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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

Grasshopper

Grasshopper

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

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

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.

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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.

Prairie History Blog Review

25 May

Regina Public Library Prairie History Blog Review

In this day of age with genealogical sites coming online, it is hard to determine which way to turn amidst the plethora of sites appearing from a search engine investigation.

The Regina Public Library has come up with a wonderful solution with their Prairie History Blog The blog originated with the purpose of informing their visitors about the new items added to their collection; recommending some of the best online genealogy resources; and notifications of any upcoming genealogy and heritage-related workshops and events in the Regina community or around province.

RPL, Regina Public Library, Card Catalog, Library Card Catalog

Regina Public Library Prairie History Blog Card Catalogue

Not only does the Prairie History Blog provide updates about new magazines, and books available in the Prairie History Room, Regina Public Library, but they also have information about recommended websites, their updates and new features. Website with early postcards of Prairie towns is one of these articles.

Enhancing the value of the New Magazines now available, the blog is replete with the article titles in each issue, in a milieu of magazines be it Folklore by the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society, National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Alberta History, Families, Your Genealogy Today, Manitoba History, Internet Genealogy, Relatively Speaking, Revue Historique, or the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Bulletin.

Books

New books available for research

An informative category is New Saskatchewan Records added to FamilySearch. The digitisation process of the Regina Public Library has made them keenly aware of their own growth and expansion and in this realization they have also been able to keep abreast of exciting new digital additions appearing on the internet.

As the Regina Public Library system has subscribed to Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) and access is provided in each of their nine branches. The Prairie History Blog provides updates at regular intervals to newly digitised projects which have become available on ALE.

Genealogy presentations are provided in house at the Regina Public Library, but for distance learning or in case you missed it, the many and varied slide shows and transcripts of their presentations are preserved online. A few of these presentations are entitled Revised and Updated Version of Best Genealogy Websites and Tools of 2014 , Tracing your Canadian World War I Ancestors, Best Genealogy Websites 2012 part 2, Researching Military Records. and Chinese footprints across Canada 2014 version.

The Regina Public Library has made their blog a pleasure to use highlighting articles with images, and an easily accessible style providing excellent categories to find similar articles for further research and information. In their passion to provide digital information, they have started the Prairie History Room’s New Virtual Scrapbook on the Regina Public Library Flickr page which was launched with over 200 historical photographs. St. Andrew’s Thistle Football Club is represented with 22 photos, 18 images provide the scene of the historic Regina Tornado and the Nurses’ Training at Regina General Hospital feature amongst historical images of Regina,  Regina library events and branches.

The Regina Public History Blog is a wonderful Genealogy and Heritage Newsletter. If you cannot make it into the Regina Public Library in person, please do take time to peruse their virtual presence, where you can be introduced to the Prairie History Collection, find useful information in their Research Guides, view their photo albums, and indulge in the current blog articles and archives

The Regina Public Library blog and Flickr page are also supported by the facebook page and Web Site.

Online Family History Tree Research

Online Family History Tree Research
enhanced by the Regina Prairie History Blog

Embracing the new millennium, the Regina Public Library has established an informative and insightful virtual presence. Experience their social networking sites and venues the Regina Public Library offers a fantastic online presence.  They  provide information about new additions to the Prairie History Room Collection, allow genealogists to become aware of the better online genealogy resources available, and on top of this they provide genealogy workshops, and notifications of upcoming genealogical related events in Saskatchewan.

It is not often that one finds a blog as useful and as informative as the Regina Public Library’s Prairie History Blog. The Blog shows us just how rich and vibrant the history of Saskatchewan is, and how much the pioneers of this prairie province are treasured in our genealogical research.

 

 

 

 

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Rich history of 1885 | Northwest Rebellion

25 Apr

Church At Batoche, Saskatchewan, The church of Saint Antoine de Padoue

Rich history of 1885 | Northwest Rebellion

In 1885, post-Confederation Canada’s first “naval battle” was fought in Saskatchewan.

Special events are around the corner for the Batoche National Historic Site. This site was the last battlefield of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion. It was here that Louis Riel established the “Provisional Government of Saskatchewan”.

Records relating to Louis Riel and the North West Rebellion are digitised and online. 1,066 images scanned online by Canadiana.org from the National Library and Archives of Canada. Records consist of correspondences, lists, notes, warrants and evidence statements including Louis Riel’s papers from Batoche May 11, 1885.

Additionally, Library and Archives Canada have scanned images of Louis David Riel (1884-1885) and these digital photos are accessible at Flickr.

If you are planning a trip to Batoche (the area formerly known as St. Laurent Settlement, La Colonie De St Laurent) for the festivities take in a round trip of the nearby Fish Creek (formerly known as La Petite Ville, Tourond’s Coulee, Coulée des Tourond ) which depicts the history of the Battle of Fish Creek, and Duck Lake which is also nearby. The Duck Lake Battle. It is very easy to swing by Fort Carlton while visiting Batoche.

A little further afield from Batoche are the events and historic sites of Frog Lake, Alberta; Fort Battleford; Fort Pitt, Frenchman’s Butte; and Cut Knife.

To get an idea of the life and times of Métis, pioneer settler and Mounted Police, peruse these historical newspaper accounts from the late 1800s.

The visitor will be able to experience traditional Métis food at the special events, and gain an appreciation of the Métis lifestyle between 1860 to 1900 from these interpretive historical centres.

For more information:

Saskatchwean Gen Web – War and Military Resources

Saskatcheawn Gen Web Project – SGW – Métis Saskatchewan Genealogy Roots.

Saskatchewan Gen Web Project – SGW – First Nations Saskatchewan Genealogy Roots.

Copyright © Adamson, Julia. Web Publish Date: All Rights Reserved

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Saskatchewan Genealogy MagazineSaskatchewan Genealogy Web : Sask Gen Web E-Magazine
Answering Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): 

Finnish Canadian Genealogical Research

21 Mar

Below is a list and description of the most recent genealogy records for Finnish research.
This report begins with Microfilm 1832 and Microfilm 1833 held by the Canadian Library and Archives, LAC and continues with new submissions of the New Finland District on the Saskatchewan Gen web.

The microfilmed records of the LAC include Finnish plays, musical scores dating between 1905-1967. Included are regional and local records of the Finnish Organisation of Canada and activities of locals and district committees and church congregations across Canada between the time of the Finnish Organisation in 1902 to about 1977. Records of district committees for instance from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, comprise volumes 34-35,134,187 dating between 1915-1968. As well, from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the locals of Lake Coteau, Manna, Mina/Nummola, New Finland, Pointe du Bois, Sherridon, and Steeledale/Coteau Hill have been preserved, the various Canadian local records date between 1903-1983 and are contained in volumes 46-57, 120, 128, 143-144,187-188,189,190-191,193. Youth Organization Records are local youth clubs whose archived documents date between 1934 to 1940. Separate to the above organizations were the Sports Organization Records which are held by the National Library and Archives dating between 1906 to 1973.

The online digitization from Microfilm 1832 and Microfilm 1833 provided by Heritage Canadiana include the sections related to the Finnish language newspaper edition of Työmies . The microfilms contain newspapers published by the Finnish Publishing Company Limited and Vapaus Publishing Company Limited including Työkansa “The Workpeople” and Vapaus.

The October 8, 1908 Finnish language newspaper edition of Työmies can be seen starting on “Image 20” through Image 27 on Digitized Microfilm 1833. The January 4, 1098 edition of Työmies can be found starting on digitized reel 1832 at “Image 26”,

The next record on microfilm 1832 in the New York Times Magazine dated November 18, 1927 on “Image 323”.
The Työmies Finnish newspaper collection begins again at “Image 347”,

Continuing on in Digitized Microfilm 1833 the October 10, 1908 edition begins at “Image 28” through Image 35;

The newspapers and publications have been collected since 1881.

The majority of records on the two actual microfilms [1832 and 1833] held by the LAC are in the Finnish Language, however many are in English. The above digitized Työmies Finnish newspaper collection which is on the internet is written in Finnish.

So, indeed, it looks like a considerable amount of information is contained in the Library and Archives reels 1832 and 1833 and it is most wonderful that the digitisation of records has commenced through Heritage Canadiana beginning with the historical Työmies Finnish newspaper.

Additionally, the Central Organisation of Finns which became the Finnish Club; Winnipeg Branch has submitted digitised historical images at the New Finland District web pages on the Saskatchewan Gen Web. These historical Finnish Club images compliment the Martta Norlen Memories Scrapbook 1937-1974 which includes information online about the Central Organization of Loyal Finns in Canada Suomalainen Kansallisseura Winnipeg Branch Nov. 6 1931, Helene Schjerfbeck 1862-1947,Kirjoitettu Suomeksi, Newspaper Clippings, Pastori A Koski, Ration Books, and a collection of Various Letters Section.

If you know of Finnish genealogy or historical records on the internet that have not been included at the New Finland District web site then please send us an email at newfinland201 AT @hotmail.com Please include the URL [http://www…] of the webpages which would link to the new records in your email.

We wish you every success in your genealogical endeavours. In summary, the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has a treasure of Finnish information contained on the two microfilms, 1832 and 1833, of which the Työmies Finnish Newspaper 1908 editions are online through Heritage Canadiana. The New Finland District in coordination with the Finnish Club have come together to bring historical information online in the form of historical images and letters, newspaper clippings, and ration books. Through these collaborations, and endeavours, it is hoped that those family historians are assisted with their genealogical and historical research.

Notice and Disclaimer:

The purpose of the information on this site is to assist genealogists, historians and other interested parties in locating information from various cemetery records. Please e-mail saskgenweb@yahoo.com if you have any further updates or additions. Thank you.

Saskatchewan Genealogy Web : Sask Gen Web E-Magazine

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Who Maintains Saskatchewan Cemeteries?

11 Dec

Rainy Days and Mondays

Who Maintains Saskatchewan Cemeteries?

To purchase a cemetery plot in the same cemetery as one’s family, to make a donation to the cemetery or to erect a tombstone for an ancestor it may be necessary to know the contact information for the owner/operators of the cemetery. Many cemetery owners and operators rely upon the sale of burial plots to fund maintenance and development of their cemetery land tracts. Technically “the operation of cemeteries in Saskatchewan,” reported Morgan, Don, Q.C., Minister of Justice and Attorney General, “falls under the purview of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General.” The genealogist or family historian is offered more than just this one path of locating the cemetery owner, operator in order to discover if an ancestor is interred in a cemetery in Saskatchewan. wonderfully there are numerous organisations involved in transcribing around 3,500 cemeteries across the province.

To determine who maintains a cemetery in Saskatchewan, one way would be to contact the local funeral home. This information can be located in the phone directory located at either Mysask.com Directory Search or through Canada 411.

There are different levels of cemetery ownership in the province. Homestead pioneer interments may be located on private land. religious denominations may establish their own cemetery and care for them within their spiritual community. The Right Honourable George John Diefenbaker (a former Prime Ministers) is an historic site listed in Government of Canada’s Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada . Diefenbaker is interred beside the Diefenbaker Canada Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Community or public cemeteries are usually owned at a municipal level. Cities may have a parks a parks and infrastructure department to look after cemeteries. Saskatchewan has 16 cities including Lloydminster, which traverses the provincial border with Alberta, but not including Flin Flon, which traverses the provincial border with Manitoba. The cities are (in alphabetical order) Estevan, Flin Flon, Humboldt, Lloydminster, Martensville, Meadow Lake, Melfort, Melville, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Warman, Weyburn, and Yorkton. Towns, and villages also maintain their own cemeteries.

Smaller communities may be cared for the by the rural municipality consisting of reeve (undertaking a similar capacity to the mayor of a city), councillors and administrator. Rural cemeteries may appoint a cemetery committee for the seasonal upkeep of the public cemetery grounds, weeding, mowing and general care, repair and grooming.

The Saskatchewan Genealogy has recorded the legal land locations, and names over 3,430 cemeteries in the province which is online “SGS Cemetery Index.” This index identifies the owner operator where known, and also if the transcript is available through the family search library maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

There are a number of organisations actively involved in transcribing, documenting and photographing cemetery tombstones. The Saskatchewan Gen Web has a listing of them online.

So now lets take an example. Suppose that in using the Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemetery Projet that one finds the Richard Cemetery is located near Speers, Saskatchewan at legal land location SW quarter of section 08- township 43- range 12 West of the 3rd meridian in the rural municipality of Douglas 436 which happens to be in the northwest area of Saskatchewan. Who would maintain this cemetery? Going to the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Cemetery Index and searching under he , one finds that in fact there are two Richard Cemeteries, however the ownership of both of them are unknown and neither have been transcribed by the SGS nor or they available on microfilm at the family search libraries through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If the cemetery had been transcribed by the SGS it would be a simple matter of searching the burial index. Now conducting a search on the Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery pages, to see if any other organisation has transcribed cemeteries for either the RM of Douglas or the Richard Cemetery near Speers, by using the “find feature” on your internet browser (pressing the control key and the key “f” at the same time), then it comes up that the transcription is in fact online.

To go on to help in different scenarios. If a cemetery happened to be looked after by a spiritual organisation – look to that organisation, the church archives, or the synagogue webpages for burial registers. If the cemetery transcription still is not found, one can search each organisation’s individual listing, or use your favourite internet web search engine, ie google, bing, yahoo search, etc, to see if the cemetery, closest community or rural municipality is online. Another option available to the family historian would be to Search Saskatchewan Placenames to discover which regional provincial gen web would have resources for the area around the cemetery, in this case looking up the name “Speers”. In so doing, one finds out that “Speers, Saskatchewan” (previously named New Ottawa) is located within the Saskatoon Regional gen web. Now the resources on the regional pages are also available and access to the Saskatoon Gen Web mailing list and the Saskatoon Gen Web posting (query) board where many many folks come together who also may be able to answer your query on a local regional level. It is also interesting to note that the Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery pages list other resources to locate an ancestor such as the death certificate searchable index, searchable obituaries, etc.

This helps the genealogist, but we have not found the folks who maintain the cemetery to make a donation for the cemetery upkeep, to purchase a cemetery plot or arrange for a tombstone for an existing internment. The cemetery owner can be traced by contacting the rural municipality in the Saskatchewan “Municipal Directory System” , in this case searching for the RM of Douglas 436. The other way to find the folks who maintain the cemetery would be to search for the funeral home in Mysask.com Directory Search or through Canada 411. In this example searching for a funeral home near Speers, Saskatchewan. The selection of the first and closest funeral homes which come up are in the city of North Battleford, 56.47 kilometres (35.09 miles) away, which would be able to offer assistance.

As noted on wikipedia, “cemetery authorities face a number of tensions in regard to the management of cemeteries.” Owners face issues relating to cost, limited amount of land, and the perpetual maintenance of historic monuments and headstones. If contacting a rural municipality office please consider a donation to help the cemetery operators realize the full potential of the special environment of the individual burial ground, and their improvements.

“Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;

Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes

Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,

Let’s choose executors and talk of wills”

~ William Shakespeare, Richard II

Bibliography:

Adamson, Julia. “Cemetery Preservation: Preserving Landscapes of Memories” https://aumkleem.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/cemetery-preservation-preserving-landscapes-of-memories/ Namaste Aum Kleem. Saskatchewan Gen Web E-Magazine. 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Adamson, Julia. Saskatchewan Gen Web Saskatchewan Gen Web Project – Church / Any Spiritual Affiliation Genealogy Resources. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk/Saskatchewan/church.html Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Bylaw No. 6453. “http://www.saskatoon.ca/DEPARTMENTS/City%20Clerks%20Office/Documents/bylaws/6453.pdf City of Saskatoon. 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemeteries Act, 1999. Ministry of Justice. Government of Saskatchewan.” http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/Cemeteries-Act-1999 1999. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemeteries Act, 1999” http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Statutes/Statutes/C4-01.pdf Chapter C-4.01* of the Statutes of Saskatchewan, 1999 (effective November 1, 2001) as amended by the Statutes of Saskatchewan, 2000, c.L-5.1; 2002, c.R-8.2
; 2009, c.T-23.01 ; and 2010, c.E-9.22. Government of Saskatchewan. Documents. 1999. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemeteries, churchyards, and burial grounds” http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110118095356/http:/www.cabe.org.uk/files/cemeteries-churchyards-and-burial-grounds.pdf National Archives. United Kingdom Government. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemetery Regulations, 2001” http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Regulations/Regulations/C4-01r1.pdf Government of Saskatchewan. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemeteries legal definition of Cemeteries. Cemeteries synonyms by the Free Online Law Dictionary.” http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Cemeteries. Farlex, Inc. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“City of Yorkton. Cemetery. ” http://www.yorkton.ca/dept/leisure/cemetery.asp City of Yorkton. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Desmond, Paige. “Perpetual care? Cities struggle to meet public expectations on cemetery maintenance” http://www.therecord.com/news-story/4036717-perpetual-care-cities-struggle-to-meet-public-expectations-on-cemetery-maintenance/ The Record. Metroland. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Death in the Family” http://www.plea.org/legal_resources/?a=249&searchTxt=&cat=28&pcat=4 Public Legal Education Association – Legal Resources. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“FAQ: CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery Project” http://cemetery.canadagenweb.org/faq.html#cem CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery Project 2004-2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“FAQ. Western Canada Cemetery Association. “http://www.westerncemetery.com/default.aspx?page=3 Western Canada Cemetery Association. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Funerals Entire Collection. Canadian Consumer Handbook.” http://www.consumerhandbook.ca/en/topics/products-and-services/funerals
Federal-Provincial-Territorial
Consumer Measures Committee. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Adamson Julia. Saskatchewan Gen Webmaster. “Landmarks and Geophysical Saskatchewan Placenames. Quiz Two.” http://aumkleem.blogspot.ca/2012/06/landmarks-and-geophysical-saskatchewan.html “Quiz Two answers. Uncovering Historical Census and Cemetery Records.” http://aumkleem.blogspot.ca/2012/06/uncovering-historical-census-and.html Namaste Aum Kleem Saskatchewan Gen Web E Magazine. 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Morgan, Don, Q.C. Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “Saskatchewan’s Historic cemeteries.” http://www.otcommunications.com/images/issue/sept10net.pdf Network Magazine. Canadian Cemetery Management. September 2010. Volume 24 No. 10. 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Municipal Directory System” http://www.mds.gov.sk.ca/apps/Pub/MDS/welcome.aspx Government of Saskatchewan. Municipal Directory System. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Ontario Gen Web Project Cemetery Records. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~canon/research-topic-cemetery.html Ontario Gen Web Project. [Though for Ontario, a report on cemetery records, access and information available] 1997-2013 Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Refer to Bylaws and Regulations. City of Regina.” http://www.regina.ca/residents/cemeteries/cemetery-regulations/ City of Regina. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

<aref=”http://www.regina.ca/residents/cemeteries/cemetery-regulations/&#8221; Refer to Bylaw and
“SGS Cemetery Index” http://www.saskgenealogy.com/cemetery/Cemetery_Index.htm” Saskatchewan Genealogy Society. 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Saskatchewan looking to preservation of Cemeteries. Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.” 2009. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Saskatchewan Provincial Government Wants to Preserve Forgotten Cemeteries. http://www.genealogyblog.com/?p=7215 Genealogy Blog. Canada, Cemeteries, Saskatchewan. 2009. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Town of Biggar, Saskatchewan. Bylaw No. 99-613. A Bylw to Acquire, maintain, regulate and control the Biggar Cemetery. http://www.townofbiggar.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/221 Town of Biggar. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“367/09 Cemetery Bylaw | Town of Stoughton 367/09 Cemetery Bylaw | Crossroads of Friendship” http://stoughtonsk.ca/36709-cemetery-bylaw/ Town of Stoughton. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Weyburn. The Opportunity City. Services. Cemeteries.” http://www.weyburn.ca/modules.php?name=Sections&op=viewarticle&artid=22 Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“The graveyard was at the top of the hill. It looked over all of the town. The town was hills – hills that issued down in trickles and then creeks and then rivers of cobblestone into the town, to flood the town with rough and beautiful stone that had been polished into smooth flatness over the centuries. It was a pointed irony that the very best view of the town could be had from the cemetery hill, where high, thick walls surrounded a collection of tombstones like wedding cakes, frosted with white angels and iced with ribbons and scrolls, one against another, toppling, shining cold. It was like a cake confectioner’s yard. Some tombs were big as beds. From here, on freezing evenings, you could look down at the candle-lit valley, hear dogs bark, sharp as tuning forks banged on a flat stone, see all the funeral processions coming up the hill in the dark, coffins balanced on shoulders.”~ Ray Bradbury

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Steamships “All aboard!” on the Saskatchewan

9 Dec

Shine a little light on your path

Steamships “All aboard!” on the Saskatchewan


  • [Aboard ships]:…the world is far, far away; it has ceased to exist for you–seemed a fading dream, along in the first days; has dissolved to an unreality now; it is gone from your mind with all its businesses and ambitions, its prosperities and disasters, its exultations and despairs, its joys and griefs and cares and worries. They are no concern of yours any more; they have gone out of your life; they are a storm which has passed and left a deep calm behind. ~Mark Twain

Before the advent of railways or roadways, conveyance along the waterways was a welcome alternative to traversing prairie trails on squeaky Red River Carts pulled by oxen or on prairie schooners behind a team of horses. Journey across such Red River Cart trails was difficult, there were streams and rivers to cross without bridges, and often times without ferry crossings. Carts would get bogged down in mud, and passengers eaten by mosquitoes.

The steamship era lasted about fifty years spanning the years between 1871-1918. Early pioneers relied upon these paddlewheelers, these steamers, to transport trade goods and make passenger trips before the rail lines were established. Commercial trade opened up, the steamboat supplemented by stage coach, dog train and ox cart.

River boats in the prairies were flat bottomed, and wide. A stern wheel was driven with boiler and engines fitted on the deck. Upstairs, boasted the salon, engine room and private staterooms or cabins, perhaps a ballroom or saloon deck. Atop these levels was the wheelhouse from which the pilot steered the craft. These sternwheelers were essentially a motorized raft designed to float across the surface of the water, and able to navigate shallow waters.

  • She was a grand affair. When I stood in her pilot-house I was so far above the water that I seemed perched on a mountain; and her decks stretched so far away, fore and aft, below me, that I wondered how I could ever have considered the little “Paul Jones” a large craft. There were other differences, too. The “Paul Jones‘s pilot-house was a cheap, dingy, battered rattle-trap, cramped for room: but here was a sumptuous glass temple; room enough to have a dance in; showy red and gold window-curtains; an imposing sofa; leather cushions and a back to the high bench where visiting pilots sit, to spin yarns and ‘look at the river;’ bright, fanciful ‘cuspadores’ instead of a broad wooden box filled with sawdust; nice new oil-cloth on the floor; a hospitable big stove for winter; a wheel as high as my head, costly with inlaid work; a wire tiller-rope; bright brass knobs for the bells; and a tidy, white-aproned, black ‘texas-tender,’ to bring up tarts and ices and coffee during mid-watch, day and night. Now this was ‘something like,’ and so I began to take heart once more to believe that piloting was a romantic sort of occupation after all.~Mark Twain

Gordon Errett Tolton in Prairie Warships: River Navigation in the Northwest Rebellion states that steam powered paddlewheelers came to the Red River in the 1860s, and soon the Hudson Bay Company were using steamboats across the North and South Saskatchewan River waterways. Theodore Barris, the esteemed steamboat historian and author of Fire Canoe : Prairie Steamboat Days Revisited , noted that the Cree called the steamships, “Kuska pahtew oosi”, the “Fire Canoe“, the title also of Anthony Dalton’s book Fire Canoes: Steamboats on Great Canadian Rivers

It was in 1874, that the riverboat successfully joined the ranks of canoe, Metis freighter, bullboat, flat bottomed scows and York boats along the inland water routes. Settlers relied upon the steamers to transport coal to heat their schools, homes and business ventures. Timber was hauled for construction as immigrants finding their way to the “Last Best West” needed building materials, household goods, and agricultural supplies. Grain was freighted to market by steamboat and flatboats or scows. Along the way, the steamers offered stopping points for passengers.

  • The moment we were under way I began to prowl about the great steamer and fill myself with joy. She was as clean and as dainty as a drawing-room; when I looked down her long, gilded saloon, it was like gazing through a splendid tunnel; she had an oil-picture, by some gifted sign-painter, on every stateroom door; she glittered with no end of prism-fringed chandeliers; the clerk’s office was elegant, the bar was marvelous, and the bar-keeper had been barbered and upholstered at incredible cost. The boiler deck (i.e. the second story of the boat, so to speak) was as spacious as a church, it seemed to me; so with the forecastle; and there was no pitiful handful of deckhands, firemen, and roustabouts down there, but a whole battalion of men. The fires were fiercely glaring from a long row of furnaces, and over them were eight huge boilers! This was unutterable pomp. The mighty engines–but enough of this. I had never felt so fine before. And when I found that the regiment of natty servants respectfully ‘sir’d’ me, my satisfaction was complete.~Mark Twain

The “S.S. Northcote” built at a cost of $53,000 was launched August 1, 1874. The namesake of the previous Hudson Bay Comapny’s governor, Sir Stafford Henry Northcote (later known as the Earl of Iddelseigh) who fought for Hudson Bay Company to implement steamboats on the inland rivers and lakes of Manitoba and through the Northwest Territories. The “Northcote” was capable of carrying 150 tons drawing 3.5 feet (1.1 m) of water fully loaded. Her first trip carried mail and supplies for the North West Mounted Police detachment with Bob Louden as one of the pilots. “The “Northcote” made her first run this spring from above the Grand Rapids to Fort Edmonton and return, with a full cargo both ways in 30 days, a full river distance of 2,500 miles (4023.4km),” reported Thomas Dowse, “This I presume was only daylight running.”

Captain Francois “Frank” Aymond piloted the “Northcote” to The Pas with Joseph Favell as pilot, and continued to Fort Carlton on her inaugural journey in the summer of 1874. The press regaled this event thus, “the steamboat just launched on the Saskatchewan is the forerunner of a great fleet of steam craft which is hereafter to navigate this long line of waterways”. Aymond piloted her again in the summer of 1875 completing the trip to Fort Edmonton upstream from Grand Rapids in eighteen days. The return journey, downstream was successful in three days.

Settlements sprung up along the North Branch, Fort Saskatchewan Royal North West Mounted Police post, Battleford and Prince Albert and the “Northcote” was a common site between May and September. James Griggs commanded the “Northcote” in 1877.

These river boats followed in the tradition of the sternwheelers used on the Mississippi River since 1812, on the Missouri River as early as 1819, and the Red River in 1859. Huge loads could be freighted along these large riverways. After steamboats opened the Saskatchewan, fur trade routes were altered, and it was not long before the Athabasca River, Mackenzie River and Peace River to the far north opened to steamship travel as well. Rudy Wiebe notes that “during the summer of 1874, the Plains Cree began to comprehend what a mass of Whites was pouring in upon them. Police troops, surveyors for railroad and telegraph lines, land speculators, settlers trekking their carts along the Carlton Trail from Red River to Pitt and Victoria and Edmonton. The first sternwheeler steamer…filled with passengers and three hundred cartloads of Company freight.”

  • It was regarded as the highest
    achievement of mortal conception to be a steamboat pilot, with
    the exception, perhaps, of being a steamboat captain.” ~ George C. Nichols, an ancient river mariner

Steamer captains from the United States were enlisted to navigate the Saskatchewan with her new steamers. Captain John Scribner Segers (July 3, 1832- April 15, 1909) was one of these riverboat captains fresh off the Mississippi River. “He had a passionate fondness of adventure and a knack of getting into and, more important, getting out of the most impossible situations,” recounts D.J. Comfort, “He had to be one of the more colorful of riverboat captains and tested the waters of more rivers than many would sail in a lifetime.” In 1883, he piloted the “Lily” coursing down the Saskatchewan for the first time. He received his Masters Certificate, Passenger Steamers in the summer of 1901.

  • When I was a boy, there was but one permanent ambition among my comrades in our village on the west bank of the Mississippi River. That was, to be a steamboatman. We had transient ambitions of other sorts, but they were only transient. When a circus came and went, it left us all burning to become clowns; the first negro minstrel show that came to our section left us all suffering to try that kind of life; now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates. These ambitions faded out, each in its turn; but the ambition to be a steamboatman always remained. ~Mark Twain

Thus, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Swift Current became port towns linked to Edmonton, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. “It was customary in those steamboat days for young and old, male and female, in every town along the river, at the deep baying sound of the first whistle to gather at the levee to welcome the first boat,” wrote Thomas Hughes, “to the lonely pioneer, the vigils of a long winter in the wilderness were trying, and the arrival of the first boat was an important event in his life, when he heard from his childhood home and the outside world, and when his exhausted larder would be replenished .”

  • Do you know what it means to be a boy on the banks of the [river] to see the steamboats go up and down the river, and never to have had a ride on one? Can you form any conception of what that really means? ~Mark Twain

The eastern portion of the water route ends at the Grand Rapids, a canyon in Manitoba, where the river drops 75 feet (24 m) along a length of two miles (5 km). This is where the Hudson Bay Company built an inland port and warehouses to connect the lake systems of Manitoba to the river system of the Northwest Territories (later the province of Saskatchewan). A short 3.5 miles (5.6 km) railline, a rail portage, was constructed during 1877 to help portage the steamers from Lake Winnipeg across the Grand Rapids canyon to the Saskatchewan River. This tramway first proposed in 1859 by Simon James Dawson, civil engineer with the Hind Expedition was the first rail of the north west plains.

And where the North branch meets the South branch of the Saskatchewan, the steamers must ply Cole’s Falls, a canyon near Prince Albert 13 miles (20.9 km) in length. Along the North branch, the most common route was (upstream) from Lake Winnipeg to the Forks west of Prince Albert and onwards to Edmonton and back. Steamers which travel the length of the North branch between Prince Albert and Brazeau can only draw less than 22 inches (55.88 cm) of water.

Thomas Dowse explains that, The river as its name implies, viz: “Rapid Running River,” is not to be compared with that of the Mississippi or Red Rivers….the Saskatchewan from Edmonton to Lake Winnipeg, 1,200 miles (1931.2km) by river the fall is 1,783 feet (543.5 m), or three times the rapidity of the Mississippi or Red River currents….This river is one stream for some 450 miles (724.20km) before it divides into its two branches.”

The South Branch leaves Chesterfield House near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border and flows past Saskatchewan Landing, a small prairie port of call. Swift Current became a growing city at the junction of river, Battleford Trail and railway. The South continues to wind its way past Elbow, Moose Woods near the future site of Saskatoon. The river continues on to the ferry crossing established by Jean-Baptiste (Xavier) Letendre, the site later known as Batoche.

  • I entered upon the small enterprise of ‘learning’ twelve or thirteen hundred miles of the great … River with the easy confidence of my time of life. If I had really known what I was about to require of my faculties, I should not have had the courage to begin. I supposed that all a pilot had to do was to keep his boat in the river, and I did not consider that that could be much of a trick, since it was so wide.~ Mark Twain

The Steamboat “Lily” traveled the North Saskatchewan on regular trips between 1878 to 1883. Built in Glasgow, Scotland in the Yarrow and Company shipyards, she was purchased by Chief Commissioner James A. Grahame of the Hudson’s Bay Company for 4010 pounds. After a long voyage, the steamer Colville brought the pre-fabricated parts along the Red River as far as the Grand Rapids. Construction began here in 1878, and the newly resurrected Steamboat “Lily” overwintered at Fort Carlton. Governor General Lord Dufferin christened her at Grand Rapids. The “Lily” came equipped with a steel hull which was faster than other sternwheelers, she sat lower in the water and damaged easily against boulders lying in wait along the shallow river bottom. It was in the winter of 1880-1881 that whe was renovated with oak panelling along her bottom as a protection against rocks.

  • Your true pilot cares nothing about anything on earth but the river, and his pride in his occupation surpasses the pride of kings.” ~ Mark Twain

Traveling between Winnipeg and Edmonton, Steam boats at full tonnage were able to convey in one month the equivalent of 150 to 200 ox carts over an entire summer. Steamers were capital intensive compared to ox carts of the fur trade route which were labour intensive. This practice was not only cost effective, but speeded up the turn-around time to ship goods. Lewis H. Thomas writes of what changes the new technology demanded ~ “steam boats in place of boat brigades, flat boats, or canoes; railroads in place of Red River carts and pack ponies; packing plants in place of family butchering and processing plains provisions; and ranching in place of the buffalo hunt.” Longer voyages, rising costs, dwindling labour force and an uncertain European market for furs forced the Hudson Bay Company to change their operating methods. It was considered that the “enormous expanse of grass and parklands of the Northwest was idle and unproductive…a blot upon our civilization.’ as The Globe” would have it. “Man was master over nature…this mastery implied domination and exploitation” coinciding “with the steam phase of the industrial revolution”.

The “Northcote” turned its attention to passenger traffic, renovated to carry as many as 50 passengers along the river route. Freight was shipped competitively with Metis freighters, the HBC charged $6.25 per hundredweight, versus $8.50 and upwards by the cartsmen. However, the HBC received as much as $70 per passenger.

During the week, steamers were great work horses, transforming into excursion boats on the weekend for vacation holidays. Grand pianos and dance floors set out providing a festive treat for passengers willing to pay $35 a day. Such was the sheer grandeur, scale and opulence of the steam ships, that on September 27, 1881, the Governor General of Canada, the Marquis of Lorne was treated to a lavish early morning reception aboard the “Northcote” before sailing away on board the “Lily” that afternoon.

  • The growth of courage in the pilot-house is steady all the time, but it does not reach a high and satisfactory condition until some time after the young pilot has been “standing his own watch” alone and under the staggering weight of all the responsibilities connected with the position. When the apprentice has become pretty thoroughly acquainted with the river, he goes clattering along so fearlessly with his steamboat, night or day, that he presently begins to imagine that it is his courage that animates him; but the first time the pilot steps out and leaves him to his own devices he finds out it was the other man’s. He discovers that the article has been left out of his own cargo altogether. The whole river is bristling with exigencies in a moment; he is not prepared for them; he does not know how to meet them; all his knowledge forsakes him; and within fifteen minutes he is as white as a sheet and scared almost to death. Therefore pilots wisely train these cubs by various strategic tricks to look danger in the face a little more calmly.
    – Mark Twain

Cheyenne“, “Alpha“, “Minnesota” and “Manitoba” were set upon the Saskatchewan Rivers in 1879 by Winnipeg and Western Transportation Company (W&WTC). The “Minnesota” was re-christened the “City of Winnipeg” over the winter months of 1880-1881 and completely re-built. Captain James Sheets at the wheel of the “City” and pilot Robinson sitting at the “Princess” were contracted to tow the “City of Winnipeg” across Lake Winnipeg to Grand Rapids. The newly retrofitted “City” was caught by storms and dashed to pieces. The Winnipeg Free Press wrote, “Had the “S.S. City of Winnipeg” been content to cruise in safe waters and not let her grandeur govern her head, she might have had many years of usefulness on the Red River of the North.” Her sister ship, the “S.S. Manitoba” was also constructed in 1875 by the Merchants International Steamboat Line in Moorhead, North Dakota. “The “Northcote” now sailed under steamboat captain Jerry Webber in 1881, and the Lily under John “Josie” Smith.

The small “Alpha” made the trip between Fort Ellice to Fort Pelly in 1880. This freighter was mainly used upon the Assiniboine River in Manitoba, though she could carry 30 passengers and nine crew members. Her life was short lived, she was caught up in winter ice and there disintegrated in the fall of 1882.

The “Marquis” arrived upon the mighty Saskatchewan in the summer of 1882 under Captain James Sheets. This ship, the largest on the North Saskatchewan, was again commissioned by the W&WTC working for the Hudson Bay Company. Now there were five ships servicing the Saskatchewan, the “Marquis“, “Northcote“, “North West“, “Manitoba“, and “Lily“. Peter McArthur hauled these huge ships up against the white water at Grand Rapids with winches and manila warps to reach the mouth of the Saskatchewan. Edmonton residents relished this rapid transit. In just ten days passengers arrived in Winnipeg. The “North West” took the first leg to Prince Albert which took five days in low water, and only two days when the water was high. “Lily,” manoeuvred the length between Prince Albert and the Grand Rapids and finally a lake steamer finished the route to Winnipeg. During seasons of low water, the “Lily” with a lighter draught would take the first 500 mile (804.67km) run between Edmonton through to Fort Carlton.

  • I think that much the most enjoyable of all races is a steamboat race; but, next to that, I prefer the gay and joyous mule-rush. Two red–hot steamboats raging along, neck-and-neck, straining every nerve–that is to say, every rivet in the boilers–quaking and shaking and groaning from stem to stern, spouting white steam from the pipes, pouring black smoke from the chimneys, raining down sparks, parting the river into long breaks of hissing foam–this is sport that makes a body’s very liver curl with enjoyment. A horse-race is pretty tame and colorless in comparison.~Mark Twain

The steamships, writes the Winnipeg Free Press, “with their racing and cavorting were the talk of the town”, adventurous, they all sought fame and excitement. “The absolute necessity for every steamboat upon the …
river to maintain its character and reputation against
the willful encroachments and usurpations of any other boat,
was in early days so vital that the racing propensity of a river
steamer has become almost proverbial,” asserted Nichols, “A captain would rather
expose himself to the possibilities of wrecking his boat on an
impediment, or exposing the overtaxed boilers, than allow an
approaching rival to outdistance him. And the pilot was his
right hand in every such encounter.”

Water was the means of travel for the Temperance Colonization Society who settled at Saskatoon. In the spring of 1884, the “May Queen” was piloted by Captain Andrews to Medicine Hat from Saskatoon towing a raft of lumber. However, even though the TCS had high hopes for a fleet of steamers, the “May Queen” could not make it bake upstream as she drew too much water. She was dismantled in Medicine Hat.

  • The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book–a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.”~Mark Twain

1881 rates for shipping goods was 6 and 1/4 cents per pound and shipping was available between Fort Garry, Manitoba through to Edmonton, Alberta. (Winnipeg: Established 1738 as Fort Rouge; renamed 1822 Fort Garry; incorporated in 1873 as the City of Winnipeg.) Passengers availed themselves of the service as well. For $70 between Fort Garry to Edmonton) one could travel as a cabin passenger, and for $35, travel as a deck passenger. A shorter trip say Fort Garry to Grand Rapids would set the passenger back only about $12.00.

The North West Navigation Co. headed by William Robinson and Captain Peter McArthur had the “North West” ready in 1881. She could sleep 80 passengers, carry freight, and was equipped with honeymoon suites and a grand piano on the saloon deck. “On the evening of the 22nd, word was passed about the streets that a steamboat was coming up the Saskatchewan and as it had been rumored for some time that a new boat would shortly ply the river, it was not many minutes before a large crowd had congregated at the landing to ascertain whether it was the Northcote or the new one. The moment the whistle sounded, however all doubts were dispelled, as it was a strange voice that awakened the echoes of the valley of the Saskatchewan,” wrote the Saskatchewan Herald in 1882, “The North-West is a fine large steamer with powerful engines and has plied upon the Manitoba streams and now that the “navigability” of the Rapid River of the North has been demonstrated beyond it, with adventure, she has been transferred to this river and is commanded by that veteran of steamboating, Captain James Sheets, whose name and face have been familiar over the years on the rivers of the North-West.”

  • Throughout the long twelve hundred miles there was never a page that was void of interest, never one that you could leave unread without loss, never one that you would want to skip, thinking you could find higher enjoyment in some other thing. There never was so wonderful a book written by man; never one whose interest was so absorbing, so unflagging, so sparklingly renewed with every reperusal. The passenger who could not read it was charmed with a peculiar sort of faint dimple on its surface (on the rare occasions when he did not overlook it altogether); but to the pilot that was an italicized passage; indeed, it was more than that, it was a legend of the largest capitals, with a string of shouting exclamation points at the end of it, for it meant that a wreck or a rock was buried there that could tear the life out of the strongest vessel that ever floated. It is the faintest and simplest expression the water ever makes, and the most hideous to a pilot’s eye. In truth, the passenger who could not read this book saw nothing but all manner of pretty pictures in it, painted by the sun and shaded by the clouds, whereas to the trained eye these were not pictures at all, but the grimmest and most dread-earnest of reading matter

In 1883 Steamboat “Lily” was lost near Medicine Hat, Alberta. And it was here that Elliott Torrance Galt (son of Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt) and Nelson Todd launched the “Baroness” that same year, the namesake of Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts, the patroness. The Fort Macleod boatyard gave way to a boatyard near the Coalbanks mine, and used wood from the Porcupine Plains sawmill. The “Alberta“, another coal carrier, christened after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, launched April 15, 1884. The “Minnow” sternwheeler was loaded upon a rail flat car and shipped to Medicine Hat to be used as a tug boat for the “Alberta” and “Baroness“. Similarly, Captain E. Shelton Andrews, purchased the “May Queen” and shipped it by railline to Medicine Hat, in 1884.

Over the years of 1883 and 1884, first Class passengers with overnight cabin were charged $58.00 to travel Winnipeg to Edmonton. $30.00 was the fare for travel on board the deck, and they needed to carry their own bedding. Children over five and under twelve could travel half fare. Meals were an additional 50 cents. Here, though, “first-class passengers on the upper deck enjoyed fine food and wine, those below beans and biscuits with tea.” tells Bill Gallaher. Luggage and freight were sent at $6.00 per hundred weight, however, generally a paid passenger was allocated a one hundred pound allowance for their baggage. Passengers could board at Winnipeg and travel to Grand Rapids aboard a lake steamer. There, passengers, luggage and freight would disembark to continue on aboard the short railway and be transferred to a Saskatchewan River Steamer to proceed thence the rest of the way to Edmonton. The Prince Albert Historical Society relates that such a trip upstream would take about two weeks. If the steamer met with accident or became grounded, passengers would continue on their journey on their own avails.

  • All war must be just the killing of strangers against whom you feel no personal animosity; strangers whom, in other circumstances, you would help if you found them in trouble, and who would help you if you needed it”.~Mark Twain

Seven privately owned sternwheelers became active in the Canadian Government’s steamboat navy in 1885 for the North West Rebellion; The steamers “Northcote“, “Baroness“, “Alberta“, “Minnow“, “Northwest“, “Marquis” who pulled 30 separate scows and barges. Even though by this time, steamwheelers had superceded Red River carts as a mode of successful transportation, the riverboats could not be used over the winter months. When the winter ice broke up in this era, the river would churn up huge blocks of ice upon the river banks, some as high as 20 feet. It takes the spring sun and warm weathers of April and May to turn the meltwaters into a navigation water route. General Middleton had to wait until spring thaw in May, and the optimal time was mid June for successful water route transportation of rations, ammunitions, troops and medical service to the battlefield. Thus in early April he brought his troops overland.

Captain Andrews was charged with piloting supplies to the theatre of war. James Sheets was the Captain and superintendent of the journey. And to Captain Segers who had sailed riverboats for the British Army along the Nile River, fell the task of sailing the converted steamer-gunboat “Northcote” up the Saskatchewan River to provide support for the Canadian Government militia. The Metis had strung a ferry cable across the river which sheared off the stacks, spars, funnels, whistle and masts from the steamer leaving the troops aboard the sternwheeler sitting ducks for the Metis sharpshooters.

The Sternwheeler “Manitoba” was to join the steamships of the Saskatchewan River System, the “Prairie Navy“, to aid Canadian militiamen in the Northwest Rebellion. She got stuck at the Sturgeon River north of Prince Albert, and could not be freed, and in the spring ice break up of April 1885, she was destroyed.

In May of 1885, wounded militiamen were carried aboard the “Northcote” from Batoche to Saskatoon to be treated at field hospitals. And it was May 19 when Louis Riel arrived in Saskatoon aboard the “Northcote” on his final journey to Regina.

The shifting sand bars and shallow rivers plagued the steamers. Charles Salyer Clapp, a private with the Canadian Militia, wrote of the trip between Saskatchewan Landing to Clark’s Crossing, a distance of 200 miles (321.9 km) was not rapid. Two thirds of the trip was spent dislodging the river boat off of sand bars each time it ran aground. To avoid the shifting sand bars, the Northcote” employed two men to sound the depth of the river with poles at the bow of the ship and the bow of the raft. Nonetheless the river did not afford a swift flowing channel wide enough for the river boat, and it faltered upon sand bars two to six times each day. It was no wonder, the “S.S. Northcote” was 150 feet (45.72 m) long, and 28.5 feet (8.7m) across its breadth. Fully loaded. the “Northcote” drew 40 inches of water, and with a light cargo it drew 22 inches (55.88 cm). The steamer had a registered tonnage of 290.63. On this voyage the “Northcote” was fully loaded at a time of low waters. Four companies of the First Provincial Battalion were aboard, along with the Gatling Gun, and hospital staff. The “Midlanders” aboard the steamer left Swift Current April 22 and arrived at Clarke’s Crossing on May 5.

  • Now when I had mastered the language of this water, and had come to know every trifling feature that bordered the great river as familiarly as I knew the letters of the alphabet, I had made a valuable acquisition. But I had lost something, too. I had lost something which could never be restored to me while I lived. All the grace, the beauty, the poetry, had gone out of the majestic river! I still kept in mind a certain wonderful sunset which I witnessed when steamboating was new to me. A broad expanse of the river was turned to blood; in the middle distance the red hue brightened into gold, through which a solitary log came floating, black and conspicuous; one place along, slanting mark lay sparkling upon the water; in another the surface was broken by boiling, tumbling rings, that were as many-tinted as an opal; where the ruddy flush was faintest, was a smooth spot that was covered with graceful circles and radiating lines, ever so delicately traced; the shore on our left was densely wooded, and the somber shadow that fell from this forest was broken in one place by a long, ruffled trail that shone like silver; and high above the forest wall a clean-stemmed dead tree waved a single leafy bough that glowed like a flame in the unobstructed splendor that was flowing from the sun. There were graceful curves, reflected images, woody heights, soft distances; and over the whole scene, far and near, the dissolving lights drifted steadily, enriching it every passing moment with new marvels of coloring.

Both the “Marquis” and the “North West” were grounded for a spell when the Saskatchewan jumped its course at the “Cut off” above Cumberland. The river started to cut a new channel developing into a large marsh plain which joined Cumberland Lake draining the river channel, and flooding the countryside with low waters. The years between 1887 to 1896 were very dry, and the prairies suffered drought conditions which waylaid steamship travel considerably.

Captain Richard Deacon, (September 16, 1849-1935) the first licensed Steam Boat captain on the Saskatchewan river. He built his own steamer in 1887 to haul logs along Shell River to Prince Albert. The steamer “Josie” set sail in the spring of 1888. This steam tug was followed by the “Pathfinder” sidewheeler, and the “Marion” steamer. Besides hauling logs, lime and clay for bricks Deacon, and his Son, Alfred.A. Deacon provided excursions for Sunday Schools and Ladies Aids down the river.

The side-wheeler steamer “Glendevon” met a fiery death August 6, 1891, the cook was lost in the inferno but the rest of the crew escaped. At the time of the fire, this little tug was anchored at the mouth of the Little Saskatchewan.

Horatio Hamilton Ross (1869-February 11, 1925) launched the “Assiniboia” on the South Saskatchewan River. By this time rail lines were handling most of the freight overland, so the paddle steamer became a passenger liner and party cruise boat. “But thus
are the ups and downs of life; it may demand a certain degree
of ability to earn money, but a superior degree of prudence is
requisite to retain it,” posited Nichols, “There are said to be circumstances in
each man’s life, which if taken at the flood will lead on to fortune; but there are also circumstances in every man’s life,
which if taken at the ebb will lead on to poverty.

In 1896, the “North West” was offered for sale, commercial river fair was no longer warranted. She was set out near Edmonton ar Ross Flats where she was worn away by the elements for three long years. The flooding of 1899 brought the “North West” out of her moorings, and she was carried in the roaring current crashing into Edmonton’s Low Level Bridge foundations. “The Greyhound of the Saskatchewan” was lost in the North Saskatchewan River.

The tree line of northern Saskatchewan near Prince Albert and Carrot River provided lumber for lumber, fuel for homes and fodder to feed the steamship boilers. The commerce of the fur trade shifted to the logging industry. Upon selling Rupert’s Land to the Dominion Government, the Hudson’s Bay Company retained its most successful trading posts, one twentieth of the best farmland in the region, and was compensated £300,000 ($1.5 million) for the remainder of the purchase transaction. The HBC shifted from a fur trading company to a land development and sales company.

A fleet of nine river boats served the Prince Albert area, “Alice Mattes“, “City of Prince Albert“, “George V“and “The Alberta“. Between 1906 and 1911, the population of Prince Albert swelled from 3,005 to 6,254 persons. The first rail traffic bridge erected in 1909 was built complete with a revolving span which could sing open to allow steam ships to pass through.

  • I stood like one bewitched. I drank it in, in a speechless rapture. The world was new to me, and I had never seen anything like this at home. But as I have said, a day came when I began to cease from noting the glories and the charms which the moon and the sun and the twilight wrought upon the river’s face; another day came when I ceased altogether to note them. Then, if that sunset scene had been repeated, I should have looked upon it without rapture, and should have commented upon it, inwardly, after this fashion: “This sun means that we are going to have wind tomorrow; that floating log means that the river is rising, small thanks to it; that slanting mark on the water refers to a bluff reef which is going to kill somebody’s steamboat one of these nights, if it keeps on stretching out like that; those tumbling ‘boils’ show a dissolving bar and a changing channel there, the lines and circles in the slick water over yonder are a warning that troublesome place is shoaling up dangerously; that silver streak in the shadow of the forest is the ‘break’ from a new snag, and he has located himself in the very best place he could have found to fish for steamboats; that tall dead tree, with a single living branch, is not going to last long, and then how is a body ever going to get through this blind place at night without the friendly old landmark?”~ Mark Twain

The pilot needed to navigate the ever shifting sand bars in the river channel, sail through heat, fogs, high winds and thunderstorms, steer around rapids, rocks, wildlife, fallen trees or sweepers, ice jams in spring and autumn. Sudden floods would beach ships, or may rise and carry away docked ships. Most importantly the pilot needed to feel the travel of the boat itself to be award of changes in current and depth of water. Poles were used to take soundings of the changing water levels calling up to the pilots, the depth in feet. To stabilize the sand bars, a pile was driven down into the river in strategic places to collect sand and allow water channels to remain open.

When a steamer ran aground on shoals, sand bars or muddy river bottom, the “spars” were utilized which were stiff wooden poles set down into the river bottom. A wire cable connected the spars to the derrick and then with a winch at the capstan. When the wire was taught, the boat was lifted up and out of the mud and forward towards the river waters. At the same time the paddewheel would churn sand and water, aiming to propel the ship ahead. Such a navigational feat was referred to as the “grasshopper”.
And at rapids, strong cables were fastened permanently at the shore line which would allow the boat to use its winch to climb up the falls.

In 1890, the railway was constructed joining Prince Albert and Regina. Steamboat service was thus complemented initially with railway shipping points. However, the “flyers” and “fast mails” soon outweighed the pleasant features of steamship travel, and it became tedious and unsatisfactory. “With the advent of the railroads the steamboat trade fell off rapidly.”

The history of steamboating must include the lake steamers on Last Mountain Lake (or Long Lake) which stretches 75 miles (120.7 km) in length shortening the freight run between Saskatoon and Regina. In 1885, the Qu’Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan Railroad and Steamboat Company, (later bought by the Canadian Pacific Railway), established a short rail line between the city of Regina and Sussex near the south end of Long Lake. (The community of Sussex, Assiniboia, Northwest Territories is now more commonly known as Craven, Saskatchewan.) Grain and freight could be hauled by lake steamer between Valeport and Port Hyman near Sussex at the southern end around the lake, and to the Last Mountain House trading post on the eastern shore. (The northern end was very shallow and has since become the Last Mountain Lake Bird Sanctuary, and Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area) William Pearson, also sailed two steamers along Long Lake providing cruises and passenger service. The Pearson Land Company and the Pearson Steamship Company was instrumental in bringing settlers to the area between 1905 and 1913. McKillop & Benjafield ran a lake steamer bearing their name, and the Pearson Land Company operated the “Lady of the Lake” (“later named Qu’Appelle“, firstly christened Welcome“) The “Qu’Appelle” met her fate in a blaze of glory as part of the World War I victory celebrations, 1918. These pleasure craft established the beginnings of Lake View Park and Cairn’s Point, now popular tourist resorts re-named Saskatchewan Beach and Regina Beach. Other communities also arose, Lumsden, Watertown, McKillop Landing, Arlington Beach, Taylorboro, Sunset Cove and Sundale Resort.

  • Pretty soon it darkened up, and begun to thunder and lighten; so the birds was right about it. Directly it begun to rain, and it rained like all fury, too, and I never see the wind blow so. It was one of these regular summer storms. It would get so dark that it looked all blue-black outside, and lovely; and the rain would thrash along by so thick that the trees off a little ways looked dim and spider-webby; and here would come a blast of wind that would bend the trees down and turn up the pale under-side of the leaves; and then a perfect ripper of a gust would follow along and set the branches to tossing their arms as if they was just wild; and next, when it was justabout the bluest and blackest–fst! it was as bright as glory, and you’d have a little glimpse of tree-tops a-plunging about away off yonder in the storm, hundreds of yards further than you could see before; dark as sin again in a second, and now you’d hear the thunder let go with an awful crash, and then go rumbling, grumbling, tumbling, down the sky towards the under side of the world, like rolling empty barrels down stairs–where it’s long stairs and they bounce a good deal, you know. -Mark Twain

During years with a high water table and during spring run off and flooding, the steamers sailed successfully, lowering their smokestacks to squeeze under bridges. However, Saskatchewan cycles between years of flooding and then drought with their incumbant low water tables. Rapids, swamps, rocks, sweepers, and sandbars beleaguered the days of steamboating. Pilots would need to circumnavigate the carcasses of herds of bison drowned in the river. These masses of Buffalo carcasses would eventually become a permanent river island. Where water routes provided an excellent travel system for the fur trader and early explorer, the waterways were not dependable for the steamer.

Boats could speed downstream with high efficiency, yet burn huge amounts of firewood and coal, the cargo it was shipping, on the upstream voyage. It was easy to burn 20 cords of wood per day. If one was to stack one cord of wood it would result in a pile 4 feet (122 cm) wide, 4 feet (1.22 m) high, and 8 feet (244 cm) long. When under full steam, a ship’s boiler could consume one and a half cords of wood every hour. Wood piles or cordwood berths were laid out along the shore line for the steamers until coal became the preferred fuel. Boats could make their way at the end of May, with the river cresting from spring melt off around the beginning of June, the high water levels dissipated by the end of June in some years ending the nautical shipping season then and there.

  • Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
    – Mark Twain

The last steamer which sailed into Saskatoon was sundered against the Traffic Bridge (Victoria Bridge) pier in Saskatoon June 8, 1908. Built over the years of 1906-7 by Captain Horatio Hamilton Ross (1870-1925) of the Ross Navigation Company, the luxury ship had a short life. It was the season of most dependable and reliable steam ship travel, the water was high, the the “City of Medicine Hat” came downstream to Saskatoon. The steamer navigated the waters below the Canadian Northern Railway bridge successfully. However, the steamer, caught up by a telegraph cable, was swept against the piers of the Traffic Bridge where it floundered, and capsized losing its tonnage of flour. No lives were lost.

It was this steamer, “the greatest nautical disaster in prairie history” which is documented in the film “The Last Steamship: The Search for the SS City of Medicine Hat.” Nils Sorensen relates that the sternwheeler made front page news, when it sank in the spring flood waters of the Saskatchewan. Then anchor was recovered in 2008, and 1,000 artifacts were recovered in 2012 when a portion of the Traffic Bridge on the south side of the river was torn down.

  • Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain”~Mark Twain

Ross, a prosperous Remittance Man did not give up, he went out and bought two tugs, which were so loaded by freight, he needed to buy another boat “O’Hell” for a cruise/party ship. Ross Navigation towed log booms, barges and ships, and hauled freight as well as holding parties aboard cruise ships. “Nipawan“[sic] was a luxury ship which Ross launched in the midst of stiff competition.

The North Saskatchewan afforded travel for a short time after 1908. The rail lines commenced in the southern portion of the province through Qu’Appelle, Regina, so steamers were still valuable in the northern region along the North Branch to convey freight and passengers till the rail line came north.

The lumber industry between “The Pas”, Carrot River, Nipawin, and Cumberland House region continued to avail themselves of boats for the lumber industry up until 1954. The Finger Lumber Company was purchased in 1919 by Charles Winton, David Winton and Alvin Robertson who re-named the operation The Pas Lumber Company. Operating mills at both Prince Albert and The Pas, they employed the steamersWinton“, the “Emma E“, the “David N. Winton“, and the “Alice Mattes” and barges along both the Saskatchewan River and the Carrot River. In September of 1926, the “Jack Winton” was sunk in shallow water. The ““David C. Winton” and two wrecking barges were discharged to salvage the sunken steam boat out of waters which had risen another five or 6 feet (1.8 m).

The steamboat industry, trying to survive in mounting competition, now offered freight rates of $1.80 per hundred weight undercutting rail line and stage coach rates of 1886 which charged $2.50. For general merchandise, the steamboats also proffered a cheaper rate $2.90 as compared to $4.50 by rail. Copper ore was the next commodity shipped down the water routes between Sturgeon Landing in the north making its way across lake and river to the Saskatchewan route. This ore industry was active between 1917 and 1925.

Soon steamboating in Saskatchewan ceased entirely.

  • It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big, still river, laying on our backs, looking up at stars, and we didn’t even feel like talking aloud.” -Mark Twain

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For more information:
Bibliography

Steamships All Aboard! on the Saskatchewan

Navigation of the Saskatchewan. Steamers

Saskatchewan Gen Web ~ Transportation

Ballad of the Saskatchewan ~ A Poem

The Aged Pilot Man ~ A Poem

Table of Steamships upon the Saskatchewan

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William Wallace Gibson ~ First Flight of a Canadian Airplane

22 Nov

Shadow Dancing - Explore

William Wallace (Billy) GIBSON (March 28, 1876 – November 25, 1965)

Nothing ever built arose to touch the skies unless some man dreamed that it should, some man believed that it could, and some man willed that it must.

~Charles Kettering

William Wallace (Billy) GIBSON was born March 28, 1876 in Dellmellington, East Ayrshire, Scotland to William GIBSON and Margaret LEES. W.W. Gibson or Billy arrived in Canada on June 20, 1883 when he was just seven years old. His kites flew across the prairies as GIBSON learned the basic principals of aerodynamics succeeding at launching a craft heavier than air into flight ~ detailed crafts carried aloft behind a galloping pony ridden by a young boy with a dream.

These kites, powered by wind were instrumental in the research and development of airplane design. The GIBSON Twin Plane and GIBSON Multi Plane pioneer aircraft to come utilized both motor and propellor for their propulsion system. Without formal schooling, without a team of engineers, Gibson mastered lift, aspect ratio, stability and construction flying his gopher piloted kites – his initial tethered aircrafts before launching the first successful all Canadian airplane.

“Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives,”

~ Socrates.

LOGANSTON

“Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough.You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.”

James Matthew Barrie

His father, William Gibson born February 14, 1847 in Auchinleck, Ayrshire, Scotland, was one of three stonemasons who arrived in the Moffat area of Saskatchewan June 1, 1883, and erected a fine stone house over the years 1884 to 1885, naming it Loganston, the very first stone house of the district. This stone mason, noticed the limestone and granite stones across his field, and decided to erect a kiln, and as Haensel wrote in Western People, Loganston house is still standing. The family followed these two years of hard labour with more, constructing as well a fine barn. Moffat, Assiniboia, North West Territories is reminiscent of the historic romance movie Brigadoon according to author Kay Parley of They cast a long shadow: the story of Moffat, Saskatchewan.

Forty families left from the shores of the Bonnie Doon river, and re-located near Wolseley on the banks of Wolf Creek. As William Gibson said of the Canadian North West, “Strawberry, raspberry, brambleberry, gooseberry, black currant, cherry, cranberry, saskatoon berry, and others. Mrs. Gibson has made over 100 lbs of jelly this summer from wild fruit” He also spoke of fertilizers, “I have used manure to a few potatoes to try the effect it had along with others planted without manure, and they did no better with it.” in the book “What settlers say of the Canadian North-West a plain document of the experiences of farmers residing in the country; The Canadian Pacific Railway Manitoba, the Canadian north-west testimony of actual settlers. GIBSON’s father also wrote a journal, which was published in the Ayrshire post from which the early experiences of these hardworking Scottish pioneer families is recorded and known.

BILLY GIBSON CHILDHOOD YEARS

“Pale Face Jumping Deer”

Oh, oh, oh!
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Let’s go fly a kite!

— from “Mary Poppins” Written by Robert B. Sherman

Kites were always a passion, and gophers were his first pilots as they flew above the prairie fields. Known as the Bird Man of Balgonie GIBSON spent years on his hobby experimenting with flight. His power plant propelling his kites from the spring end of the window blinds encouraged to go further. One of his kites measured in at seven feet (2.1 meters) and carried a basket packed full of nine gophers. Just imagine GIBSON galloping across the Saskatchewan prairies on his little pony flying his elaborately designed kite in his wake, learning and studying the principals of aerodynamics.

In 1883, a small seven year old is often found playing with the grandson of the great Chief Piapot, the Cree Indian Reserve of Piapot being 25 miles northwest of Regina was near the Loganston Farm of Moffat. The book Silver Cloud by GIBSON reminisces about the friendship that had developed amongst these friends. Little Billy Gibson soon became friends with the children of Grey Eagle, and Billy received the name “Pale Face Jumping Deer” as he could outjump his playmates from page 22 of Canada’s flying heritage by Frank Henry Ellis (1896-1979.

GIBSON attended the Abbotsford School as a child, and the first school classes were held in the attic of Loganston house for the first month which began approximately the spring of 1886 under Andrew T. Fotheringham. The classes then took place in the abandoned Robert Yule log home under Mr. Argue, a University student. By December 18, 1885, the Abbotsford Protestant School District #37 was organized. The school building was erected in 1888, and classes began May 6, 1889. At the age of 13, (1889) he left school to assist the family on the farm located at the SE quarter of section 4 township 16 range 10 west of the 2nd meridian. The family adopted one of the many British Home Children, Johnny Vipond another 13 year old arriving in Canada from the Dr. Bernardo Home in the spring of 1889.

BIRD MAN OF BALGONIE

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

~Leonardo Da Vinci.

It was in 1900, when he set out on his own starting up a blacksmith in Wolseley. Purchasing hardware dry goods in Regina, he re-located to Balgonie and started a hardware venture there about a year later which had become quite prosperous. The very first automobile in Saskatchewan was owned by GIBSON IN 1902. Around 1903, at the age of 27, GIBSON blossomed. He invested in a railway construction venture. He accepts a contract to construct 42 miles of right-of-way; 20 miles north of Wolseley, and another 22 miles west of the Touchwood Hills. As a railway contractor, he completed 40 miles of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.[4]

GIBSON also founded a hardware business in Craven, Saskatchewan with a partner, Olin Abner Beach (1882-1966) in 1904, Beach and Gibson Hardware Store. Business warranted another hardware and implement business in Cupar, Saskatchewan.[1][2]

News of the Wright brother’s success in 1903 spurred GIBSON onward. During these years GIBSON had switched from flying kites to experimenting with model airplanes. The spring in a Venetian blind roller powered his model airplanes. He launched a large paper glider from the roof top of his hardware store in Balgonie using it as a prototype model for a man carrying aeroplane with engine.

Privacy was a determining Scottish trait inherited by the young inventor. He tested out aviation engines in the early hours of daybreak to avoid scepticism and mockery as well thus protecting his credit rating. It was in this time he developed a four cylinder air cooled engine, testing this aeroplane engine at Balgonie, Saskatchewan June 19, 1904.

The railroad fever had the potential for a large payoff, however GIBSON’s gamble failed. The Railway venture caused GIBSON to loose $40,0000 within a year and a half. To make ends meet, he was required to sell off his chain of hardware stores which had arisen in Balgonie, Cupar and Craven. William Gibson, his father, began employment with the Forestry Division of British Columbia’s Department of Education. GIBSON also left for British Columbia with his family in 1906.[3]

GIBSON, an adventurous soul, had traveled to Victoria seeking fortune in the gold rush. Around and about 1908, he meets Lucky Grant who had his gold mine prospect up for sale. GIBSON purchased a 17 foot boat and set sail up the ocean coast, arriving in Clayoquot eight days later. Here He re-united with Grant and they traversed overland to the Leora Mine. Immediately GIBSON purchased the prospect selling Locky, his boat, camera, rifle, field glasses and some cash. GIBSON knew what was required to mine this spot, and traveled back to Victoria for a water wheel driven small stamp-mill. The mining venture at the Blackpearl Mine was productive, and GIBSON was able to flip the mine for $10,000 cash early in 1910.

FIRST SUCCESSFUL CANADIAN AIRPLANE ENGINE

GIBSON TWIN PLANE

“”This plane can teach you more things and give you more gifts than I ever could. It won’t get you a better job, a faster car, or a bigger house. But if you treat it with respect and keep your eyes open, it may remind you of some things you used to know — that life is in the moment, joy matters more than money, the world is a beautiful place, and that dreams really, truly are possible.”

~ Lane Wallace

He was now financed for the era of “aeromania” fueled by the Wright Brother’s flight in North Carolina. Tristan Hopper of the British Columbia Magazine, relates that France’s Louis Blériot was embarking on his dream to fly cross the English Channel, Magician Harry Houdini was working upon a French biplane in Australia. Even the Canadian inventor Alexander Graham Bell assembled together an American engineering team and embarked on a mission to build a flying machine.

Now GIBSON had the means to return to his aviation hobby and settle in at Victoria B.C. He purchased a large home on 146 Clarence Street in the James Bay region of Victoria. He was able to make use of Beacon Hill for test flights. Neighbors would flap their arms and just at his experiments, so again he took to the early morning hours, and night time trial runs. His initial hand built engine did not take to the air, however GIBSON persevered. In an interview with the Victoria Colonist July 1909, GIBSON states, “The machine is [intended to be] 65 feet long and 14 feet width at its widest part. There it differs radically from all the machines hitherto made. They all present their widest part to the wind, proceeding, so to speak, sideways. I go straight ahead, like a steamboat or a fish.” Gibson was convinced that a long, narrow air craft was the best design promoting flight and diminishing the risk of capsizing in the air.

On the other side of the world, Bleriot was undertaking a flight across the English Channel, July 25, 1909. And coincidentally, GIBSON make a wager of $1000 that he would achieve a flight to Seattle or Vancouver before the end of the year crossing the Gulf of Georgia.

Working in a local machine shop, and partnering with the Hutchinson Brothers, he soon had a six cylinder, air cooled 40-60 horsepower aircraft engine weighing in at 210 pounds constructed. With the aid of Tom Pimley of the Plimley Bicycle Company, a four wheel undercarriage was fashioned from bicycle tires. Fred Jeune proprietor of Jeune brothers supplied the blue silk to cover the 20 foot wings which were mounted lengthwise providing 330 square feet of lifting surface area. The monoplane designed by Blériot had only 160 square feet. The plane is twenty feet long, and eight feet wide. GIBSON fashioned two propellers and mounted a saddle in front of the engine. The entire craft was 54 feet in length with contra propellers before and aft of the engine. Ahead of his time, GIBSON’s use of gull wings, baffle plates within the fuel tanks, and the direct drive contra-rotating propellers are innovations used in contemporary aeronautical design.

At Tolmie, Victoria, on September 8, 1910, GIBSON set off on his inaugural flight in the GIBSON twin plane on the Dean Farm, now the locality of the Victoria Landsdowne Airport. He reached a height of about 20 feet and a distance of 200 feet! As pilot of this craft, GIBSON cut short the flight early as he needed to cut the engine to avoid the trees at the far end of the runway. The landing completely broke the riding wheels.

GIBSON survived, having been thrown from the plane, but the aircraft hit the trees. GIBSON surpassed the initial flight record of the Wright Brothers which had maintained a distance of only 120 feet. Aviation pioneer A.V. Roe in England also did not meet this achievement with his inaugural flight of 100 feet.

“His flight this week was seen by several people who wondered what the enormous moving thing in the air could be as they saw it sailing across fields towards Mount Tolmie,” was the extent of the September 9, 1910 Daily Times newspaper write up. However this great feat is now reported thusly, “in 1910, William Wiallace Gibson of Victoria, without formal training, designed and built the first successful Canadian aircraft engine,” recognizing the contributions GIBSON made to aviation in British Columbia, GIBSON was inducted into The British Columbia Aviation Hall of Fame.

The first flight was followed by another on September 24, 1910. This flight recorded in the article Pioneer Flying in British Columbia, 1910-1911 by Frank H. Ellis in the The British Columbia Historical Quarterly, October 1939 related that the plane rose about fifty feet, “passing the shelter of a clump of trees a strong cross wind was encountered with the result that the aeroplane was drifted dangerously near some trees, Mr Gibson not using his rudder. He shut off his engine to avoid collision and came down, but unfortunately his wheels were not equipped with brakes and the momentum drove the aeroplane into an oak tree at the rate of about 25 miles an hour….on discussing the flight, Mr. Gibson said he was under the disadvantage of having to learn the art of aviation by experience, there being no “flying schools” in British Columbia” The National Aeronautical Museum in Ottawa has preserved this engine which powered his twin plane.[3] The Twin plane was re-built to size and is on display in the British Columbia Aviation Museum near Victoria.

GIBSON MULTI PLANE ~ THE FLYING VENETIAN BLIND

To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home.

– anonymous

GIBSON sold his home for $14,000 to continue financing his aviation hobby. GIBSON honestly came by a true Scottish character, a “tenacious nature”, with a “willful stubbornness” and very patient to achieve his long term goal. Lieutenant Governor Thomas Wilson Paterson (1851-1921 Lt Gov 1909-1914) offered the use of the Paterson Ranch located near Ladner, British Columbia in the Fraser River delta providing a flat surface. It is here that GIBSON made test flights in his multi plane. The new design incorporated forty planes of Spruce wood which gave rise to the name; the flying Venetian Blind. Again, the craft had two propellers, and a new 60 horse power engine invented entirely by GIBSON. It was reported in the 1952 edition of The Beaver that this airship could bear the weight of twelve men.

GIBSON’s wife, now worried about his safely, made him promise to take no more test flights. On May 31, Paterson, joined by Frank J. McKenzie, M.L.A. and other residents were present at the Paterson Farm to watch the first attempt. J.B. Woods of the Western Motor and Supply Company in Victoria is to be the “demonstrator”.[5] In an unfortunate twist of fate, the day was calm resulting in a failed flight due to the lack of wind.

GIBSON tested his craft around Kamloops, B.C. before trying the drier air in Alberta, near Calgary. Partnering now with Alex Japp, GIBSON tries again. A new 6 cylinder air cooled, 2 cycle engine is developed producing 40 horsepower on a tandem, gull-wing monoplane. The flight on September 8, 1910, the landing gear is needing repairs. The on September 24, another flight, and a side wind took the plane resulting in a landing without power crashing into an oak tree.

The book Artificial and natural flight was published in 1908 by Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim, (1840-1916). Following his father’s dream to conquer the air, Maxim chose to construct an airplane rather than a helicopter. Maxim’s first attempt at flight was made August 31, 1894. Conveyed along railway tracks like a roller coaster, it did not lift off, and crashed at the end of the line. His next models were all tested in wind tunnels, but did not become successful.

Japp reads Maxim’s book, and makes design changes to GIBSON’s multi plane incorporating ailerons amongst other tweaks. on August 12, 1911 completing a flight of one mile in the GIBSON multi plane. He used Spruce for the wings, and tried it out on the flat plains near Calgary. Here GIBSON made successful test flights, and to settle his wife’s fears while she is abroad on vacation, Alex Japp became the pilot. Japp steers the aeroplane trying to avoid the badger holes on the runway upon landing, ditching the plane into a swamp, and the craft is destroyed. In honor of his flying feat, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington built a model of his airplane for display.[3]

Following these aeronautical experiments, GIBSON returned to gold mining along the Kennedy river Leora Gold Mine inventing his own mill and mining machinery. GIBSON was able to produce $20,000 worth of gold from a mine which was most active between the years 1902 and 1915.

GIBSON MILLS MANUFACTURING COMPANY ENTERPRENEUR

Genius is the gold in the mine; talent is the miner who works and brings it out.”

~ Marguerite Blessington

Gibson abandoned the mine in 1933, embarking on the GIBSON MILLS manufacturing company in San Francisco. A successful inventor, GIBSONs mining machines were successful and in demand internationally.

GIBSON RETIRES WITH JESSIE

In 1940 he was 64 and living in the Oakland Judicial Township, Alameda, California with his wife Jessie P, born in Michigan, 1895. Here GIBSON retires, and yet to quote Seneca, “many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come . . . . Our universe is a sorry little affair unless it has in it something for every age to investigate.”

INDUCTION INTO THE CREE TRIBE AS A GREAT CHIEF

Kisikaw Wawasam ~ “Flash in the Sky Boy” ~ Great Chief Piapot

Name bestowed upon William Wallace Gibson

The traditions of our people are handed down from father to son. The Chief is considered to be the most learned, and the leader of the tribe.

~ Sarah Winnemucca Paiute

It was Thursday, July 15, 1948, when over 600 First Nations people were present at a large dramatic ceremony. GIBSON, now a resident of San Fransisco, was present, fulfilling the prophecy told to him in 1883, some sixty five years earlier. Now at 72 years of age, GIBSON received the name “Kisikaw Wawasam“, the name of the Great Chief Piapot which translated literally to English means “Flash in the sky boy.”

GIBSON was thus inducted as a great chief of the Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, the prophecy told to the seven year old boy, “Pale Face Jumping Deer” was now complete. First Nations of the Piapot Reserve, the Qu’Appelle and Crooked Lake Indian agencies unveiled a memorial cairn to Chief Piapot at the ceremonies.

This induction honour had only been bestowed twice earlier, upon John Phillip Sosa, the American band leader, and upon D.C. Coleman president of the Canadian Pacific Railway who had both been previously inducted as a chief of the tribe. GIBSON traveled to Ottawa on his trip to Canada, where he took in the Dominion Archives display of his first airplane engine assembled in British Columbia before returning home.

OTHER HONOURS

Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.

~ Ayn Rand

A commemorative cairn was erected on Richmond Road. According to Bill Irvine, the locations is ” former site of Landsdowne Airfield (Victoria’s first airstrip), beside Knox Presbyterian Church 2964 Richmond Road, Victoria BC, Canada” and it reads:

HONOURING

WILLIAM WALLACE GIBSON

WHO DESIGNED AND BUILT AND

FLEW THE FIRST ALL

CANADIAN AIRCRAFT AT THIS

SITE ON SEPTEMBER 8th 1910

*

ERECTED BY : EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION

CHAPTER 142

CORPORATION OF THE DISTRICT OF SAANICH

8 SEPTEMBER 1985

PUBLICATIONS

Authored by William Wallace Gibson

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside awakens.”

~ Carl Jung

He wrote several books:

Title The Birdmen
Author William Wallace Gibson
Published 1923 republished 1942
Length 23 pages

Title Flash-in-the-sky-boy: From the Letters, Manuscripts, and Published Works of William Wallace Gibson
Author William Gibson
Editor with additions by Kay Parley
Published 1967

Title: Silver Cloud OR the Last Buffalo
by W.W. Gibson
It is the “story of the love affair of a young Indian girl and a white settler boy.”
The pamphlet has a photo showing Gibson attired in full Cree regalia
published 1900, and c1905
Regina Saskatchewan
Re-published c 1940 California

WILLIAM WALLACE GIBSON FAMILY TREE

All successful people men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.

~ Brian Tracy

The tombstone for William Wallace GIBSON’s parents is in the Ross Bay Cemetery

Erected
by
Margaret Gibson
In memory of
Her husband
WILLIAM GIBSON
Born
Auchinleck, Scotland
Aug. 23, 1847
Died at Victoria
July 11, 1918
MARGARET GIBSON
Born at Patna
Scotland
March 22, 1849
Died April 13, 1940

[Margaret – daughter of James F. Lees & Margaret McConnachie]

On the sides of this stone are entries for both – Margaret & Jean Gibson – their daughters –

Jean Wilson GIBSON
Ross Bay Cemetery
Vancouver Island Region, British Columbia

Also their daughter
Margaret
M. C. GIBSON
Born at Dalmellington
Scotland
July 18, 1874
Died April 9, 1921
Jean W. GIBSON
Born at Wolseley, SK
Sept. 8, 1886

[Daughters of William & Margaret McConnachie Gibson – their details on side of this stone. Jean died 16 Mar. 1973, aged 86. Both single & died in Victoria]

Photos of the Gibson family; Mrs. William Gibson, William Gibson, Hugh Gibson and William Wallace Gibson.

Parents:

WM Gibson 1847-1918 Margaret (Maggie) Mcconnachie Lees 1874-1940

  • Gibson William
    Head born Auguest 27 1847 Patna Ayrshire, Scotland died July 11, 1918 Victoria, British Columbia
  • Gibson Margaret McConnachie
    Wife born March 22 1849 Straiton, Ayrshire, Scotland died April 13, 1940 Victoria, British Columbia Parents James Lees, Margaret Mcconnachie

Married April 6, 1871 in Straiton,Ayrshire,Scotland
emigrated to Canada June 1, 1883 settled on SE quarter of section 4 township 16 range 10 west of the 2nd meridian homestead in Moffatt, Assiniboia, North West Territories. (location changed names to Moffatt region near Wolseley, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1905)

Family Siblings

  • Gibson John Son born June 29, 1871 Dalmellington, Ayrshire, Scotland died November 22, 1954 Victoria, British Columbia
  • Gibson Jas James Lees Son born November 11, 1872 Dellmellington, East Ayrshire, Scotland died September 10, 1924 Essondale, British Columbia married to Maggie Campbell died 1903
  • Gibson Margaret McConnachie Daughter born July 18 1874 Dellmellington, East Ayrshire, Scotland April 9, 1921 Victoria, British Columbia age 45
  • Gibson William Wallace Son March 28 1876 Dellmellington, East Ayrshire, Scotland died November 25, 1965 Oakland, Alameda, California married to Jessie P died 1978
    • Lived in Dellmellington, East Ayrshire, Scotland 1881 to June 1, 1883>>Winnpeg, MB June 1 1883-June 20, 1883>> Moffatt, Assiniboia, Northwest Territories (later Saskatchewan) June 20, 1883 to 1901 >>Wolseley, Saskatchewan >> Balgonie, Saskatchewan (with ties to Craven, Saskatchewan and Cupar, Saskatchewan)>> Victoria, British Columbia >> Kennedy river region, British Columbia >>San Fransisco, California>> Oakland, Alameda, California
  • Gibson Hugh Wilson Son March 7 1881 Dellmellington, East Ayrshire, Scotland died September 10, 1964 Victoria, British Columbia married Edna Catherine Robinson
  • Lees Thomas Nephew April 25 1884
  • Gibson Jeanie Jean Wilaon Daughter September 8 1886 Moffatt, Assiniboia, North West Territories (later province of Saskatchewan) died March 16, 1973 Ross Bay
    Vancouver Island Region, British Columbia

Grandchild of Wm and Maggie:

  • James Gordon Gibson born January 8, 1906 Craik, Saskatchewan died March 7 1969 Victoria, British Columbia s/o John Gibson and Jane Paul Loree married on June 10, 1927 in Craik Saskatchewan to Bessie Loree age 23 b1904 London England d/o John E. Loree and Alice Baldwin.
  • Baby Gibson died December 18, 1934 at Victoria, British Columbia c/o Hugh Wilson Gibson and Edna Catherine Robinson.
  • Margaret Gibson d/o James Lees Gibson and Maggie Campbell daughter Margaret was raised by wife Maggie’s parents Donald Campbell and his wife Helen Cameron; this family left the Moffat, Saskatchewan area in 1916

Family of Margaret Gibson nee Lees wife of William Gibson

William Wallace Gibson Maternal Ancestry

Lees, John Head married June 29, 1838, Straiton, Ayrshire, Scotland
married McConnachie, Margaret

  • Lees James born May 1, 1840, Straiton, Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Lees Jean born June 15, 1842, Straiton, Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Lees Thomas born Oct 21, 1844, Straiton, Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Lees Mary born Dec 22 1846, Straiton, Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Lees Mcconnachie, Margaret born March 22 1849 Straiton, Ayrshire, Scotland died April 13, 1940 Victoria, British Columbia
  • Lees John born May 10 1851, Straiton, Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Lees William born March 22, 1856, Straiton, Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Lees Janet Born August 29, 1858, Straiton, Ayrshire, Scotland

BIBLIOGRAPHY

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”

~
Calvin Coolidge

[1] Title: Beach in Canada, A Pictorial Genealogy

Abbrev: Beach in Canada

Author: Mahlon W. Beach

Publication: Privately published, December 1978

[2] Title: A Brief History of David Beach and Phoebe Daniels Beach and their Descendants

Abbrev: Brief History

Author: Wilfred Warren Beach

Publication: Unpublished manuscript, Chicago, 1932

[3] Bridging the Past.
Wolseley and District. 1880-1980.

Wolseley and District History Book Committee.

ISBN 0-88925+27+0

Friesen Printers. Altona, MB.

Pages6 and 57

[4] Victoria Colonist, July 7, 1909

[5] Victoria Colonist, May 2, 1911.

[6] Victoria Colonist, June 2, 1911.

[7] Letter from A.D. Paterson to Frank H. Ellis dated June 1, 1939.

[8] Daily Colonist, Victoria, September 10, 1910.

[9] From Cordwood to Campus in Gordon Head 1852-1959

Ursula Jupp

ISBN 10: 0969065027 / 0-9690650-2-7

ISBN 13: 9780969065029

Publisher: estate of Ursula Jupp

Publication Date: 1975

[10] Title The Beaver

Contributors Hudson’s Bay Company, Canada’s National History Society

Publisher Hudson’s Bay Co., 1952

[11]People who lived in stone houses

Western People

August 26, 1982

[12] Understanding Saskatchewan through “Our Towns”

Publisher Leader Post
Date May 23, 2008

[13] Title Saskatchewan History, Volumes 28-30

Contributors University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan. Archives

Publisher University of Saskatchewan., 1975

[14] Title Canada’s flying heritage

Author Frank Henry Ellis

Edition revised

Publisher University of Toronto Press, 1973

Original from the University of Michigan

Digitized 12 Feb 2008

[15] Uncharted skies : Canadian bush pilot stories / Walter Henry and the Canadian Bush Pilot 1993.

[16] Riders on the wind / Laurence Swinburne ; illustrated by Dan Hubrich. 1980

[17] Canada’s aviation pioneers : 50 years of McKee trophy winners / Alice Gibson Sutherland ; foreword by C – Headquarters:
[18] Title Indian fall: the last great days of the Plains Cree and the Blackfoot confederacy

Page 203

Author D’Arcy Jenish

Edition illustrated

Publisher Viking, 1999

Original from the University of Wisconsin – Madison

Digitized 18 May 2010

ISBN 0670880906, 9780670880904

[19] Title Recollections of an Assiniboine chief

Authors Dan Kennedy, James R. Stevens

Editor James R. Stevens

Contributors Dan Kennedy, James R. Stevens

Edition illustrated

Publisher McClelland and Stewart, 1972

ISBN 0771045107, 9780771045103

Page 57

Frank Ellis, O.C., a noted aviation historian, Canada’s first parachute jumper and aviation pioneer who flew his own biplane in 1914 wrote several articles about GIBSON:

[20] Gibson, William Wallace. “William Wallace Gibson; a Canadian pioneer of the air by Frank H. Ellis, in The British Columbia Historical Quarterly, April, 1944.

[21] – Flash in the sky boy, by Frank H. Ellis, in Western Wings, July-August 1960.

[22] ” Ellis, Frank. “First Flying wing; the story of an attempt to conquer the air made by three ingenious farmers of Alberta in 1907-8, The Beaver, outfit 277 (March 1977), 6-9. illus.”

[23] Ellis, Frank. “Pioneer flying in British Columbia, The British Columbia Historical Quarterly, III (October 1939), 227-261.”

William Wallace Gibson: A Canadian Pioneer of the Air

[24] A biography

Author Frank Ellis

Published 1946-45

held at the City of Vancouver Archives

[25] Additionally, the Saanich Archives has a Gibson Displayset up honouring the achievements of William Wallace Gibson’s first flight at “George Deans’ farm near Mount Tolme.”[9] The photograph of the cairn and plaque erected at Landsdowne and Richmond roads in 1985 at Landsdowne Airfield. This commemoration came twenty years posthumously.

[26] Coming in On a Wing and Some Wire

The Montreal Gazetter
March 9, 1968

[27] AS well, Partners in Motion produced an episode “The Balgonie Birdman” for the one hour documentary series, The Canadians, Biographies of a Nation which aired on History Television NOvember 15, 1998.

[28] “The Balgonie Birdman”, a nine minute animation feature film, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, was directed by Brian Duchscherer and released in 1991.

[29] Photographs exist attesting to the achievements of W.W. GIBSON at the Glenbow archives. An image of his aircraft engine on display at the National Air Museum, Ottawa, Ontario, and his wooden plane built in Victoria, British Columbia, 1911.

[30] Also a photo exists of the very first airplane built in Regina, Saskatchewan by William Wallace Gibson in 1907.

[31] A photo (#8551) of the GIBSON twin plane is held at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum

[32] On September 10, 2010, the B.C. Aviation Museum honoured the 100th Anniversary of Flight in Victoria B.C., (100 years Gibson’s flight) reported Bill Irvine, the event was hosted by Caroline Duncin of the Saanich archives, and Dave Marratt was the master of Ceremonies.

[33] Saturday July 17, 1948 a Canadian Press story entitled “Inducted into Cree tribe as Great Chief Piapot,” published by the Lethbridge Herald.

[34] The 1952 edition of The Beaver published by the Hudson’s Bay Company with contributions from Hudson’s Bay Company, Canada’s National History Society, quoting the Canadian Press Induction into Cree Tribe story first published in Regina on July 17, 1948

[35] Induction Ceremony Story published by the Winnipeg Free Press Page 2, Friday August 6, 1948.

 

________________________________________________________________________________

For more information:

Saskatchewan Gen Web Ethnic History – Scottish Roots

Saskatchewan Gen Web – Transportation

Yorkton Gen Web Region

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Related Posts:

•The Era of Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouses

•Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

•How did pioneers travel to their prairie homesteads?
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Saskatchewan ~ From Many People’s Strength ~ Answers to Quiz

8 Aug

4U2NV 1957 Rambler Automobile

The birth of a province is remarkable. Stories, events and people shape and mold the history. This quiz focused on just a very few of the pioneers, both men and women who shaped the province. The times almost passed from memory are remembered within the pages of history. When the vast North West Territories divided and the inaugural inception of the province of Saskatchewan in the Dominion of Canada started its evolution. Recalled here are just a very few of the profound and powerful events and people that helped to shape the transformation of the province since its birth on September 1, 2005; 107 years ago.

Test your knowledge at the Quiz only page first, before peeking at the answers below! 🙂

Answers.

1. Amongst its various nicknames, The City of Bridges, The Hub City, POW City, and Paris of the Prairies, which city is referred to?

Saskatoon, the province’s largest city also has the nicknames of Toontown and S’toon.

2. Regina is the provincial capital city, what was its earlier nick name?

Along Wascana Creek shorelines were large piles of Buffalo Bones giving rise to the moniker Pile of Bones the first name of the settlement later called Regina.

3. What is the name of the Crown corporation formed in the year, 2000?

Information Services Corporation (ISC) is a provincial Crown corporation responsible for Saskatchewan registries such as the administration of land titles, vital statistics, surveys, personal property and corporate registries, and related geographic information.

4. Name one of the very first naval engagements which involved the Canadian forces.

The North-West Rebellion (or the North-West Resistance, Saskatchewan Rebellion, Northwest Uprising, or Second Riel Rebellion) occurred in Saskatchewan. The Battle of Batoche saw the advance of the the North-West Mounted Police riflemen aboard the riverboat Northcote on May 9, 1885. Métis under Gabriel Dumont and Louis Riel lowered Batoche’s ferry cable which clipped off the steamer’s smokestacks and masts.
5. Where was the first “University of Saskatchewan” incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1883?

Emmanuel Colldge or Rugby Chapel was founded by Right Reverend John McLean as a “training College for Native Helpers” in Prince Albert. Incorporated in 1883 as the “University of Saskatchewan”. McLean passed away in 1886, and the college reverted to an Indian school under Tr. Rev. W.C. Pinkham and the next successor, Rt. Rev. J.A. Newnham sought to revive the University charter in 1906, however the Hon. Walter Scott, a Liberal party leader sought to establish a University as part of his 1905 election campaign. President Walter Murray of Dalhousie University, Halifzs and a Board of Governors chose the site from applications from Battleford, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert,Regina, and Saskatoon. Saskatoon became the University City of the Province by vote on April 7, 1909. Murray, Jean E. The Contest for the University of Saskatchewan”Saskatchewan History. Vol XII, NO. 1. Winter, 1959. Saskatchewan Archives Board. University of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. pp 1-22.
Murray, Jean .E. Early HIstory of Emmanuel College.. Saskatchewan History. Vol. IX NO. 3 Autumn 1956. Saskatchewan Archives Board. University of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. pp 1-101.

6. Who was Canada’s first commercially licensed aviation pilot?
Lieutenant Roland J. Groome received his commercial pilot licence on July 31, 1920 allowing him to fly Curtiss airplanes under Canada’s first registration numbers; G-CAAAA. McCaig J.W., Chairman. Roland J. Groome. the Saskatchewanians. Saskatchewan Diamond Jubilee and Canada Centennial Corporation. 14967. p.52

7. Would prairie fires, sickness, neighbourhood rivalry be included as a part of the Saskatchewan Homestead Record files? True or False.

True. A homesteader who applied for a quarter section of land needed to perform homesteader “duties”; six month’s residence in three consecutive years, and cultivate a minimum of thirty acres of land during this time along with erecting a house. The basic documents show not only the application for homestead entry, but also the correspondence written between the settler and the Department of Interior relating to the homestead regulations including drought, illness, death in the family, prairie fires, crop failures and any other problems which may have arisen. Rodwell, Lloyd. Saskatchewan HOmestead Records. Saskatchewan History. Vol. XVIII Winter 1965. Number 1. Saskatchewan Archives Board. University of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. pp 10-29.

8. Following the First World War (1914-1918), returning soldiers had to be re-settled in Canada what program was put into effect?

The Soldier’s Settlement Act of 1917 was passed offering veterans loans of $2,500 to acquire livestock and farming equipment or to assist in paying off existing farm loans. The revision passed in 1919 allowed those of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, allied forces Canadian residents to apply for assistance to purchase soldier settlement lands, buildings, stock and / or equipment. In Saskatchewan over 5,000 soldier settlers had taken part in the programme by 1920. Morgan, E.C. Soldier Settlement in the Prairie Provinces. Saskatchewan History. Vol. XXI Spring 1968. Number 2. Saskatchewan Archives Board. University of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. pp 415-5.
9. On March 27, 1883 Regina became the capital of the North-West Territories. Before this which two placenames had been the territorial capital (both within the area now known as Saskatchewan)?
Battleford was chosen as the North-West territories capital in 1876, though the first session of government council was held in the Swan River Police Barracks at Livingstone near Fort Pelly. Archer, John, H. “The Testing Time”. Saskatchewan A History. 1981. Western Producer Prairie Books. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. ISBN 0-88833-2 pa. 0-8833-6 bd. 9964. pp.64 66.

10. When did schooling change from Hudson Bay Company sponsored missionaries established by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches to each provincial and territorial government?

The North-West Territories Act of 1875 allowed for the establishment of a public school if the majority of taxpayers desired one, and further, a separate school could be erected, either Protestant or Roman Catholic, may then subsequently erected if desired by a minority of ratepayers. Archer, John, H. “Blueporints of the Morrow”. Saskatchewan A History. 1981. Western Producer Prairie Books. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. ISBN 0-88833-2 pa. 0-8833-6 bd. p.65.
Scharf, M.P. Historical Overview of the Organization of Education in Saskatchewan Ed. Noonan, Brian, Hallman, Dianne, Scharf, Murray. A history of Education in SAskatchewan: Selected Readings. 2006. University of Regina. Canadian Plains Research Centre.
11. Who was Saskatchewan’s first woman Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) who successfully achieved the demarcation of historical sites throughout the province?

Mrs. Magnus O. Ramsland ran in the Pelly, Saskatchewan consituency 1919-1925. She thoroughly upheld that a “nation without a history is like a man without a memory” and was instrumental in getting historic sites across the province remembered. McCaig J.W., Chairman. RMrs. Magnus O. Ramsland the Saskatchewanians. Saskatchewan Diamond Jubilee and Canada Centennial Corporation. 14967. p.52

12. In 1873 the “Cypress Hills Massacre” instigated a group of men to gather for “The Great March” acting on the motto “Maintiens Le Droit” (Uphold the Right) What was the name of this column of men on horseback?

The North West Mounted Police post at Fort Walsh was constructed in 1875 following The March West. Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald’s recommendation of a North-West Mounted Police force was established upholding Canadian law and order and quelling “American lawlessness” in the North West Territories. Knight, Lowry R. Barnett, Don C. The North West Mounted Police. Saskatchewan A People and A Province. University of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon. Fitzhenry and Whiteside Limited. P. 46-47

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Celebrating Saskatchewan’s Heritage Artifact Quiz ~Saskatoon Public Schools

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Saskatchewan From Many People’s Strength ~ A Birthday Quiz

8 Aug

Peaches and Cream ~ Spring Avens

Saskatchewan’s birthday celebration arrives on September 1. On September 1, 1905, Saskatchewan became a province, with inaugural celebrations held September 4. September 1, 2005 was the 100th anniversary of our province, and in 2012 we carry on the tradition with the 107th anniversary celebration!

Who were some of the people within the Saskatchewan communities? What were some of the local histories and events? The provincial motto Multis e gentibus vires is Latin meaning “From Many Peoples Strength.” If you were to delve into the history of the province of Saskatchewan what questions would you ask? What questions would you form about the people and its residents?

Here is a short quiz centering upon the province of Saskatchewan, its people culture and formation.

1. Amongst its various nicknames, The City of Bridges, The Hub City, POW City, and Paris of the Prairies, which city is referred to?

2. Regina is the provincial capital city, what was its earlier nick name?

3. What is the name of the Crown corporation formed in the year, 2000?

4. Name one of the very first naval engagements which involved the Canadian forces.

5. Where was the first “University of Saskatchewan” incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1883?

6. Who was Canada’s first commercially licensed aviation pilot?

7. Would prairie fires, sickness, neighbourhood rivalry be included as a part of the Saskatchewan Homestead Record files? True or False.

8. Following the First World War (1914-1918), returning soldiers had to be re-settled in Canada what program was put into effect?

9. On March 27, 1883 Regina became the capital of the North-West Territories. Before this which two placenames had been the territorial capital (both within the area now known as Saskatchewan)?

10. When did schooling change from Hudson Bay Company sponsored missionaries established by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches to each provincial and territorial government?

11. Who was Saskatchewan’s first woman Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) who successfully achieved the demarcation of historical sites throughout the province?

12. In 1873 the “Cypress Hills Massacre” instigated a group of men to gather for “The Great March” acting on the motto “Maintiens Le Droit” (Uphold the Right) What was the name of this column of men on horseback?

________________________________________________________________________________

Related links:

Saskatchewan Quiz

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Celebrating Saskatchewan’s Heritage Artifact Quiz ~Saskatoon Public Schools

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Uncovering Historical Census and Cemetery Records ~ Answers to Quiz 2

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Passionate Embrace ~ Pink Rose by Julia Adamson

Follow me on Word Press, Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, Live Journal, Sask Gen Web Ancestry.com and Flickriver

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