville” for instance?

One very excellent resource is Geographical names in Canada | Natural Resources Canada Looking up a placename for any locale in Canada will produce the latitude and longitude along with a map, legal land description along with nearby placenames and the distance from the longitude / latitude supplied or the distance from the placename searched.

Another is the Online Historical Map Digitization Project showing maps, atlases and gazetteers from 1862 to the mid 1950s, genealogists and historians can find a variety of maps are a valuable reference tool for information about places, place names and their locations.

Old Newspaper article National Railways Western Lines Map British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan Manitoba, Ontario.  By Larry Walton

Old Newspaper article National Railways Western Lines Map British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan Manitoba, Ontario. By Larry Walton

In Saskatchewan, take the initiative to also check the two Atlas of Saskatchewan books along with Bill Barry’s Geographic Names of Saskatchewan for placenames and their locations book ISBN1-897020-19-2. Saskatchewan local history directory : a locality guide to community and church histories in the Prairie History Room, Our Towns: Saskatchewan Communities from Abbey to Zenon Park By David McLennan and Saskatchewan Ghost Towns are other major resources to help you on your way with your preliminary research online. Search Saskatchewan Placenames amalgmates placenames from the National Archives resources, various books and atlases, and historical maps.

An historical location may be defined by the legal land location. How easy is it to locate Roderickville located at section 20 township 15 range 10 West of the third meridian?

“A map is the greatest of all epic poems. Its lines and colors show the realization of great dreams.” ~ Gilbert H. Grosvenor

Roderickville appears on Larry Walton’s Canadian National Railways Western Lines Map a part of the Online Historical Map Digitization Project and Roderickville also shows up in Geographic Names of Saskatchewan. It then becomes apparent that Roderickville is located just west and south of Swift Current near Rush Lake on the Canadian National Railway. Travelling to Roderickville, now becomes much easier with such bearings.

Obtaining a modern Rural Municipality map then provides current roads for the area. The determination of which Rural Municipality needs to be contacted can be derived from one of these maps which will help locate the legal land description, in this case section 20 township 15 range 10 West of the third meridian for Roderickville. This legal land location can be identified by

Rural Municipality Coulee No. 136
Latitude Longitude
50.273554 -107.345313
50° 16.413′ N 107° 20.719′ W
50° 16′ 24.79″ N 107° 20′ 43.13″ W
Township Road 154 Range Road 3105
13U CR 32882 71677
13N 332882 5571678 C-28-C/72-J-6

So by entering in the degrees longitude and latitude into Geographical Names of Canada, the determination is made that:

Neighbouring placenames to Roderickville are

  • Braddock 24-13-11-W3 is a nearby Locality 19 kilometers
  • Burnham 16-15-11-W3 is a nearby Locality 9 kilometers
  • Coulee No. 136 is a nearby Rural Municipality 13 kilometers
  • Fauna 16-11-W3 is a nearby Railway Point 16 kilometers
  • Hallonquist 25-13-10-W3 is a nearby Hamlet 19 kilometers
  • Herbert 17-9-W3 is a nearby Town 19 kilometers
  • Neidpath 1-15-10-W3 is a nearby Hamlet l 9 kilometers
  • Rush Lake 1-17-11-W3 is a nearby Village 15 kilometers

By contacting the individual Rural Municipality for their map, driving on township and range grid (gravel) roads becomes very easy to arrive at your destination. Saskatchewan Geographic Perspectives

Do you wish to discover how to travel to an unincorporated hamlet? Pay attention to the road signs as you travel along the country gravel road. There is a pattern to the township and range Roads in Saskatchewan as are assigned by the Saskatchewan Provincial  Standard System of Rural Addressing.

“I am told there are people who do not care for maps, and I find it hard to believe.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

The other method to arrive at Roderickville section 20 township 15 range 10 West of the third meridian would be to use an online legal land converter which determines the latitude and longitude and the GPS bearing for any legal land location. Then plug this number into any GPS system.

Ascertaining which localities are close to Roderickville and which Rural Municipality Roderickville is located within, also helps to know which cemeteries are nearby and which local history books are written for the area. Use any library catalogue and type in the rural municipality or larger municipality name. Genealogists may be interested in neighbouring cemeteries to locate an ancestor. In Saskatchewan, a number of the cemeteries are online by a variety of groups, as they are for many countries and provinces across Canada. The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society, for example lists cemeteries by rural municipality.

  • Village population of at least 100
  • Town population of 500 or more
  • City 5,000 residents.

Ghost towns are communities that no longer exist or former Villages/Towns that have become unincorporated hamlets. Delve into some historic maps and placenames which have disappeared from contemporary maps. Before the motorized vehicle was in common use, pioneers and homesteaders relied on horse and cart or ox and buggy for transport to take grain to market, or to drive into town for mail, groceries and supplies. So how far could a horse travel for example? How far a horse travels in one day – Cartographers’ Guild suggests;

Horse / Horse and Cart Travel Distances
Geographic surface
Level or rolling terrain: Without a cart With a loaded cart
On Roads / trails 40 miles/day 64 kilometers/day 20 miles/day 32 kilometers/day
Off-Road (or unkempt trails etc)
Hilly terrain: 30 / 51 15 / 24
Mountainous terrain: 20 / 32 10 / 16
Level/rolling grasslands: 30 / 51 15 / 24
Hilly grasslands: 25 / 40 12 / 19
Level/rolling forest/thick scrub: 20 / 32 10 / 16
Very hilly forest/thick scrub: 15 / 24 7 / 11
Un-blazed Mountain passes: 10 / 16 5 / 8
Marshland: 10 / 16 5 / 8

According to Chapter 7 Settlement Evolution since the Late Nineteenth Century. Saskatchewan Geographic Perspectives by Hansgeorg Schlichtmann and M.L. Lewry, towns “were usually spaced 12 to 15 km apart along a railway line so that, in the age of horse-and-cart traffic, a farmer could make a round trip to town and back in one day. Along GTP lines (e.g. the Regina-Fort Qu’Appelle-Melville line) they were rather more closely spaced and, subsequently, more of them have declined or even disappeared more than towns on other trunk lines.”. Local Improvement Districts (LID’s) and, Statute Labour and Fire (SLF) Districts improve the local community, establishing cemeteries, honouring war dead, providing health care, roads, bridges. The horse and cart were greatly assisted by the work of the early precursors to the RM and to the Department of Highways and the ensuing Rural Municipality formation. LIDs and SLFs were replaced by Rural Municipalites (RM) following the Spencer Commission findings. Roads were straightened in the 1960s following World War II as more families had access to motorized transport with improved technologies from World War II. When the veterans returned home, society made further improvements. These improvements phased out the need for travel by horse, horse and cart, and ox and buggy. Gradually the extensive railway system saw branch lines closing due to the same phenomena. The one room school house gave way to the consolidated school in town. Families shifted away from the rural farm following the drought and depression in the 1930s seeking economic recovery in the urban centres. The consolidated school also attracted younger families to urban centres and away from living a rural existence.

“First, farms became larger and the rural population declined, so that the sales volume of small-town stores decreased and many businesses ceased to be viable. Second, motor vehicles became more affordable and highways were improved, thereby increasing mobility. Third, this mobility, along with greater disposable income, enabled rural people to purchase goods and services available in higher-order, more distant central places. Fourth, to achieve costs savings, many smaller grain elevators, and public service facilities such as schools and hospitals were replaced by larger ones, at fewer locations. …A number of small settlements have disappeared.” Schlichtmann

Good luck on your journey, and have a lot of fun discovering where once there was a thriving and active community of settlers, which may no longer exist. What can be found today? Does the foundation of a store, or a school district flag pole still remain? Here is another mystery; McMichael near Melfort on Larry Walton’s Canadian National Railways Western Lines Map. This placename of McMichael does not appear on contemporary maps, and is not discovered by Bill Barry in his book, so what is known of this placename that has disappeared? Are there any other placenames on historic maps which are not listed at Search Saskatchewan Placenames? Lost places collect placenames without a location, and the Search Saskatchewan Placenames seeks to update its listing with new additions as they are submitted.

Have fun on your genealogical journey discovering what are the neighbouring communities of an ancestral ghost town. By locating a historic settlement it is easier to find resources such as local history books, libraries, museums, historical societies, cemeteries and perhaps a descendant still farming on the “Century Farm” to help discover further information for the family tree. If you are tracking down a historic placename in correspondence or a treasured historic letter, please bear in mind, that pioneers and settlers often referred to their placename where they lived as the name which may be indeed the one rom schoolhouse district as it was an integral part of the new community, and settlers gathered together at the school house for meetings, dances, rallies, the Christmas play etc.


Related Posts:

Country Roads Leading Home

Where were Saskatchewan homesteads located?

How do I locate my Ancestors Home Town in Saskatchewan?

Locate Your Saskatchewan Place-name

How did pioneers travel to their prairie homesteads?

Maybe the Ghosts Will Live Again! Saskatchewan Ghost Towns… Do you have oral history about a Saskatchewan placename not on a current map? How do you find those communities which were once dotted around the prairie every six miles or so?


All rights reserved. Copyright © Julia Adamson All my images and text are protected under international authors copyright laws and Canadian photography laws and may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without my written explicit permission. They may be licensed through Getty images. .. Peace and love be with you.


Follow me on Sask Gen Web, 500 px, Word Press, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, Tumblr, Live Journal, Flickr, and Flickriver


Aum_Kleem - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver



Birth Place Mystery Resolved

11 Feb

Where is this location in Saskatchewan?

The Province of Saskatchewan birth certificate says birthplace
Sec 34 Tp 36 Rge 5 W 3
Can you advise where this is?

The terminology of Sec 34 Tsp 36 Rge 6 W3 is an abbreviation for the legal land description: section 34 township 36 Range 6 West of the third meridian. Each section in the Dominion Land Survey System is 6 miles by 6 miles square.

Using a map which shows township and ranges can be found on the Online Historical Map Digitization Project from the Sask Gen Web Map Resources and studying the 1924 Rand McNally map shows that Section 36 township 36 range 5 west of the third meridian was the town of Sutherland which was annexed into the city of Saskatoon in 1956. So this birth certificate location is about 1 to 2 miles west of the Sutherland town showing on 1924 map.

Town of Sutherland Section 36 township 36 range 5 west of the third meridian in 1924 near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Town of Sutherland Section 36 township 36 range 5 west of the third meridian in 1924 near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

To get further detail, check out a couple of other websites;

LSD finder by Xoom GPS Converter provided the address for the legal land description using addresses in current use.

This LSD finder only accepted the locations by putting in the quarter sections, so the result for all four quarter of section 34 township 36 range 5 west of the third meridian

The results were in contemporary addresses:
SE-34-36-5 W3
51 Campus Dr, Saskatoon, SK

NW-34-36-5 W3
*Near* Downey RD (218 meters E), Saskatoon, SK

SW-34-36-5 W3
20 Campus Dr, Saskatoon, SK

NE-34-36-5 W3
291 Innovation Blvd, Saskatoon, SK
Coordinates 52.130691°N 106.640795°W

Putting SW-34-36-5-W3 into another online legal land converter provides the contemporary map for each quarter section, and also the information on the latitude and longitude.

South West Quarter of Section 34, Township 36, Range 5, West of the 3rd Meridian
legal land converter
Township Road 370 Range Road 3053
Latitude & Longitude
52.13260 -106.63980

52° 7.956′ N 106° 38.388′ W

52° 07′ 57.37″ N 106° 38′ 23.27″ W

Now for the other question about if this location could in fact be the University Hospital, as it is located west of Sutherland

The Royal University Hospital which began as the University Hospital and opened its doors May 14, 1955

Now then looking at the Wikipedia entry for the Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, the latitude and longitude are determined to be Coordinates 52.130691°N 106.640795°W

University Hospital coordinates in a lot of ways using Earth Point.
Degrees Lat Long 52.1306910°, -106.6407950°
Degrees Minutes 52°07.84146′, -106°38.44770′
Degrees Minutes Seconds 52°07’50.4876″, -106°38’26.8620″
UTM 13U 387690mE 5776843mN
UTM centimeter 13U 387690.61mE 5776843.82mN
MGRS 13UCT8769076843

So looking at the maps from Legal Land Converter and the addresses on Campus Drive from LSD finder by Xoom GPS Converter, a determination can be made that the birth may have indeed ocurred in the University Hospital.

Now then why didn’t the birth certificate just read Saskatoon?

The history of Saskatoon’s boundary expansions and the years at
Regional planning boundary alteration
and the specific Boundary Alterations map

This above map shows that the land where the University Campus stands was not annexed by the City of Saskatoon until January 1, 1959;
“ANNEXED JAN. 1, 1959 O.C. 1919/58 1345.9 acres”

Therefore the birth certificate indicated that the birth was in University Hospital if born after 1955 and before 1959.

Birth Certificate from the University Hospital between the opening of the hospital May 14, 1955 and the annexation of the University Campus into the City of Saskatoon January 1, 1959

Birth Certificate from the University Hospital between the opening of the hospital May 14, 1955 and the annexation of the University Campus into the City of Saskatoon January 1, 1959

For more map resources on Saskatchewan Gen Web

Saskatchewan Heritage Week

26 Jan

One Room School House Records — What You Can Learn From Them.

The online ‘One Room Schoolhouse Project’ helps to bring the one room schoolhouses of history to life on the internet with contributions by former students, teachers and residents. To illustrate the wealth of available information, Christa Kaytor will discuss her family’s research into a number of one room school districts.
Heritage Saskatchewan ~ 2017 Heritage Week February 20-24 · Public Meeting Room #1, Central Library. Regina Saskatchewan

Become familiar with the one room school districts near Cadillac; Elmwood, Fairy Lake, Boule Creek, Priory, Wheatville, Crichton, Bedford, Orwell, Highway, Gouverneur, McKnight, Pinto Head, Driscol Lake, Frenchville, Lac Pelletier, Notre Dame, Cadillac. The amazing resources compiled by local residents provide a wealth of information. The online One Room Schoolhouse Project helps to bring the one room schoolhouses of history to life on the internet with contributions by former students, teachers and residents. Registration required.

With a passionate ardour the speaker at the above library resource event, Christa Kaytor, has populated the One Room School House pages with the history of schools in and around Cadillac, Saskatchewan. Obtaining the prerequisite permissions to republish online the book; History of Cadillac and Surrounding District, The Good Old Days Prepared by Alta Legros and Marlene Davidson for Homecoming ’71 Elmwood, Fairy Lake, Boule Creek, Priory, Wheatville, Crichton, Bedford, Orwell, Highway, Gouverneur, McKnight, Pinto Head, Driscol Lake, Frenchville, Lac Pelletier, Notre Dame, Cadillac Saskatchewan, Canada has been a treasure for visitors world wide as they come to understand pioneer life and school days in Saskatchewan. Alta Legros and Marlene Davidson spent hours of research on the book, and traveled many miles to make this book possible. Now Christa Kaytor, descendant of Alta Legros is carrying on this fine tradition with further submissions of Westwood Valley School District 2844, Highway School District 4623 and offering to share her wealth of knowledge about the Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse on the prairies.

Bedford School District 3195

Bedford School District 3195

Boule Creek School District 3314

Boule Creek School District 3314 (First name Jupiter)

Cadillac School District 2733

Cadillac School District 2733

Crichton School District 3716

Crichton School District 3716 (Later name Priory)

Elmwood School District 2733
Elmwood School District 2733

Highway School District 4623

Highway School District 4623

Highway School District 4623

Highway School District 4623

Highway School District 4623

Highway School District 4623

Jupiter School District 3314

Jupiter School District 3314 (Later name Boule Creek)

Kingsmeade School District 4011

Kingsmeade School District 4011

Little Six School District 4262

Little Six School District 4262

McKnight District 863

McKnight School District 863

Orwell School District 3680

Orwell School District 3680

Pinto Head School District 3959

Pinto Head School District 3959

Priory School District 3716

Priory School District 3716 (first name Crichton)

Stove Lake School District 4739

Stove Lake School District 4739

Valley Ste. Claire School District 3184

Valley Ste. Claire School District 3184

Wheatville School District 4547 and Priory School District 3716

Wheatville School District 4547

The days of the One Room Schoolhouse were much simpler? “Life is as simple as these three questions: What do I want? Why do I want it? And, how will I achieve it?”
― Shannon L. Alder

“Endeavor to live a simple life, but filled with complex love.”
― Auliq-Ice


Centenary Cemetery

11 Nov Poppies for Remembrance Day

Centenary Cemetery
mind not the weeper or the prayer,
all those who have the eyes to see,

The moon gives you light,
  And the bugles and drums, the night

To the Judge of Right and Wrong
Our purpose and our power belong,

with uncomprehending eyes
laid down immediate and wise;

Where now the Mother, comfort me?
Where Art Thou Father, can't you see?

Gather round the Centenary Cemetery over there
Old and young with hymn and prayer
Poppies for Remembrance Day


Blow out, you bugles, over lads Dead!
These laid the world away; poured out the red
     What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
        Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle

But yesterday amid glory and the prize,
          One strove to quiet the other's cries,

rules consider wise,
See whence the tear-filled eyes

O Best beloved can you see battle-corpses, myriads of them,
          And the white skeletons of young men, who saw them?

The banners play, the bugles call,
The air is blue and prodigal.

To death, because they never lived: but I
Have lived indeed, and so—(yet one more kiss)—can die!

No funerary for them; no prayers nor bells,
Just shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;

with staring sightless eyes,
Hear around the many sighs

We see and hold the good—
For Freedom’s brotherhood.

Gather round the Centenary Cemetery over there
Citizen and Child with hymn and prayer

A steady rain, dark and thick
Now feel the stir of despair quick

My comrade’s eyes
holy glimmers of goodbyes.

So now the poppy in fields doth bloom’
For the day all fill’d with gloom,

Clearing your minds of all estranging blindness
Speak now of Freedom, Honour and Lovingkindness.

Upon sightless staring eyes
soft short broken sighs,

Only his collar with his honourable mark
Mankind’s best hope? Laid out this night in solitary dark

While man has power to perish and be free—
Men perished for their dream of Liberty

Here sit the haggard men that speak no word,
No voice of fellowship or strife is heard

The British War Medal World War I.


The body now denies
To Sleep return, little eyes

Nary it shines in lurid light,
Tales of  terrors, and the  blight,

Naught broken save this body, lost but breath;
And the worst friend and enemy is but Death.

They shall feel earth enwrapt in silence deep;
Men pass the grave, and say, “‘Twere well to sleep,

The peace of death.
The lifeless breath

Before our eyes
Hear still the cries

upon earth’s peaceful breast
Each laid him down to rest,

Gather round the Centenary Cemetery over there
Generations ever after with hymn and prayer

The day is past and the battle doth cease;
And hearts rest, eventide brings peace

Now speak of the peace that comes after strife,
The calm that follows the battle-filled life —

Now come the prayers and the bell
To honour them as they fell

Resound in peace and glory long
Sing out no more the bugle song

To ancestors you must see
Will you ever remember me?

So here I pray thee lay me not
to Rest in no memory and Die for naught.

Where’s that poppy on your collar?
Stand up now for peace, shout and holler

Poppies for Remembrance Day


Genealogy Hints and Tips: During the Centennial years following World War I (1914-1918), Search for the ancestor fallen. The tragedy has come to light, and diaries, battalions, battles, records, medals, reports, images, are coming online. From Vimy in the Classroom, Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial, Library and Archives images online at Fickr. The internet abounds remembering, honouring and paying tribute to those who fell in the Great War.  Have you, yourself, come to know your ancestor of the Great War?

Read more:

 In Flanders Fields and Other Poems With an Essay in Character, by Sir Andrew Macphail Author: John McCrae

Drum Taps Author: Walt Whitman

A Treasury of War Poetry British and American Poems of the World War 1914-1917
Auhor: Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by George Herbert Clarke

1914 and other poems. Author Rupert Brooke

Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War Author: Herman Melville

Dramatic Romances Author: Robert Browning

Poems Author: Wilfred Owen

Caragana ~ A Pink Ribbon Campaign

11 Nov
Caragana arborescens Siberian Pea Tree

Caragana arborescens Siberian Pea Tree

Caragana, the bush that perhaps saved the prairies. This wonder was planted around farms to act as a wind break, when the dust bowl of the dirty thirties carried the agricultural top soil away. Caragana, is used in arid desert-like area as a part of a perma-culture programme to nitrogen-fix the soil enhancing the quality. There is no doubt about it, the area around Caragana bushes is lush and luxurious with plant life. Around the one room schoolhouse yards, Caragana served as an amazing living fence.

However, what many pioneers and homesteaders in Saskatchewan had not realized is that the amazing Caragana is also edible, very nutritous, with surprising health benefits as well. The seeds from the Caragana pods can be prepared as any other legume, ie. the dried beans or peas purchased in the store. The young seedpods can be eaten from the trees, with a delightful snap pea flavour. And the beautiful tender yellow flowers, are simply delicious. Eat them on the trail, or scatter some within your next salad for a treat for the eyes as well as the palate.
“The whole plant, known as ning tiao, is used in the treatment of cancer of the breast, and the orifice to the womb, and for dysmenorrhea and other gynecological problems.” However Only Foods recommends that those who are pregnant not to eat the Caragana.

Next time you are out and about try a nibble of the seed pods. In its vegetal form, Caragana, does have the potential to be a staple food crop. Caragana is a very nutritious legume. What an amazing opportunity to wear a pink ribbon, and have a nibble of Caragana.

Genealogy Hint and Tip:

Next visit to the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan remember to ask to see the Pioneer Questionnaire file  These questionnaires were sent around to households Circa1950 and asked questions in regards to lifestyle such as Pioneer Diet, General Pioneer Experiences, Schools, Churches, Recreation and Social Life, Farming Experiences, Folklore, Health, Housing, Local Government, and Christmas. There is even a listing which can be searched to determine if your ancestor took part in this early survey.


Another Edible Legume Arcol-o-gist.

Caragana arborescens – Lam. Plants for a future.

Two forever foods

Caragana arborescens Siberian Pea Tree.

a deciduous legume tree or shrub of the Caragana genus in the family Leguminosae. It is an edible nitrogen fixer and a great source of chicken fodder. Practical Plants.

Caragana arborescens Wikipedia.

Caragana. Caragana arborescens. ‘Ross’ Caragana, Siberian Peashrub Government of Canada. Agriculure and Agri-Food.

Caragana or Siberian Pea Shrub. United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Permaculture Plants: Pea Trees and Pea Shrubs Temperature Change Permaculture.

Shelterbelt Varieties for Alberta – Caragana, Siberian Peashrub. Government of Albera. Agriculture and Forestry. December 17, 2015.

Siberian Pea Tree (Caragana arborescens) Raw Edible Plants.

Siberian Pea Tree (Caragana arborescens) Only Foods.

Siberian Pea-shrub. Caragana arborescens Lam.

 ” if you devote 22% of a quarter section, that’s 160 acres, to trees, you can double the crops.’ It’s a question of planting trees strategically. The trees reduce the speed of the wind, modify the climate, they modify the difference in temperature from day and night, and above all the trees make it possible for the earthworms to come into the land, and the earthworm casts its own weight every 24 hours. And a well-populated acre of worms casts 30 tonnes of worm castings per acre per year. That’s equal to 30 tonnes of farmyard manure on that land.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker

Country Roads Leading Home

9 Nov

1, 2, 3, 4 just a bit of Homestead Rapport.

Searching in the field for an ancestral homestead or legal land location requires a knowledge of meridians, four meridians. Four? you say, yes, historically genealogists applying themselves to Saskatchewan, Canada research may indeed, need to know about four meridians.

A homestead application form from the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan or a certificate of land patent from the Canadian Library and Archives LAC would both have the legal land location of the pioneer homestead location showing the quarter, the section, township, range and meridian. These are survey notations, and the numbers for township, range and meridian can be found on Rural Municipality maps, and historic maps of the province. Land was also awarded as Métis scrip, and soldier settlement awards, however if this land location proved to be some distance from their family or prior residence it may have been sold. Land not suitable for agricultural development may have been abandoned, or farmers may have sought employment in an urban centre during the dirty thirties. Not all legal land locations became ancestral homes, indeed, however there are primary source documents for genealogy research which may prove useful even if the land were abandoned for whatever reason, or if the land was sold.

The Century Family Farm Award Program inaugurated 1981 by Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food for the 75th provincial anniversary (1980) to honour Saskatchewan’s farm families. Between 2007-2014 over 3,600 families received the award. “Farm and ranch families have played a significant role throughout our province’s history,” Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud said. “These Century Farm Family Award recipients continue to build on the traditions of their ancestors, bring new ideas and innovation to agriculture, and will be an essential part of Saskatchewan’s future.”source In 2010, 635 , over 300 (2007), over 350 (2013) and 85 families in 2016 were honoured by the Information Services Corporation (ISC) Century Farm Award. “The family farm has always been the backbone of Saskatchewan’s economy and has helped shape the rural traditions of our province,” Minister responsible for ISC June Draude said. “Homesteaders had a strong work ethic and today’s farm families have that same strength and character. I congratulate all recipients for reaching the centenary milestone.” source

The Rural Municipalities (RM) only occur in the southern portion of the province, the prairie, grasslands and aspen parkland eco-systems. The RMs occur where there is rural settlement upon. Agricultural land was surveyed during the Dominion Land Survey for homesteads. The RMs indicated on the map below have changed since their inception in the early 1900s. Those RMs larger than 18 square miles have subsumed adjacent RMs if the population was scarce, or to allow for uban centre expansion, &c. The Northern Municipality refers to the northern province ~ the Canadian shield, tundra, and boreal forest area~ an area not surveyed under the Dominion Land Survey system. Urban municipalities are towns, cities, hamlets with a separate civic government.

Province of Saskatchewan, Canada map Author Hwy43 Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Province of Saskatchewan, Canada map after 1905 Adapted from Author Hwy43
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

The first task is to determine the ancestral homestead or quarter section. This may be written on the birth certificate, in the census, upon the homestead application form or Western Land Grant Certificate (1870-1930).

For researching a very common surname, it may be beneficial to delimit the search by meridian of the neighbouring post office, rail siding, town or village to the ancestral farm. Use the Geographical Names of Canada, an historical map index, the post office database at LAC, Atlas of Saskatchewan by the University of Saskatchewan, or Geographic Names of Saskatchewan book by Bill Barry to find the legal land location of the nearby locality to narrow the search.

For the sake of example, perhaps the research results came up with these legal land locations from the Battle of Iwuy soldier research. Randomly selecting: Belt, John Henry Army 73427 Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment) “A” Coy. 28th Bn. Residence “Little Red River Reserve”, Alingly, SK SE-17-51-27-W2, Enlistment, Prince Albert, SK, Died Thun-Saint-Martin. Military Medal Born: February 21, 1893 Darlington, England Son of Robert and Elizabeth Belt, of Alingly, Saskatchewan. The following land locations may not be relevant, and obtaining the source homestead document and conducting further comparison to oral history, and other documents are required for confirmation.

Belt, John Henry SE 28 51 27 W2
Belt, Robert NW 28 51 27 W2
Belt, Elizabeth SE 28 51 27 W2
Belt, James Victor SW 27 51 27 W2
Belt, William Thomas SW, 28 51 27 W2

This study will focus on the above record for a Belt, John Henry Sout east quarter of section 28 township 51 range 27 West of the 2nd meridian.

Township can be abbreviated T, Tsp or Twp.
Range may be abbreviated R, or Rge.

Alingly, Saskatchewan at SE 17-51-27 W2 on the map is a nearby locale to SE 28-51-27 W2. The farm is within an acceptable distance to drive a horse and cart into town. Further to this, the surnames might also found on census, and in local history books. Homesteaders on application needed to prove up their land. The provincial archives online listings also indicate military personnel who received Soldier Settlement Grants. Homesteaders could cancel their application if they found the land unsuitable, if they procured occupation in town, &c. Soldier Settlement Grants, Scrip, and those homesteads which were successfully proved up, could be sold in private transactions. Whenever one ancestor is found in the listing, pay attention to those of the same surname farming nearby, – they be cousins, brothers, uncles, &c Family farmed together to helping each other in homestead duties, at seeding times and harvest.

So to locate the legal land location, look at an historical map or a Rural Municipality map, and find Alingly in this case. This is where the meridians come in handy. A meridian seeks to have congruency with the Geographic Coordinate System of latitude and longitude. Because the earth is a sphere, correction lines are built into the Dominion Lane Survey.

The first meridian is located in Manitoba and farms west and east of the “first” or “prime” meridian are those, of course in the province of Manitoba. Additionally Ranges 28, 29, 30 and 31 west of the first meridian are located in southern portion of the province of Saskatchewan as there is some overlap where the border comes across the meridian. There is an addendum here, perhaps the primary source document with the legal land location was dated 1870-1905, then the ancestor was indeed a resident of the North West Territories. To determine which provisional district of the NWT, the farm may have resided in, compare to the township and range numbers here.

1900 Map of Manitoba and the North-West Territories

1900 Map of Manitoba and the North-West Territories Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
(note the border north and west of the province of Manitoba does not correlate at all with the 1905 eastern border of Saskatchewan which is nearly true to the second meridian)

The second meridian is near the eastern limits of the province of Saskatchewan, and the entirety of homesteads west of the “second” meridian are all in the province of Saskatchewan.

The third meridian arrives next, and again, the entirety of homesteads west of the “second” meridian are all in the province of Saskatchewan.

The fourth meridian extends in conjunction with the Alberta and Saskatchewan border which was created in 1905. Before this time, land belonged to the North West Territories. The provisional districts of Assiniboia in the south, provisional district of Saskatchewan centrally located, and provisional district of Athabasca to the north had different boundaries not congruent with the fourth meridian. If the pioneer document was dated 1870-1905, then the homestead started up in the North West Territories. Check with the township and range numbers here to see which provisional district of the NWT the homestead may have fallen into.


1894 North West Territories Map showing Provisional Districts
(note the border west of the Assiniboia and Saskatchewan provisional districts does not correlate with the fourth meridian)

Once the meridian is located on the map, travel west to locate the range number, and also ascend north along the listing of township numbers. For John Henry Belt go north to township 51, and go west of the second meridian to range 27. This locates the 6 mile by 6 mile township in which he farmed. If the map shows quarter sections then also find section 28 which is 1 mile by 1 mile, and know that John Henry Belt farmed the 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile quarter in the south east of this section. If the map chosen does not show sections, then realize that the township is divided into sections as shown here on the chart.

As the farm is at SE 28-51-27 W2 and Alingly is at SE 17-51-27 W2 it is seen that as the townships are divided into sections that the farm section number being 28, and the town being 17 does make the farm section about 1-1/2 miles north of Alingly and 1/2 miles to the west. Ordering a rural municipality (RM) map from the RM office indicates where contemporary highways are situated in relation to legal land locations. historical maps mostly indicate the rail system, so they would indicate where the farm was in relation to the rail lines.

To drive to the ancestral homestead, now convert the legal land location into Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates using a handy online converter, and use this method to find the centre of the 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile quarter where this pioneer had farmed.

Country roads, take me home to the place I belong. ~ John Denver

Once driving in Saskatchewan, realize that Canadians have adopted the metric system in 1970, and distances and mileage is by kilometers and kilometer/hour. Without a GPS system the ancestral homestead will need to be found measuring miles traveled along the highway or grid road. A very quick way to get a good approximation and convert kilometers to miles is to multiply by 6 and move the decimal to the left one. For instance, a traffic sign posting a speed limit of 100 kilometers/hour is thus converted by multiplying by 6 (100 * 6 = 600), and then changing the decimal one backward arriving at 60 miles per hour. (an actual online conversion 100 km to miles is 62.1371) On an historic map showing miles, do the opposite, 10 miles divided by 6 would result in (10 / 6 = 1.6 and move the decimal) with a result of 16  kilometers. (an actual online conversion calculations shows that 10 miles is  16.0934 kilometers)

The other very handy item to know when traveling on Roads in Saskatchewan is to read the grid road signs! Range roads are those used when driving north or south, and township roads take the traveler in an east and west direction. Picturing the range lines on the map, will help to orient driving and using range road numbers in the field, and similarly with township lines and township roads.

The numbers on the signs are very handy, as they correlate to the Dominion Land Survey system and legal land coordinates.


1917 Scarborough Map showing a portion of the province of Saskatchewan, Canada (RM 491)

Range road signs begin with the meridian number. To locate John Henry Belt’ homestead the range road signs would all begin with 2 ~ (his farm was SE 28-51-27 W2). Ranges increment every 6 miles in distance traveled. On the Range road sign, the next two digits are the range number. So to find this particular farm, the Range Road sign should indicate 27 as the next two digits following the 2. Now the last number on a Range road sign is how many miles into the range that the road has been laid down, these miles increment east to west, and can number up to 5. Examining how a township is split into one mile by one mile sections it can be ascertained that the SE quarter section 28 is 3 miles west of range road 27, situating the farm between Range road 2273 and Range road 2274.


1924 Rand McNally Map showing a portion of Saskatchewan, Canada

A township road sign determines the road name when driving east or west, and the first number is the township number. All township numbers for the province of Saskatchewan begin at the United States and Canada international border (the 49 parallel), and the township numerals increment every 6 miles in a northerly direction. John Henry Belt farming at SE 28-51-27 w2 would have his farm along township road beginning with the numeral 51. As township numbers increment every 6 miles, the next numeral is the mile number within the township between 0 and 5 still increasing in value from the south to the north. Looking again at how a township is divided it can be ascertained that SE quarter section 28 is 4 miles north of township line 51; therefore  John Henry Belt’s farm is has an allocation between township road 514 and township road 515.

Township lines or roads begin and end around geological features, and urban centres, and then continue north to the tree line. The Range lines or roads also extend straight as an arrow, and there is a lake or city, similarly, the range will continue along in the same way as a latitude or longitude line. Gravel roads, highways, and municipal roads can all have concurrency with township and range road numbering. Historically, there was allowance for a township road every mile, and a range road allowance was allocated every two miles.

So, whether determining the location for a homestead applied for in the North West Territories or in the province of Saskatchewan between 1905-1930, these insturctions should assist in arriving successfully at the pre-requisite destination. These driving instructions should also apply for any legal land location, as perchance the pioneering ancestors, or contemporary family may reside on an agricultural rural allotment with a township, range and meridian number. Settlers could also buy pre-emptions, land from colonization companies, from the railway companies or once they proved up their land, they were free to sell it on the open market.

Think on this. Imagine that the pioneer who crossed the ocean in a steamer and the journey took a few weeks. Arrival would very likely be an eastern port of Canada or the USA, and then progress overland would continue via rail to the closest stopping off point to their destination in the west. The transcontinental rail way was completed on November 7, 1885, and it traversed through the southern portion of the provisional district of Assiniboia, North West Territories. From this date onward rail companies established their own lines at various speeds and times throughout the province. Branch lines and main trunks traversed the North West Territories, continuing on after the Saskatchewan became a province in 1905. (In many cases the current highway thoroughfares run parallel to the main trunk line railway grade.) From the furthest point of the rail, the pioneer would disembark and begin walking. If a relative arrived ahead of time, the early settler may be met at the rail station by horse and cart or ox and buggy, and receive transport. An early purchase was conveyance.

After traveling around the countryside, the pioneer would need to find a iron marker placed between four monuments (pits) on an unclaimed section of land. The iron marker with the section number on it stands in the North East corner of the one mile by one mile section. The wise new-comer would need to compare the soil sample on this land with the soil of his home country to have the greatest success with his learned agricultural tillage methods and implements brought forward on the long journey. If the section and land was acceptable, the potential homesteader would then hasten to the land titles office, to fill out an application form, and lay down a $10 filing fee, returning to the land to begin his duties.

Imagine again, if you will, finding an iron post driven into the ground without asphalt roads, no GPS, absolutely not a road sign anywhere, nestled into the grasslands, or within the Trembling Aspen bluffs, and in the 1800s amid herds of buffalo. Consider, also this, the iron marker in the north west corner of the section bears Roman Numerals for section township and range. As this in this example, John Henry Belt homestead was SE 28-51-27 w2) the iron post would have read XXIV XXX XII. Early immigrants may have settled in ethnic bloc settlements to facilitate communication, agricultural harvesting work bees and settlement chores in proving up the land.

NOTE: It is always wise and prudent to contact the nearby locality before driving out to an ancestral homestead to learn how to make contact with the current owners. Ask at the regional library, museum, RM office, or town hall for advice. Seek to purchase an up to date RM map from the RM office. Consider buying an historical Cummins map from the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan and marked herein the ancestor’s name. Phone the current land owner perchance with or Canada411. Do not trespass on private property or farm land without permission, ever. Such practices can, indeed, be detrimental and even fatal to livestock, devastating to crops and violate the landowners sensibilities and legal rights. Also many historical township roads and range roads do not exist anymore. With the straightening and paving of highways, and the advent of motorized travel, it is not necessary for the Ministry of Highways nor the RM to maintain each and every single range road and township road from the Dominion survey system so the roads may not exist anymore. That former road allowance may now be in a farmer’s field, or pasture land. That is why a contemporary RM map is so handy for this journey to the homestead.


Saskatchewan Provincial Standard System of Rural Addressing. Adapted by Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) Information Services Corporation. Regina, SK.

To find lands in the field part 1

To find lands in the field part 2

To find lands in the field part 3

Saskatchewan Clouds

8 Nov

By the Saskatchewan.
When the sun has dipt to the westward,
And has reddened the sky with its glow,
When the shadows o’er the soft clouds have deepened,
And the twittering skylarks fly low,
Then I wend my way home o’er the prairie
With a yearning that never does fail
And the mists of the mighty Saskatchewan
Rise, to meet me at the end of the trail.
~ Agnes Krogan

Aerial view of clouds

Aerial view of clouds

In the history of this province of Saskatchewan, Canada clouds have heralded both good fortune and terrible, horrendous bad luck.  And as thus, does Saskatchewan receive its apt slogan, “Land of Living Skies”.

For instance, take this example of prosperity in the roaring twenties;
“In 1928, Moffat shared with most of Saskatchewan in the bumper crop of the century. We bought a new car, an Essex super 6, with a plush lining and in a beautiful shade of blue, with a dashboard of simulated walnut. What a car! Most of the early cars in Moffat were Model T Fords, but variety was the by-word in the late Twenties. Bertenshaws bought a Flying Cloud, Wolseley Taylor a Nash, Reads a McLaughlin-Buick and Peter Ferguson a little Whippet. Star, Dore, Chevrolet roadster ~ they all appeared during that era. War years and the Twenties

And yet how does one even imagine the decade of drought in the “Dirty Thirties”, possibly best described by novelist Robert (Paul) Kroetsch ;
“I looked back just once and the sky in the west was positively black. AS if a great fist had closed the sun’s eye. As if a range of mountains had broken loose and was galloping straight at me. The whole west was one great galloping cloud of smothering dust. I reached to turn on the lights.

And the the shiver turned to elation. Because I saw the windshield again. A drop of rain had hit the windshield. A drop of genuine water. Even while I was watching, right before my eyes, a second drop hit.

My bowels melted. That’s when I first realized: I had forgotten what a rain cloud looks like.~Paustian, Shirley I.

“So, while we learned the most obvious lesson of the Dust Bowl – that is, how to retain soil on dry farmland – we have yet to learn the larger lessons: how to respect nature’s limits, and how to use natural processes to buffer drought’s impacts.” Kendy

Another devastation befalling the Saskatchewan prairies in cycles as regular as drought are the grasshoppers as described by Henry Youle Hind,a Canadian geologist and explorer:

“On the second of July [1858] we observed the grasshoppers in full flight towards the north, the air as far as the eye could penetrate appeared to be filled with them. They commenced their flight about nine in the morning, and continued until half-past three or four o’clock in the afternoon. After that hour they settled around us in countless multitudes, and immediately clung to the leaves of the grass and rested after their journey. On subsequent days when crossing the great prairie from Red Deer’s Head River to Fort Ellice, the hosts of grasshoppers were beyond all calculation: they appeared to be infinite in number. Early in the morning they fed upon the prairie grass, being always found most numerous in low, wet places where the grass was long. As soon as the sun had evaporated the dew, they took short flights, and as the hour of nine approached, cloud after cloud would rise from the prairie and pursue their flight in the direction of the wind, which was generally S.S.W. The number in the air seemed to be greatest about noon and at times they appeared in such infinite swarms as to lessen perceptibly the light of the sun. The whole horizon wore an unearthly ashen hue from the light reflected by their transparent wings. The airs was filled as with flakes of snow, and time after time, clouds of these insects forming a dense body casting a glimmering silvery light, flew swiftly towards the north-north-east, at altitudes varying from 500 to perhaps 1000 feet.” Hawkes



On the prairies, it is seen that the collective swarming behavior of grasshoppers is their survival mechanism in times of dry weather and food is scarce. Again, a healthy respect for nature, nourishing the land, preserving water all goes a long way to mitigate ruination, and defoliation of a crop.

However, the plight of the pioneer does not end with clouds of dust, nor clouds of grasshoppers. The early homesteader had to be on the look out for clouds of smoke on the horizon, signalling a massive grass fire approaching. A fire which could range in length for hundreds of miles devouring everything in its path.

“A hazard far less innocent than the howl of a prairie wolf or the wandering of livestock, however, was the menace of the prairie fire. The threat was a serious one during the warm days of spring and fall, when the grass was dry. The fall was a particularly hazardous time, when the September days were often hot and windy, and the whole country was covered by crisp prairie “Wool” and clumps of aspen and willows as inflammable as a vast timber box. Once started under such conditions a fire created its own wind and augmented any that already existed, and the results could often be tragic in a new and sparsely settled country. The most spectacular and dangerous fire in the history of our community….began in the Turtleford area…from a bush-burning operation, and once out of control it galloped wildly across the country at the speed of a race horse, in long, flaming tongues that beggared description. There was little or no defence against such a fire. The almost horizontal lead flames might be thirty to fifty fee long, with flying sparks, and small brands still farther in advance of the main fire. In the face of such an onslaught, the ordinary “Fire-guards” and sounds of men equipped with horses, water barrels, and wet burlap sacks for beating out the flames were hopelessly inadequate. Often during the spring or fall, large areas of the sky would be red with the reflections of grass fires. When the air was cool, moist and quiet, large scale danger was minimal, but especially for children the angry looking red cloud reflections of a prairie fire were always an awesome and frightening sight.”Wooff

Fire across the fields

Image of a small grass fire across the fields

In retrospect, those who reside in Saskatchewan welcome the spring clouds nourishing the crops in the field. The horrific and massive dangers of drought, prairie fire, and grasshopper are largely diminished because of adapted agricultural practices and lessons have been hard learned.

As did Joni Mitchell we, also, have “looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down…from win and lose” and from it all, the resilient pioneer had many tales to tell about Winning the Prairie Gamble.

Genealogy hint and tip:  In regards to stories from your ancestors, please peruse the Saskatchewan local history books. To discover which book may be useful, try the Saskatchewan Resident’s Index offered by the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society. Or find your pioneer’s homestead location, locate the legal land location on an historic map. On the map ascertain the closest place name to the homestead and use this information to search an online library database listing. Solicit the assistance of some kind soul on a posting board, a mailing list, or just offering to do a look – up or by wander down to your library and use their reference room. Discover which here ~ ordered alphabetically by SK place name with relevant Sask Gen Web region. Rural Municipality offices or regional museums may know if any local history books of the province’s 50th and 75 anniversary (1955 and 1980) may yet be available for purchase, or if the community wrote a new one for the 100th provincial anniversary of 2005.

~written by Julia Adamson webmaster Sask Gen Web

“The fact that we have a Sahara (desert) is not entirely tragic. The very existence of the Sahara gives to the whole world a highly valuable lesson in ecology. It teaches us what not to do with a perfect countryside. The drifting sands and stony wastes tell us more eloquently than words, what will happen when we break certain natural laws. We cannot remove tree cover without running the risk of losing the blessing of the water cycle. We cannot denude the earth’s surface without creating the desiccation of sand the dust dunes. We cannot permit animals to devour whatever little is left of green growth. Excessive grazing of cattle, sheep and goats is as damaging to the land as a wholesale felling of trees…´ from Desert Challenge ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker


Hawkes, John. Saskatchewan and its People on Sask Gen Web Volume I, II, III
Illustrated. Chicago – Regina. The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company. 1924.

Kendy, Eloise Ph.D.
Water Helping Nature Protect Us From Drought
The Nature Conservancy.

Krogan, Agnes E. Thorbergson. And a church was built.
Mulitgraph Service Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Paustian, Shirley I. (Shirley Irene)Depression, 1929-1939, in the Prairie provinces of Canada.

War years and the twenties. They cast a long shadow: the story of Moffat, Saskatchewan.

Wooff, John. Harbinger Farm 1906-1920 Modern Press. Regina, Saskatchewan.

Locate Your Saskatchewan Place-name

8 Nov Genealogy Research
Genealogy Research

Genealogy Research

Is it truly Irksome to search and research for the ancestral placename, and come up empty in the middle of your genealogical research? What are some hints and tips for discovering the place recorded from oral history, ancestral correspondence or on primary source documents? Out of the chaos can, indeed, come clarity and resolution by following the next few steps for ancestral place name research in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada.

    • First note the date of the document. Correspondence or documents dated before 1905 would refer to a place name of the North West Territories, as Saskatchewan did not become a province until 1905. In the North West Territories after 1882 there were three provisional districts , known as;
      1. Assiniboia, Assa
      2. Saskatchewan, Sask.
      3. Athabasca (Athabaska)

      The boundaries for the NWT and for the provisional districts are different from the contemporary province of Saskatchewan, and had some overlaps with Manitoba and Alberta.

    • Abbreviations for the province changed, Saskatchewan was once Sask., and now is SK. Canada was Can. and is now CA. The North West Territories has always been NWT, unless in French, in which case it is Territoires du nord-ouest; T.N.-O. There is a placename, currently the provincial largest city called Saskatoon without abbreviation not to be confused with Saskatchewan.
    • if it is the 1921 Census, then the place of habitation recorded by the enumerator is likely the Rural Municipality
    • In the early pioneering days, travel by horse and cart, meant that places were much closer together. With the advent of paved highways and motorized vehicles, urban centres grew, and smaller rural placenames folded away. Historic places such as Copeau may be found on historic maps, on the Canadian Library and Archives Post Offices website, or in one of the placename books published by Bill Barry, such as Geographic Names of Saskatchewan.
    • Searching for the ancestral name in homestead listings will determine the legal land location. Using this information, turn to an historic map to view the neighbouring sidings, post offices, elevators and placenames on the railway lines.
    • Be aware that placenames may have changed names over the course of time. This Analysis of Saskatchewan Placenames lists a few of these name changes.
    • Another fabulous repository would be cemetery listings which are coming online. These databases not only list the cemeteries, but usually closest locality and the Rural Municipality. The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society has listed over 3,000 cemeteries, and has two separate listings online
    • Pioneers often referred to their locale by the One room school house district in which they resided. The Sk One Room Schoolhouse project has close to 6,000 school district names with their locations.

So get creative and when looking up a place name on correspondence, in the released census or in birth, marriage or death certificates use some of the helpful hints above to locate where your ancestor resided in Saskatchewan. Genealogy research should not be an irksome task, make sense from the chaos, and get past your brick wall with success.

~written by Julia Adamson webmaster Sask Gen Web

Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.

Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.

Little known 1918 battle: Battle of Iwuy

25 Oct

Cimetiè re Iwuy carré militaire. Iwuy Military Cemetery
Niagra Cemetery, Iwuy Military Cemetery.

Little known 1918 battle: Battle of Iwuy





A very worthwhile project has been initiated in the city of Iwuy (population 3,232), department Nord, district of Cambrai (region Nord-Pas-de-Calais), France. Michel Lespagnol, resident of the village hopes to pay tribute to all the people who participated in a little known 1918 battle that freed the village on the anniversary date of “The Battle of Iwuy.” Lespagnol, retired now from the Railways, has a love of history becoming an amateur local historian of the area, and is requested by the teachers to help explain the great sacrifices undertaken by military personnel. With supporting documents and field trips, the classroom of youngsters are enriched by the knowledge imparted to them about the war effort. Lespagnol feels deeply about the great time lapse between current generations and the era of the “war to end all wars” and worries that after the interest re-kindled by the 100th anniversary of armistice that the youngest will forget these hard times too quickly.

Now a brief introduction to the Battle of Iwuy. “Combining elements of all-arms fighting, the last Canadian cavalry charge, and the only engagement of Canadian troops with German tanks during the First World War. Mike McNorgan’s analysis [in the book, More Fighting for Canada: Five Battles 1760-1944] of the 1918 Battle of Iwuy is one of the most interesting and original of the essays in More Fighting for Canada by virtue of the fact that almost no one has ever heard of the action. “1

“The 21 st Canadian Battalion will cross the Canal de L’Escaut over bridge …[location] at
0800 hours this date, and occupy billets in ESCAUDOEUVRES.”Full text of “21st Infantry Battalion War Diary (1915-1919)” at

October 9, 1918 the Canadian Light Horse (CLH) had crossed the Canal de l’Escaut to seize the high ground northwest of Naves. Their attack was halted with heavy losses, by concentrated machine gun fire coming from Naves and nearby Iwuy.”[5]

October 10, 1918 was a rainy, misty day. The “A” and “B” Companies and the 19th Battalion went ahead for the attack on the town of Naves establishing a position about 8:30 in the morning. “In the afternoon the cavalry came up to advance on the next ridge. They went over us about 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. They had to go down a hill and up another. A creek [the River Erclin] ran between them and the Germans, who were on the other side in trenches on the hill. The cavalry went forward, the horses ringing wet (with sweat). …It is a pretty sight as they dashed down the hill and over the creek …then the Germans opened up on them. It was a shame. They could not help but hit them with machine guns. All the men out of seventy five or so went down but one, and he finally went. But the horses were not all killed. That attack was a failure…The charge on October 10 cost the regiment seventy-one animals, of which sixty-six were killed. The losses among the men were considerably lighter, five killed and seventeen wounded.”[5]

The 21 st Battalion War Diary mentions that on October 11th the Unit commanders met at 0100 hours to arrange the operation and details. The 20th Canadian Battalion was readied in the rear of the 21st Canadian Battalion, and they were ready to proceed at 0900 hours. The German troops shelled the area with H.E. and Gas from 05:30 hours onward. At 0900 hours, the 146th Brigade commenced to the the right of the 21st Canadian Battalion. Especially during the first hour of this advance on the high ground of Avesnes-Le-Sec many casualties were sustained as the Germans opened fire with machine guns. “Fifty percent of our Officers, N.C.O.s and Lewis Gunners became casualties during the first half hour of the action.” 21st Battalion

“The 4 th Canadian Infantry Brigade will continue the attack tomorrow, 11 th October, at
0900 hours, with the object of capturing AVESNES-le-SEC and move on to NOVELLES, and
attempt to make good crossing over River ERCLIN.
Full text of “21st Infantry Battalion War Diary (1915-1919)”

The action proceeded promptly at 0900 hours with the 146th Brigade on the right of the 21st Canadian Battalion. As the advance continued on the high ground south-west of Avesnes-Le-Sec and suffered many casualties from German machine gun fire. The enemy then brought out tanks as a counter measure. The Canadians withdrew to re-organize. 21 st Battalion war diary source

On October 11, 1918, the German counterattack involved military tanks. As the allies advanced, they were met by a bombardment of shells, and approaching tanks. After a reconnoiter by the military officers, the infantry was on task again. “Our officers began to figure it out and they yelled “come on Canadians.” We went and all the Imperials as well, we were all mixed up, and the rally was followed all along the line. It was in the open and there were thousands of men. The Germans were thick too. They had two tanks on our front. Great big square tanks. We went on to meet them and about halfways several of the tanks were shot by bullets. By now, the Germans had stopped and were starting to go back.”[5] In the aftermath, the reports differ as to the number of tanks, ranging from two to half a dozen tanks at this attack.

Deward Barnes states in his book, “Journal of Deward Barnes, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1916-1919” that “this episode is also peculiar because it saw an officer of the British Empire employing a captured, German-made rifle to help drive off a German attack consisting mainly of captured, British-made tanks?” Barnes states that about one hundred abandoned and damaged British tanks had been re-furbished by the Germans as only about twenty German-made tanks had been deployed.

Now the 20th Canadian Battalion, was immediately after the 21st Canadian Battalion, and the 20th was the left attacking flank. After the withdrawal, the advance continued onwards at 1530 hours on October 11th. Now the 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade was fighting on the left. 21 st Battalion war diary source

As can be seen in the Military Cross Citation for Captain Baxter, “He [Baxter] pushed forward with his company, and having use of all his Lewis guns and three captured machine guns, was able to force the tanks to retire, thereby enabling the position to be held, and the advance to continue later.” source- Battling Tanks at Iwuy: The last German use of tanks in World War 1

“Thirteen Officers of those who went forward with the Battalion became casualties on October 10th – 11th.” Highest honours were bestowed. source 21 st Battalion war diary source

[October 11th/12th.] “Our casualties during the advance of the day were: Officers killed, 3; died of wounds, 1; wounded, 6; wounded at duty, 2; Gassed 1; Other Rankes, killed 39; wounded 272; Missing 2.” 21 st Battalion war diary source

Stephanie Potter in her thesis states, ” Cavalry was responsible for passing through the infantry line once objectives had been captured, and clearing the area of enemy troops while keeping pressure on the enemy retreat . In pursuit, speed was of the utmost importance to keep the enemy from reforming and reinforcing their lines and launching a counterattack. Cavalry was of vital importance in this particular role due to its superior mobility. Mounted troops were able to advance quickly, charge and disperse the enemy, and could efficiently round up small enemy parties or speed up their retreat.” However, as cavalry advanced into open country, enemy fire consistently came from covered locations such as woods, villages, and houses, leaving cavalry vulnerable and hard pressed to put enemy guns out of action. Thus machine gun support was necessary to counteract enemy fire, form defensive flanks and pivots for the cavalry to manoeuvre from and retain mobility, consolidate captured ground, and to fire upon the retreating enemy.”

Conversly, Potter states that tanks “were not designed to traverse trenches, but to advance across open country without being vulnerable to enemy fire.” Tanks had “limited reliability and slow rate of advance.” On observation tanks “were less vulnerable to machine gun fire than cavalrymen, but they could not sustain artillery fire…. Concentrated machine gun fire was capable of putting any tank out of action.” “Armoured vehicles also provided…a larger target, and lacked the cavalry’s mobility to escape …quickly….The enemy of the tank is the gun. In 1918 tanks were also hampered by limited manoeuvarability. It was understood that all tanks were incapable of manoeuvring in confined spaces, such as woods and villages. ….tanks could not perform their own reconnaissance due to poor visibility [from within the vehicle] and difficult communication between vehicles with no radios. ”

It is truly wonderful that Lespagnol is still in contact with the “family of George Hambley, one of the riders who wrote the last charge in his diary.” Additionally, Lespagnol states that “there is a small cemetery with 200 tombs of soldiers of the great war” at Niagara Cemetery, Nord, France.

Tank à Iwuy en 1918

Tank à Iwuy en 1918. A Tank at Iwuy in 1918.

According to Wikipedia, at Iwuy, there are two cemeteries which are managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. “The Communal Cemetery Iwuy (Iwuy Communal Cemetery) was enlarged by German troops during their occupation of the territory. This extension was granted by the municipality after the Armistice and the graves of German and French soldiers were moved to other cemeteries. The British cemetery was established by the 51st (Highland) Division in October 1918. The cemetery contains more than 100 graves of soldiers who died in 1914-1918 and 1939-1945
Niagara Cemetery was established in October 1918 during the occupation of the village by British troops. It contains more than 200 graves of victims of the First World War, with a few unidentified ”

Niagara Cemetery inside

Cimetière Niagara intérieur. Niagara Cemetery inside

Approximately 26 soldiers with ties to Saskatchewan are buried at the Niagara Cemetery. One of whom was Métis Canadian Soldier, Charles Daniels Service No. 718433, born March 18, 1896 to John and Maria Daniels. Lespagnol was interested in finding out “who were the parents of this soldier, just to know the 2 nationalities just to show to the youngest that this was the concern of all the nations to put a end to this dramatic war.” On the 1901 census his father, John Daniels (English) was born in Manitoba August 1855 and his mother Maria Daniels (Cree) was born 1871, in the North West Territories. They had seven children, Charles was the fourth child born in South Battleford, North West Territories. Charles enlisted twice, on February 5, 1916 he provided William Daniels of Frog Lake, Alberta, his brother, as the next of kin the next time he enlisted ~October 26, 1916 ~ he gave his sister Emma Martel of South Battleford as his next of kin. When Charles first enlisted he stated that he was a labourer at Onion Lake, and had previously served with the 22 Light Horse, Saskatchewan. He served six months over seas with the 107th over seas Battalion, C.E.F. in 1916 following his first WWI attestation. On his second enlistment papers, he was living in Saskatoon, and gave his occupation as farmer. He gave the supreme sacrifice October 11, 1918, while serving with the 28th Battalion.Charles had three younger siblings, Marianne Edward, and Dorothy. William was the eldest in the family then Emma and Natelline (Vatteline) nickname Lena.

It is very gratifying that Lespagnol is willing and enthusiastic to share his passionate study of history in respect to the Battle of Iwuy, this obscure World War I battle whose details are fascinating and slipping away from the lives of present day society. Lespagnol is able to take the individual soldier memorialized on the tombstones of the Niagara cemetery, and place them into their larger context, enabling the students to understand the era, the memories and sacrifices undertaken by the soldiers. The Battle of Iwuy which took place in October 1918, may seem remote, perhaps not as inaccessible as the Battle of Waterloo which also affected the villagers of Iwuy, however, Lespagnol brings the past into the present, helping the youngsters perceive history with a new perspective. Lespagnol’s experience and knowledge enable the groups of students come to grips with a wonderment of “how did things come to be this way?”

Iwuy Niagara cemetery commons

Cimetière Niagara. Niagara Cemetery Author Camster CC 3.0


In remembering those who gave their lives during the Great War students and educators are honouring the past during the World War One centennary. Lespagnol says that it is of note that “all the nations [came together] to put a end to this dramatic war” On the 16th and 19th of November, 2015, Michel Lespagnol will lead 2 groups of students to the Niagara cemetery to explain to them about the Battle of Iwuy” at the very place where it took place. Here they will receive a more comprehensive understanding of the impact World War I had globally. By exploring the histories of those memorialized at Niagara Cemetery, the outing will show the international impact of the war, and how it involved the greater majority of countries at that time. Lespagnol hopes the next generation will remember the great sacrifices made in the “war to end all wars”. The soldier’s stories will thusly be recalled to mind, and the lessons from the Battle of Iwuy are learned through the soldier’s voices. Lespagnol, hopes to make a link, a connection with the new generation, “a duty of memory not to forget the sacrifices of the allied who freed us from the invaders.” Students will experience history of those brave men, the terrible losses experienced by families and counties, and the global impact of World War One. Lespagnol’s “aim aim is to pay tribute to all the people who participated to free our village at the anniversary date of “The Battle of Iwuy.”

Author Julia Adamson.
If you have further information about the Battle of Iwuy, know of a source of information, the global involvement of soldiers or biography of those who served from Saskatchewan at the Battle of Iwuy, please e-mail Julia Adamson, Saskatchewan and Michel Lespagnol, Iwuy, France. Thank you.


Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
These laid the world away;
poured out the red Sweet wine of youth;

gave up the years to be Of work and joy,
and that unhoped serene,

That men call age;

and those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

Blow, bugles, blow!
They brought us,
for our dearth, Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain.

Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
And we have come into our heritage.Rupert Brooke


Niagara cemetery

Niagara cimetière Niagara cemetery

holdName of each person in family or household on 31st March, 1901.Sex.Relationship
to head of
family or
widowed or
divorced.Month and date of birth.Year of birth.Age at last birthday.Country or place of birth
(If in Canada specify Province or Territory, and add “r” or “u” for rural or urgan as the case may be)Racial or Tribal originReligionTradeMother Tongue (if Spoken)comments

1901 CENSUS for Charles Daniels Family

25 42 Daniels John M Head M Aug 1855 45 Man English Church of England Employed 12 months in other occupation than trade in factory or home. 400 Extra earnings (From other than chief occupation or trade) Mother tongue English is crossed out and Cree written in

26 42 Daniels Marie F Wife M 1871 30 NWT Cree Mother tongue if spoken is Cree

27 42 Daniels William M Son S Feb 18 1887 14 English Mother tongue if spoken is Cree Can read, write and speak English

28 42 Daniels Emma F Daughter S Sep 1889 11

29 42 Daniels Natelline F Daughter S Nov 20 1891 9

30 42 Daniels Charles M Son S Mar 19 1895 6 0* “

31 42 Daniels Marianne F Daughter S Mar 17 1898 3

    1901 Census of Canada Page Information




#No. of
family in
order of
visitationName of each person in family.Relation to head of family.Sex.Married,
widowed or
divorced.Age.Country or Place of Birth

1906 CENSUS for Charles Daniels Family

15 3 Daniels John Head M M 60 Man

16 Daniels Mary Wife F M 36 Sask

17 Daniels William Son M S 19 Sask

18 Daniels Eunice ? Daughter F S 18 Sask

19 Daniels Lena Daughter F S 16 Sask

20 Daniels Charles Son M S 11 Sask

21 Daniels Mary Ann Daughter F S 9 Sask

22 Daniels Edward Son M S 3 Sask

23 Bull ? Solomon Boarder M S 19 Sask

1906 Census Page Data
District: SK Saskatchewan District (#16)
Subdistrict: 33 (Town of Battleford) Page 22

Images are from the National Archives Web Site
Details: Schedule 1 Microfilm T-18360
Source : Automated Genealogy



holdName of each person in family or household on 31st March, 1901.Sex.Relationship
to head of
family or
widowed or
divorced.Month and date of birth.Year of birth.Age at last birthday.Country or place of birth
(If in Canada specify Province or Territory)

1911 CENSUS for Charles Daniels Family

36 19 Daniels John M Head M Apr 1850 60 Sask

37 19 Daniels Mary F Wife M Mar 1865 56 N.W.T

38 19 Daniels William M Son S Jan 1886 25 N.W.T

39 19 Daniels Charlie M Son S Mar 1894 17 N.W.T

40 19 Daniels Edward M Son S Apr 1902 9 N.W.T

41 19 Daniels Dorothy F Daughter S Mar 1911 03-Dec N.W.T

Note: Saskatchewan became a province in 1905, before this, the births were recorded in the area known as the North-West Territories (NWT). Territorial evolution of Canada Atlas of Saskatchewan Boundary Evolution

Source Automated Genealogy
/ 1911 / Saskatchewan / Battleford / 47 Battleford / page 3

National Archives



Lieut. Rich. Hocken is killed in action. Son of Former Mayor of Toronto - Lieut. G.E. Mills Reported in Wounded List. Toronto Star, Oct. 16, 1918


Lieut. Rich. Hocken is killed in action.
Son of Former Mayor of Toronto
– Lieut. G.E. Mills Reported in Wounded List.
Toronto Star, Oct. 16, 1918



Richard Hocken


20th Battalion Central Ontario, CEF. Wikipedia

Canadian Expeditionary Force: Central Ontario Regiment A multimedia hsitory of world war one. 20th Battalion.

21st Battalion (Eastern Ontario), CEF Wikipedia.

21st Battalion, Nominal Rolls 1915 and 1918 Canadian Expeditionary Force. Minister of Militia and Defence.
Year 1915.

21st Battalion History PWOR. The Princess of Wales Own Regiment.

The 21st Battalion CEF

21st Battalion CEF Discussion Group Yahoo Groups.

21st Battalion (Eastern Ontario) CEF Canadian Expeditionary Force Biographies written by Al Lloyd

Elie Barry **
Alfred Stanley Brown ***
Russell Brown
Roy A Burns
William E. Campbell
James Thomas Carroll
Gidreau (aka Gideon) Chartrand *
Richard A Clarke
George Granville Cobbledick
Thomas Sylvester Connaghan
Matthew Craig
Russell Crarey
Alexander DeMarsh
Roy Dickinson
Hugh Whitmore Dodson
William Harold Edmiston
William Forbes Ferrier
Pte James Foley
Sebra Hall
Pte William Hartell
Frederick William Heath *
Pte Findlay Henderson
Pte William Henderson
Pte James S Heyworth
Pte Mortie Hodge
Pte Harry Hopkinson
Pte Michael Kaley
Pte Montague EM Kemp
Pte Thomas Kenny
L/Sgt Alexander T King
Pte Irwin P Lehman
Ferdinand Leon
Pte Joseph Levert
John Robert Crawford MacPherson
James Mansfield
John Roy McBride
Charles Howard McInnis
David A McKenzie
Ian Ross McKenzie
Pte William J Newnham
James Leo O’Connor
Henry John Parkins
Pte Patrick Philban
Francis William Porter
Pte George A Ryan
Lt Alexander M Scott
Pte Francis Silver
Pte Herbert L Simpson
Pte John A Storey
Pte Joseph W Switzer
Pte Frederick H Tryon
Sgt John Turriff
Thomas Russell Watson
Pte Wellesley Wesley-Long
Pte Edwin Whitefoot
Pte J Wilson
Pte Norman Wilson
Pte Hilliard Wood
* Two buried at Ramillies British Cemetery
** Buried at Bucquoy Road Cemetery
Ficheux France
*** Buried at Marcoing Line, British Cemetery at Sailly, France.
Cemetery was later named the Cantimpre Canadian Cemetery

~ Those without stars, died October 11, 1918 and are buried at
Niagara Cemetery, Nord, France.

Within the biographies are excerpts from the 21st Battalion war diary regarding the Battle of Iwuy.

October 9, 1918.

“The 21 st Canadian Battalion will cross the Canal de L’Escaut over bridge …[location] at
0800 hours this date, and occupy billets in ESCAUDOEUVRES.”Full text of “21st Infantry Battalion War Diary (1915-1919)” at

The 21 st Battalion War Diary mentions that on October 11th the Unit commanders met at 0100 hours to arrange the operation and details. The 20th Canadian Battalion was readied in the rear of the 21st Canadian Battalion, and they were ready to proceed at 0900 hours. The German troops shelled the area with H.E. and Gas from 05:30 hours onward. At 0900 hours, the 146th Bridage commenced to the the right of the 21st Canadian Battalion. Especially during the first hour of this advance on the high ground of Avesnes-Le-Sec many casualties were sustained as the Germans opened fire with machine guns. “Fifty percent of our Officers, N.C.O.s and Lewis Gunners became casualties during the first half hour of the action.” 21st Battalion

“The 4 th Canadian Infantry Brigade will continue the attack tomorrow, 11 th October, at
0900 hours, with the object of capturing AVESNES-le-SEC and move on to NOVELLES, and
attempt to make good crossing over River ERCLIN.
Full text of “21st Infantry Battalion War Diary (1915-1919)”

The action proceeded promptly at 0900 hours with the 146th Brigade on the right of the 21st Canadian Battalion. As the advance continued on the high ground south-west of Avesnes-Le-Sec and suffered many casualties from German machine gun fire. The enemy then brought out tanks as a counter measure. The Canadians withdrew to re-organize. 21 st Battalion war diary source

Now the 20th Canadian Battalion, was immediately after the 21st Canadian Battalion, and the 20th was the left attacking flank. After the withdrawal, the advance continued onwards at 1530 hours on October 11th. Now the 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade was fighting on the left. 21 st Battalion war diary source

As can be seen in the Military Cross Citation for Captain Baxter, “He [Baxter] pushed forward with his company, and having use of all his Lewis guns and three captured machine guns, was able to force the tanks to retire, thereby enabling the position to be held, and the advance to continue later.” source- Battling Tanks at Iwuy: The last German use of tanks in World War 1

“Thirteen Officers of those who went forward with the Battalion became casualties on October 10th – 11th.” Highest honours were bestowed. source 21 st Battalion war diary source

[October 11th/12th.] “Our casualties during the advance of the day were: Officers killed, 3; died of wounds, 1; wounded, 6; wounded at duty, 2; Gassed 1; Other Rankes, killed 39; wounded 272; Missing 2.” 21 st Battalion war diary source

The 51st (Highland) Division The 51st Division War Sketches by Fred. A. Farrell.

ANDERSON, Carl Werner{Saskatoon, SK) Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial. SVWM.

Anderson, Carl Werner January 1, 1890 – October 11, 1918. Enlistment Nov. 6, 1916, Saskatoon, SK Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Government of Canada. Veterans Affairs.

Barnes, Deward and Bruce Cane. Chapter 11. The Armistice, October 9, 1918 to February 10, 1919 It made you think of home: The Haunting Journal of Deward Barnes, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1916-1919
Edition illustrated, annotated
Publisher Dundurn, 2004
ISBN 1550025120, 9781550025125

Digitized online by Google Books. Pages 256-265.

Barry, Bill. Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial World War I, Use advanced search for Niagara Cemetery, Iwuy France.

Saskatchewan Personnel
Cimetiè re Iwuy carré militaire
Niagara Cemetery, Iwuy, Nord, France

Given Names Surname Country of Background Citations
Carl Werner Anderson Born Boslau, Sweden, Enlistment Saskatoon, SK, Died Naves, France. British War Medal, Victory Medal
William James Beetham Birth Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England, Residence Paddockwood, SK, Employed and enlistment at Winnipeg, MB, Died Thun-Saint-Martin.
John Henry Belt Born Darlington, Durham, England, Residence “Little Red River Reserve”, Ailingly, SK, Enlistment, Prince Albert, SK, Died Thun-Saint-Martin. Military Medal
William Jasper Benson * Born Bellingham, Lac qui Parle Co, Minnesota, Farmer at Cabri, SK, Parents reside Watrous, SK, Died Thun-Saint-Martin
James Cameron Born Mont Nebo, NWT, Enlistment Prince Albert, SK, Death Thun-Saint-Martin.
Charles Daniels Born Battleford, NWT, Enlisted Winnipeg, MB, Residence Meadow Lake, SK, and Onion Lake, SK. Re-enlisted Saskatoon, SK Died Thun-Saint-Martin
Turnbull Davidson Born Belsay, Northumberland, England. Residence Rabbit Lake, SK then Square Hill, SK. Enlistment Battleford, SK. Death Thun-Saint-Martin.
George Humphrey Dayman Born Whitewood, NWT, Residence Windthorst, SK, Enlistment Regina, SK,
Joseph Degrasse Born Bathurst, Gloucester Co., New Brunswick, Residence Big River, SK, Enlistment Regina, SK, Death Thun-Saint-Martin.
George Derby Born province of Ontario, Parents from Quebec, Residence Ernfold, SK, Enlistment Regina, SK, Death Thun-Saint-Martin.
Peter L Drake Born Dunnville, Haldminad Co, Ontario, Residence Buchanan, SK and Birch Hills, SK, Enlistment Prince Albert, SK, Death Thun-Saint-Martin.
Herman Dycke Born Winkler, Mb, Residence Warman, SK, Enlistment Saskatoon, SK, Death Thun-Saint-Martin.
Edwin Goff Born Clarenceville, MRC de Haut-Richelieu, Quebec, Residence Rouleau, SK, Enlistment Regina, SK, Death Thun-Saint-Martin.
Edwin Hartsook Born Sioux Falls, Minnehaha Co. South Dakota, ResidenceT Sceptre, SK, Enlistment Regina, Sk, Death Thun-Saint-Martin.
Alfred Hermanson Born Sweden. Residence Sturgis, Sk. Enlistment Melville, SK. Death Thun-Saint-Martin.
Isaiah Hopson Born Lower Gornal, West Midlands, England. Residence Estevan, SK. Enlistment Estevan, Sk. Death Thun-Saint-Martin.
Levi Hyde Born Somerset, England, Labourer at Springside, SK (resident), enlistment at Yorkton, SK, Died Thun-Saint-Martin.
Montague Ewart Miller Kemp Born Rotherfield, East Sussex, England. Residence Prince Albert, SK. Enlistment Prince Albert, SK. Death Thun-Saint-Martin.
John Wasdale Lowes Born Bosworth, Wellington Co., Ontario. Residence Saskatoon, SK. Enlistment Prince Albert, SK. Death Thun-Saint-Martin.
Isaac Morris Born Montgomery, Powys, Wales. Residence Wideview, SK. Enlistment Regina, SK. Death Thun-Saint-Martin.
James Leo O’Connor Born Lonsdale, Hastings Co. Ontario. Residence Gull Lake, SK. Enlistment Kingston, Frontenac Co., Ontario.
Francis Silver Born Barnstable, Barnstable Co, Massachusetts. Residence Tregarva, SK. Enlistment Regina, SK. Death northeast of Cambrai.
John Kearse Wakeling Born Greater London, England. Parents Maple Creek, SK. Residence Fox Valley, Sk. Enlistment Maple Creek, SK. Death Iwuy.
Wellesley Tylney Wesley-Long Born Munising, Alger Co., Michigan. Residence Saskatoon, SK. Parents of Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Enlistment Saskatoon, SK. Death northeast of Cambrai.
Prince George Wheater Parents Flockton Manor House, Wakefield, England. Served with Saskatchewan Regiment, Canadian Infantry.
Raynor Wright Born Peterborough, England, Residence Marieton, SK. Enlistment Regina, SK. Died Iwuy. Military Medal
* William Jasper Benson buried at Iwuy communal cemetery
Note: Those soldiers born in the NWT were born in the North-West Territories of Canada. It was not until 1905 that the province of Saskatchewan was formed, and Mont Nebo, Battleford, and Whitewood were all placenames of Saskatchewan after this date.

Battle of Cambrai (1917) wikipedia

Battling Tanks at Iwuy the Last German use of Tanks in World War i Word Press. Link recommended by Al Lloyd historian for the 21 st Canadian Battalion

BENSON, William Jasper; {Cabri, SK) Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial. SVWM.

BEETHAM, William James; {Paddockwood, SK) Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial. SVWM.

BENSON, William Jasper, September 1, 1895-October 11, 1918, Watrous, Saskatchewan. Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Government of Canada. Veterans Affairs.

Between Long Lake and Last Mountain : Bulyea, Duval, Strasbourg.
Publisher, Date:
Strasbourg, Sask. : Strasbourg, Bulyea, Duval History Book Committee, 1982.
0889252327 (This book mentions Raynor Wright in the Roll of Honour listing.)

Borch, Peter. 28th Northwest Canadian Infantry Battalion. Saskatchewan Encyclopedia. Canadian Plains Research Center. University of Regina. 2006.

Cameron, James image Pages of the Past : History of Shell Lake-Mont Nebo districts

Published by Shell Lake: Shell Lake History (1986) (1986)

ISBN: 0 889 25487 7 , 9780 889 25487 9

Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group. “The Matrix Project” 21st Battalion.

Canadian Great War Project

Canadian Virtual War Memorial Charles Daniels Veterans Affaires Remembrance Memorials Veterans Affairs Canada

Date modified:

Cavalry in Training. National Film Board. “The Canadian Light Horse (CLH), distinct from the CCB, was formed in early 1917 from the 19th Alberta Dragoons, the 1st Hussars and the 16th Light Horse. The unit reported to Canadian Corps Headquarters and first saw action at Vimy Ridge in April 1917. The CLH played a key role at Iwuy on October 10, 1918, where the last ever swords-drawn Canadian cavalry charge took place. In the final month of the war, the CLH were in front as a scouting force that ensured protection against attacks by German layback controls. ”

[1] Chief Military Personnel CMP Home > Canadian Military Journal CMJ Home > More Fighting for Canada: Five Battles 1760-1944. Book Reviewed by Major James D. McKillip. Government of Canada. Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. Book recommended by Michel Lespagnol, Iwuy, France Historian

Conclusion of the Battle of Iwuy. Forgotten Canadas Hundred Days with the CAnadian Corps from Amiens to Mons. p. 310

DANIELS, Charles, (Battleford, Onion Lake, Saskatoon, Meadow Lake, Sk)Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial (SVWM)

DANIELS, Charles Canadian War Graves Commission CWGC

From Warriors to Soldiers. List of Native Veterans. Iwuy.

Frost, Cecil Gray (1897-1947) 6th Brigade Canadian Machine Gun Company. Cecil Gray Frots (1897-1947). WWI Correspondence 1917-1919. Letter 18 16 October 1918 – France – an extremely slight wound … saw the fall of Cambrai

[5] Greenhouse, Brereton, James McWilliams, R. James Steel, Kevin R. Shackleton, George H. Cassar, and Bruce Cane. The Torch We Throw: The Dundurn WWI Historical Library: Amiens/Second to None/The Making of Billy Bishop/Hell in Flanders Fields/It Made you Think of Home The Torch We Throw: The Dundurn WWI Historical Library Illustrated Edition. Dundurn, 2014. ISBN 1459730305, 9781459730304 link recommended by Michel Lespagnol, Iwuy, France Historian

Horses in World War I Wikipedia.

HYDE, Levi {Springside, SK) Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial. SVWM.

Infantry Regiments. The South Saskatchewan Regiment. Volume 3, Part 2. National Defence and the Canadian Forces. Government of Canada. 2010-11-25

Kemp, Montague Ewart Miller. May 25, 1898- October11, 1918. Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Government of Canada. Veterans Affairs.

In Memory by Pierre Vanderfelden The visit of Commonwealth graves in Communals Cemeteries & Churchyards in Belgium & France

KEMP, Montague Ewart Miller. (Prince Albert, Sk) Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial (SVWM)

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Military Heritage. Canada and the First World War.
Date Created: 2000-11-11
Date Modified: 2008-11-07

Lindsay, Robert 28th North-West Battalion Headquarters. 2006

McPherson, Arlean.

The Battlefords : a history.

Publisher, Date:
Saskatoon : Modern Press, [c1967]
Commissioned by the Town Council of Battleford and the City Council of North Battleford to commemorate the anniversary of 100 years of Confederation. (This book mentions that J. Daniels served with No. J. Company, North West Rebellion of 1885 according to a quote from the April 23, 1885 edition of the Saskatchewan Herald newspaper)

Minutes the Western Front Association.

Niagra Cemetery Iwuy, Nord, France. Private 886397 Peter L. Drake

28th Bn. Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment)


Son of Peter Montrose and Elizabeth Ann Cowell Drake of Dunn Township, Haldimand County, Ontario, Canada.

Row. E. 8.

Enlisted 18/02/1916

[2]Nicholson, G.W.L. (1964). Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919 (pdf) (2nd ed.). Ottawa: Duhamel, Queen’s Printer and Controller of Stationery. p. 458. Retrieved 26 April 2011.

[3] Nicholson, G. W. L. 1962. Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919. Queens Printer and Controller of Stationary, Ottawa, Canada. Chapter XV Canadian Expeditionary Force (doc) The Final Advance. 12 October – 11 November. The Enemy Faces Defeat. Nicholson Matrix


Old Strathcona Remembers (OSR). (Edmonton, Alberta). Light Horse Park Application

  • Approval of Ligh Horse Park Naming, Strathcona Light Horse History, Map of Park Location in Strathcona Neighbourhood, Edmonton, Alberta. (pdf)
  • Naming Committee (pdf)
  • At the present, the Old Strathcona Remembers (OSR) committee has been successful in having an unnamed park at Strathcona, 84-85 Ave and Gateway Blvd – 104 St named the Light House Park. The history of the park area is closely related to World War I overseas theatre of battle as “In 1914, Edmonton’s cavalry soldiers and horses departed for service from the Strathcona train station in what is now Old Strathcona” – quote from the committee pdf. “A Squadron, Canadian Light Horse, made the last cavalry charge in Canadian history at the battle of Iwuy on 10 October 1918. This means that among the predecessor units of the The South Alberta Light Horse, or SALH… mounted the last cavalry charge in Canadian history.”[Wikipedia]

    Upon contacting the Old Strathcona Remmbers (OSR) Committee, Stephen “Sticks” Gallard, Chair OSR replied that “4 years ago we (OSR) started having Nov 11th parades in the unnamed park just west of the Connaught Armouries built in 1914 for the 19th Alberta Dragoons now folded into the SALH. OSR was started to address moving an original Legion Memorial located in the south end of the park to the north end create a better space for the growing number of participants both military and civilian to attend. This idea took off and we then decided to build a better monument with an interactive park around it to showcase the relationship of the park, Connaught Armouries and the old rail-head across Gateway Blvd where the troops in WW1 would have embarked heading east to be shipped over to the battle fields of Europe during WW1.”

    Remebrance Day 2014 – Holy Trinity Church (near Light Horse Park

    “There is currently a small monument put in by the Legion in 1967 which will be
    relocated and enhanced using it as the middle piece of the new monument. Once done we
    hope to have the Feds certify it as an official Cdn war memorial.”

    “During all of this I realized the park had never been named and submitted for consideration and
    the subsequent approval Sept 2014 of the name of Light Horse Park. The logic behind this name
    was to reflect on the SALH a cavalry Regiment, the other units folded into it such as 19th AB Dragoons
    and also as homage to the horsemanship skills Albertan’s have always shown which lead to many of them
    being assigned to the Remounts Depot in Southhampton UK in WW1.”

    “Thus we now are working on raising funds to complete this project and hope to have it done by the
    spring of 2018 to coincide with the centenary of the end of WW1.” Proposed Perspective for Park (pdf) Proposal for park in 2018 (jpg picture)

    “We are seeking corporate and private sponsors and will also be doing a sponsor a brick to have
    a loved one lost in conflict inscribed on it to forever be a part of the parks rich history.” : Old Strathcona Remembers: Op Legacy Enhance (Word document) Stakeholders and Supporters

    “Our organization is requesting funds to help us in our goal to relocate and enhance by way of developing an interpretive park around it a monument that we can seek Federal recognition of as a certified Canadian war monument. This would be the only such monument in Old Strathcona and with reading boards around the monument would link the histories of the Connaught Armouries, the Railhead of the early 1900s across from it and the park now known as Light Horse Park and Holy Trinity Anglican the units Regimental Church. This project would also recognize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, the units that were involved as are now represented by The South Alberta Light Horse the provinces oldest regiment and the rich history of Old Strathcona. The park where it will be located 8513 104St is where troops and their horses were marshaled and processed through the armories to embark for the battlefields of Europe from the railhead across the street now known as Gateway Blvd. Completion date is designed to coincide with the centenary of the end of WW1 at which time we envision it being full readied for public use. We meet the Edmonton salutes mandate as this entire project is related to those who served and their legacies. Further it will allow people for generations to understand and recognize what the area of Old Strathcona went through sending its loved ones off to war.”… This quotation is an introduction from the Old Strathcona Remembers: Op Legacy Enhance (Word document)

    Linda Duncan NDP MP for Edmonton Strathcona (Alberta) tweeted: “Here’s hoping we have Light Horse Park cenotaph in place to celebrate Canada’s 150th” (which happens to be 2017).

    There have been newsprint interviews, a podcast on CTV news, and a piece on CBC radio one.

    “We received a donation of 300 bricks from the U of A when they tore down 100 yr old homes for the
    new Loughheed Centre for LEadership, another 300 or so from a gent who had bricks from a torn
    down 1893 home and we will be getting more from the Leamington Mansion which was also a 100 years
    old which burnt down just over a 1 week ago.” Above notes are from an email from Stephen “Sticks” Gallard, Chair OSR supported by some current events news articles.

  • Kent, Gordon, Group using old bricks for new memorial honouring Edmonton’s First World War history. Edmonton Journal. October 25, 2015
  • Leamington Mansion bricks to live on as part of war memorial Metro News Edmonton.

[4] Patterson, Tim. New Brunswick Land Company and the Settlement of Stanley and Harvey. Harvey Cenotaph Index Page

In memory of
Lance Corporal

Potter, Stephanie E. “Smile and Carry On” Canadian Cavalry on the Western Front, 1914-1918. (2013) The University of Western Ontario. Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. Paper 1226. [speaks to the use of tanks and the Cavalry in WWI. The cavalry actions of October 9 and 10 are discussed on Page 324-330 of the paper (the Adobe Acrobat Reader pdf pages are 335-341.]

Private Levi Hyde. “Born 17 Mar 1888 Walton, Somerset, England. Emigrated to Canada 17 Apr 1912. Married Elsie Parratt 1913 in Springside, Saskatchewan. Father of Arthur and Doris. Enlisted 28th Battalion 15 Oct 1915. Killed on last day of the Battle of Iwuy, aged 30.” Burial:
Niagara Cemetery
Departement du Nord
Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
Plot: E. 26.

Royal Regina Rifles Wikipedia

South Alberta Light Horse

Springside and district memoirs.
Publisher, Date:
[Springside, Sask. : Springside Historical Society, 1983] (This book mentions Private Levi Hyde in the roll of Honour listing)

Tempest, Capt. E.V. Title History of the Sixth Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment: Volume I.—1/6th Battalion, Volume 1

Edition reprint
Publisher Andrews UK Limited, 2012
ISBN 1781515271, 9781781515273 Digitized online by Google Books

Wakeling, John Kearse- age 32 – October 11, 1918 Maple Creek, Saskatchewan Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Government of Canada. Veterans Affairs.

War Diary of the 18th Battalion CEF Battling Tanks at Iwuy The last German use of tanks in World War One.

Wartime letters of Leslie and Cecil Frost 1915-1919 R. B. Fleming. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 007

Wells, Jennifer. Last Commonwealth Soldier killed in WWI. George Price from Moose Jaw, Sask, was shot in the back, possibly while trying to steal a kiss from a Belgian Woman Toronto Star. Nov 09 2014

Wheater, Prince George. May 26, 1894- October11, 1918. Canadian Infantry Saskatchewan Regiment. Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Government of Canada. Veterans Affairs.

Wright, Raynor. June 4, 1886-October 11, 1918. Marieton, Saskatchewan. Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Government of Canada. Veterans Affairs.

WRIGHT, Raynor, (Bulyea, Sk) Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial (SVWM)

Canadian Mounted Rifles_poster

Rifles poster Canadian Mounted.
Canadian Mounted Rifles poster

From: Michel Lespagnol
Subject: Soldier

If you have further information about the Battle of Iwuy, know of a source of information, the global involvement of soldiers or biography of those who served from Saskatchewan at the Battle of Iwuy, please e-mail Julia Adamson, Saskatchewan and Michel Lespagnol, Iwuy, France Thank you.

Saskatchewan’s Health Care Evolution Towards Medicare – Part 1

6 Aug


Saskatchewan’s Health Care Evolution Towards Medicare

Part I

Medical Logo with Hands

Medical Logo with hands


Much has been written about Medicare, its birth in Saskatchewan, and the key players involved in its evolution. The following is a brief backgrounder, a reference to identify the evolution of health care in Saskatchewan. By examining the origins of medicare, and the actions of some of the more prominent people involved it is hoped that readers will remember the growth and evolution of medicare and what forces came into play during the history of health care. We invite readers to Phone or email Marilyn Decker , – – granddaughter of Matthew (Matthias) Anderson if you have observations, comments or suggestions you could share. It would be much appreicated if you could fill out a short Survey answering questions like: What are your memories of the doctor’s strike in 1962? Were you working in the medical field at the time? What are your memories of life before medicare?

Pioneer Saddle Bag Doctor

” Medical care was practically non-existant in the very early times. Doctors and medicines were scarce and there weren’t any hospitals. Home remedies were used and although perhaps good to a certain extent, there were many untimely deaths, especially from communicable diseases such as diptheria, small pox, typhoid and scarlet fever and consumption (T.B.)”Grummett p 17 “Resourcefulness in cases of emergency was fostered in the home of the pioneer on the western plains and home remedies had to be relied upon. Some of the favoured remedies were said to be, by those who spoke from experience, none too pleasant to the palate, but they had great healing power.”Storer p. 104

“Doctor’s those days had to be entirely dedicated to survive – that is, on the prairies. Often saw him in the dead of winter, in his voluminous coon coat, bundled into his cutter, out to serve humanity in the bleak outlands; rain, shine or blizzard.” Greenblat p.19The prairie weather set obstacles for both rural resident and pioneering prairie doctors. “The roads were few and poorly maintained. When it rained, the mud was deep and sticky, often clogging the wheels of the buggy…The winter was the most trying time, especially when blizzards would blow up and continue for a day or two or more. The road would blow over with snow and only here and there could one see the track that had been made. When telephones came in, one would try to see from one pole to the other. If snow got deep on the road, it would be difficult to pass a cutter or sleigh coming from the opposite direction lest you slid off the road and find it very hard to get it back on. During those early days and for many years later, outbreaks of typhoid were very common. …It was hard to get about in the winter and as telephonic communication was bad or nil, when one got a call to see a serious case, it would be arranged when the next visit was to be made.”MacLean p.63

Much is said about the pioneer doctor travels: “Her practice required frequent traveling. For difficult trails or a distance that meant camping and the tending of horses, she always had a driver. On the Reserve, or to settler’ homes within a range of ten to twelve miles, she drove Malin; and the doctor and her beautiful pacing mare became known through the country.”Buck p. xvi

The British North America Act of 1867, Sec. 92 set out that the local public health activities should be established and maintained by institutions set up by Provincial Governments. Provisions were set out for medical inspection of school children by medical health officers or public health nurses.StatsCan 1939 p. 1027

Typhus fever, diptheria, typhoid, scarlet fever, the Spanish Flue influenza epidemic of 1916, venereal disease (vd), tuberculosis -(consumption)-, polio, accompanied the accidents, gangrene, blizzards, frostbite, broken bones, infections, food poisoning trials and tribulations of the early settlers. To quell the outbreak of contagious disease, Maurice MacDonald Seymour implemented a highly publicized public health campaign, “The Seymour Plan” encouraging cleanliness, and sanitation. Seymour organized the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) in 1905. Between 1885 and 1905, he served with the North-West Territories Medical Council, as either both president and vice-president.

According to Dr. Hugh McLean who practised medicine 1906-1912 a doctor could expect one dollars for an office call, two dollars for a house visit, and fifteen dollars for a confinement case. Additionally a dollar a mile may be added to the bill. In another report, before Medicare, “doctors make house calls and charge $4 to $7 for one. An office visit costs $5 or less. An appendectomy is $125. Removal of a tumour by a neurosurgeon is $350. Complete obstetric service- pre-natal, delivery and post-natal care – $80 for a general practitioner, $100 for a specialist.”Cannel July 14, 1962

“In 1909, The Public Health Act created a Bureau of Public Health responsible to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. The Bureau played a largely supervisory role and was replaced by a more powerful Department of Public Health in 1923.”Mombourquette. P. 101



A typhoid epidemic struck Medicine Hat in 1888. The Canadian Pacific Railway rallied around its divisional point. A Territorial bill was passed, and fund raising began for a hospital to support the town, the railway workers away from home. By 1890 a facility was raised. By 1910, the voluntary general hospital development days were over, municipalities worked in concert with the provincial government to establish hospitals.Feather

“When the province joined confederation in 1905, there were already voluntary organisations playing a service delivery function. For example, the Victorian Order of Nurses was providing homecare and running hospitals, the Salvation Army was aiding immigrants to settle in the prairies, and find jobs, the Canadian Red Cross was running hospitals, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union was providing services to needy people, Yorkton Queen Victoria Hospital was providing inpatient services and the Regina Council of Women was instrumental in establishing other voluntary organizations to provide human services (e.g. Regina Children’s Aid Society, Regina YWCA).”DeSantis p. 11 Dr. M. Seymour, as Commissioner of Public Health, he is appointed the first Medical Health Officer (MHO) for Saskatchewan.

Hospitals began in homes, with local nurses or doctors presiding over health care for early communities. On the arrival of the North West Mounted Police, sick bays and police surgeons began to be established at their posts. Alongside early fur trading posts and NWMP posts came missions run by protestant missionaries, Sisters of Charity (Grey Nuns), and Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Canada. Missionaries would set about establishing schools, dispensaries and hospitals. The Red Cross and Victoria Order of Nurses (VON) were involved with establishing the first hospitals. The 1885 North West Rebellion set up temporary military hospitals at local hospitals or town homes. The Union Hospital Organization was set into place facilitating the construction, and maintenance of hospitals by two or more municipalities. Further, these municipalities which formed the hospital district could enter into an agreement to provide free hospital treatment for certain classes of patients at the cost of the RM.sup>StasCan 1939 p. 1034

From the late 1800s to about 1950, women in labour could turn to a midwife, a maternity home matron or a doctor for help in delivering a new arrival. Due to vast distances and poor roads and transport by horse and cart or ox and buggy, there was a strong demand for mid wives. Births may be attended to in the home, at a maternity home in the nearby town or village or in a hospital if a city was close by. The fees for the rural doctors (if one was available) were high. Maternity homes sprang up around the province, increasing in number until 1944. “The Mutual Medical and Hospital Benefit Act of 1944 precipitated a hospital building spree.”Fung p. 63


Municipal Doctor System


“It was in 1914 that the residents of the village of Holdfast and the surrounding Rural Municipality of Sarnia No. 221 learned that their doctor intended to seek a more financially rewarding locality in which to practice. The news caused such widespread dismay that the municipal council took prompt and drastic but effective steps. A sum of $1500 from property tax revenue was offered as a retainer and Dr. H. J. Schmitt was persuaded to remain in Holdfast.”Reid p.7

Manitoba spearheaded the program of “Mother’s Allowances” in 1916 to provide assistance to mothers widowed or without any other means of support.CYB 1931 p. 1018 This program spread to other provinces.

The Rural Municipality Act of 1916 was amended to allow municipal doctor arrangements. The Health Services Board was established in the province to oversee these fee for service contracts. Gordon S. Lawson writes of the municipal doctor system which saw the introduction of Medical Services Incorporated MSI schemes in 1955. MSI allowed the patient to choose physicians anywhere in the province, and with better highway and vehicular transportation, rural residents wished access to specialist services available in the urban cities and towns which was not provided for under the municipal doctor plans.


Health Insurance Districts

in 1902, Anderson arrived and set up homesteading near Bulyea. In 1919, he returned to Norway, and “had the opportunity to gather information in regard to social services, particularly health services. I began to wonder why we couldn’t adopt a similar plan in Canada with adjustments suitable to our conditions.”Anderson p. 43

The Public Health Act was amended in March 1923 wherein the Bureau of Public Health was made a Department of Public Health under a Minister and Deputy Minister appointed by the government. This Department administered the Public Health Act, Vital Statistics Act, Union Hospital Act, an Act to Regulate Public Aid to Hospitals, Venereal Disease Act and the Tuberculosis Sanatoria and Hospitals Act.StatsCan 1927-1928 p. 963-964

As of 1926, Statistics Canada reported that there were 58 general, maternity, and isolation hospitals in the province, two sanitoria for consumptives, 2 hospitals for the insane and 1 home for orphan and refuges. The total number of patients treated at the 58 hospitals were 42,614, staffed by 883 doctors and 254,090 nurses and support staff.StatsCan 1927-28 p. 963-964

In 1927, Matthew S Anderson, Councillor of the Rural Municipality (RM) of McKillop 220 attended the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipality (SARM) Convention and proposed a health insurance plan based on the model from his home country – Norway. However SARM delegates could not see the feasibility of the proposal with the taxation scheme afforded to the RMs of that era. These localities were served by thirteen doctors; Holdfast (Rural Municipality of Sarnia No 221), Craik (RM of Craik No. 222 ), Beechy (RM of Victory No 226 ), Bethune (RM of DufferinNo No 190), Birsay (RM Of Coteau No 255), Brock (RM of Kindersley No 290 ), Chamberlain (RM of Sarnia No. 221), Freemont (RM of Hillsdale No. 440), Leroy (RM Of LeRoy No 339), Lintlaw (RM of Hazel Dell No. 335), Rush Lake (RM Of Excelsior No 16), and Senlac (RM of Senlac No. 411.).Houston and Massie. P. 28


Dirty Thirties

Drought and the economic depression years hit the prairies hard in the 1930s. It was a difficult time, medical institutions and health care practitioners were facing hard times, salaries could not be met, and renovations and improvements were forsaken. Settlers did not have money, crops failed, grasshoppers took whatever crop survived the heat and the early frost took the rest. The tremendous heat wave took an unprecedented number of lives. The huge dust storms caused dust Pneumonia, a respiratory disease affecting everyone across the plains. Russian thistle, (tumbleweed) was pretty much the only plant which grew during this decade. Not only people were short of food, but livestock were starving. The local doctor was lucky to earn $27 a month.

Beginning in 1931, special grants were provided by the provincial Relief Medical Services Branch to physicians and hospitals to allow them to proffer services to residents unable to pay for health care. The Bureau of Labour, and Public Welfare and Northern Settlers Branch of the Department of Municipal Affairs receive medical advice from the Relief Medical Services Branch.CYB 1939 p. 1035 ‘Northern Settlers’ were those single transients and transient families who transferred to the northern area of the province seeking better conditions away from the drought area in the southern section of the province.CYB 1941 p. 908In 1931, C. Rufus Rorem reported thirty two municipalities with doctors working under the municipal doctor plan.”Twenty had twenty-one full time doctors; twelve other municipalities had part-time agreements with sixteen physicians”

In 1938, the provincial government under Premier William John Patterson, proposed that Anderson set out the health service insurance plan for his RM. Anderson had been reeve since 1930 and a councillor since 1922 and worked towards his goal of Providing a cooperative health system – during the dirty thirties, the finances of the community was desperate, and few to none could afford any health care at all. “The initial tax was $5 per person up to a maximum of $50 per family. The population covered was 2,350.”Anderson p. 64 The RM of McKillop, town of Strasbourg, and the two villages of Bulyea and Silton were covered becoming “Health District No. 1


Municipal and Medical Hospital Services Act

or the “Matt Anderson Act

Matt Anderson in the Rural Municipality of McKillop No 220 instigated the passing of the Municipal and Medical Hospital Services Act (the “Matt Anderson Act“) in November 1938 which allowed any group larger than ten persons to incorporate a health insurance plan. From this statute, RMs could supply hospital and medical services to the rural community by levying either a land tax or a personal tax. After this act was passed The RM of Strasbourg and Silton (RM Pittville No, 169) also followed the RM of McKillop No. 220 passing a similar bylaw to take advantage of the new legislation that same year. Anderson travelled to other regions introducing the concept. RM of Caledonia No 99, RM Of Chester No 125, RM of Lajord No 128, RM of Lumsden No 189, RM of Longlaketon No 219 established municipal medical plans by 1941. The RM of Webb No 138 followed by 1943.

The new health care plan met with favourable press, and incited keen interest across the province. The main alteration in health care was that doctors submitted their bills to the municipality rather than to each individual patient. In this way physicians were paid monthly. In 1938, Dr. R. G. Ferguson tallied 546 provincial doctors, of which 121 were under some sort of municipal contract.Houston and Massie p. 33

Commercial insurance companies sprang up providing support for the residents of Saskatchewan in the face of unpredictable medical and hospital care.Taylor p3-4 Doctor sponsored schemes such as Medical Services Incorporated, Saskatoon Medical and Hospital Benefit Association, Regina Mutual Medical Benefit Association, Group Medical Services, were some of the agencies which arose to meet the health care needs in urban and rural areas. These proved invaluable to the residents of Saskatchewan following World War II when the province began restructuring after the war effort and veterans returned home.

In 1941, the Dr. John J. Collins questionnaire received this reply from one of the rural doctors; “Any system is to be preferred to the present. Collections appear hopeless. I do not know how medical men can hope to carry on out here [all year] under present and future conditions.”Houston and Massie p. 33


Health Services Board Inquiries

Over 1939 and 1940 Statistics Canada reported that the “Health Services Board…is inquiring into the extent and administration of the various health services existing in the province, collecting and studying data on the general situation regarding incidence of illness from all causes, considering methods for an equitable distribution of the costs of illness, studying the needs of the people with respect to general health services, and the necessity of co-ordination of those now existing.”CYB 1939 p. 1035

The Saskatchewan Health Services Planning Commission was implemented In 1946, with Dr. Cecil G. Sheps as Acting Chairman, and Dr. Mindel G. Sheps, leader of the commission. Dr. Fred Mott was the chair for the Commission, and he also headed up the “Saskatchewan Health Survey Report” began in 1947 and completed in 1951. Dr. Len Rosenfeld served as Mott’s deputy. The Hospital Insurance Act -Saskatchewan Hospital Services Plan (SHSP)- came into effect on January 1, of 1947 which provided Saskatchewan residents with free hospital care in the province. It wouldn’t be until November 17, 1961 when the Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Act was passed, and the dream of Medicare in the province.


Swift Current Health Region No. 1 – pilot project.

The Secretary treasurer, W.J. Burak, in the RM of Pittville travelled to Bulyea to meet with the secretary to gather information to take back to Swift Current. “What many new comers may not know is that Swift Current and the region surrounding had the pilot plan for the whole scheme, inaugurated in 1946; thus pioneered the whole business. We had a plebiscite and it carried. Plebiscites in other regions of Saskatchewan lost.”Greenblat 30

Just as Anderson had done in the area of Bulyea, so too did Burak in the Swift Current Health Region also reach out to settlers in the south western area of the province with success. It was thus that Swift Current Health Region No. 1 was born.

Swift Current Health Region No. 1 and Weyburn Health Region No. 3 offered a complete medical care plan including diagnostic, out patient services, general practitioner and specialist services in addition to the Hospital Services Plan. Swift Current Health Region was chosen as a pilot project due to the financial straits of the settlers, and the fact that there was a distinct lack of doctors practising in the area. The land in this corner of the province had started out in the late 1800s and early 1900s as ranch land -pastures and ranges- in the south western portion of the province, and was converting to agricultural mixed farming with a corresponding rise in the population.

[The Swift Current Plan before Medicare] -For a maximum of $96 per year, paid out of personal and land taxes, even the largest Swift Current region family is totally covered for every medical necessity, from sore throat to hospital stay. There is also a small “utilization fee” to discourage needless medical visits – $1 for office calls, $2 for house calls, $3 for medical service late at night or on Sundays.”Cannel Aug 2, 1962.

For 14 years. Swift Current and area residents enjoyed the successful pilot program, physicians “submits his bill for services rendered to the health office in Swift Current which pays him 80 per cent of the fee. …He makes out better by settling for 80 per cent and frequently comes out with a yearly income of #25,000. ‘That is some $7,000 more than the average Saskatchewan doctor elsewhere earns.’ “Cannel July 14, 1962.


Julia Adamson: Author and Webmaster Sask Gen Web E Magazine

Turn to Part 2


It is quite natural that Canadians used to medicare are bringing up the controversy regarding the United States Obamacare program in their conversations.
This is an interesting time, observing the reactions, positive or negative that Americans are having with these new insurance policies. We, as Canadians may indeed be wondering how anyone could be against it.

However, in Canada when medicare was introduced, there was in fact, a 23 day strike against Canadian medicare that made international headlines. In contemporary times, few remember the inauguration of medicare, and the strike in health care service that lasted three weeks, a time during the summer of 1962 not to be critically ill.

This experiences are a reminder of the need to preserve personal memories of these events, especially as those who can remember through these times are now are at least in their sixties.

Please take the time to fill out our online survey; Saskatchewan MediCare & Doctor’s Strike – 1962 Survey asking these questions:

What are your memories of the doctor’s strike in 1962? Were you working in the medical field at the time?

What are your memories of life before medicare?

Where did you live?

How old were you (teens, twenties, etc.)?

How did you get information (newspapers, radio, TV)?

Was medicare or the strike a topic of conversation at home or work?

Were you or family members concerned about your health during the strike?

Were you covered by a municipal plan, MSI or other insurance?

If you worked in the medical field, what was the attitude of co-workers?

Email Marilyn Decker, – – granddaughter of Matthew (Matthias) Anderson if you have observations, comments or suggestions you could share. Saskatchewan MediCare & Doctor’s Strike – 1962 Survey

%d bloggers like this: