Tag Archives: ancestry

How the Right Genealogical Plan can Lead To the Joy of Discovery

13 Jul

The Joys of Research

The Enthusiasm of Discovery

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Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests, and mines, and stone quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors. – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Every family tree has a root, a home, a person a starting point. From this starting point, the tree fans out with all its branches back into time. Does it not follow “inevitably that every father had a father, and so on. In fact,” said Michael Shaara in Man of Distinction, “when you considered the matter rightly, everyone alive was the direct descendant of untold numbers of fathers, down through the ages, all descending, one after another, father to son. And so backward, unquestionably, into the unrecognizable and perhaps simian fathers of the past.”

“It will not require much space to indicate the main sources of information in genealogical research. Having decided to trace back our own lines, we naturally turn first to the living members of our family. If we have parents living and accessible,—grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-aunts, cousins, or others who are likely to know more about the family than we do,—let us consult them, personally if we may, by letter if we must,” begins Frank Allaban when introducing “Concerning Genealogy” and ancestral hunting.

“Special attention is also called to the radically different plans for genealogical works, one tracing the many descendants of a common ancestor, the other tracing the many ancestors of a common descendant. There is a general drift toward the latter, many having discovered the fascination of exploring their direct lines of descent.”

“The moment of first hearing the facts, when the joy of discovery and the satisfaction of making progress are upon us, is the psychological moment for making our notes. It is a positive delight while the fever of enthusiasm is high. As our informant begins his story, let us interrupt with the cry of the enthusiast, “I must jot that down!” Out comes our notebook, conveying to our friend a very distinct impression of the importance of being accurate. He collects himself, and proceeds to give his facts and traditions with the greatest care. As we stop him with questions, or take time to write the facts, his memory is stimulated. With skillful questions the genealogical worker can draw out all the information, taking care to cover every point which may come up later.”

“Furthermore, while we may be able to find our way back from generation to generation with almost ridiculous ease in some cases, such luck is usually too good to last. It is a rare vein which yields family connections at every stroke of the genealogical spade, and one such line may have to console us for a number which we mine slowly and painfully, and for some others which yield no results whatever beyond a certain point.”

“We will suppose that at last the task of investigation has come to an end. We have run our family lines back as far as our plan contemplated, or as far as we were able to do with a reasonable amount of research. Perhaps most of them go back to the original emigrants, but it may be that in a case or two we have had the good fortune to make connection with an old family stem in Europe. In any case, the work is now done. We have made our discoveries, and scored triumphs not a few. But though the excitement of the chase is over, its pleasures are by no means spent. Is there no story to tell, no tale of our difficulties and exploits? Next to the exhilaration of the hunt itself, what can compare with the mellow joy of going over it with a comrade! Least of all can the “inevitable narrative” be spared in a case of ancestry-hunting. It is the logical issue of the search, and failure to weave our facts into a readable story, after having collected them, is almost unthinkable,”

“A truly interesting genealogical work is not a dry compilation of family statistics, but contains striking biographical pen pictures. Let these be made as complete as possible, and the story told with all the interest we can throw into it. We believe that the ideal genealogy is yet to be written, and that it will present facts with the accuracy of a Bancroft, but clothe them with the charm of an Irving. What possibilities there are” are these not the Joys of Research as expounded by Frank Allaban

However to set down the story for future generations the work must contain the proofs of the statements made. An imperative sorting in any historical biography contained in the family tree must need quote the authorities and provide systematic footnotes, and also citations of authorities in the text. The result is that there is no guess as to the opinion or motivation of compiler in giving us the fruit of original research, it is quite well established whether the biography, then, is an extract from another compilation, a part of oral tradition, or a mere conjecture put forward by the collective family memory.

Every leaf in the family tree begins with a name, it is with this moniker that the individual is thus introduced and thus their legend also starts. What whisper, what expression, what libretto will the name reveal? The name is thus a beginning of who they are, like the title of a new adventure story. The family historian has a bird’s eye view from his vantage point in the future to see why this ancestor existed. What role this ancestor played in the family, within the community by their words and by their deeds. The genealogist presenting the family tree to the world at a family reunion or compiled book is tasked with a considerable and significant responsibility. Like the title of a book, the narrative behind the name of each ancestor within the family tree is dependent upon the account and testimony of the genealogist and the validity of the sources relied upon.

We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted. Each of us contains within this inheritance of soul. We are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise. – Edward Sellner

Note The new provincial Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk in the meanwhile please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/

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Boost your research!

29 Jun

How does the genealogist go about locating historical information?

 How do they conduct their research?

The genealogist can, indeed, provide the family with a sense of identity, purpose, and understanding of how their family and ancestors grew shaped their community.  Genealogists may wish to record the family’s evolution and record their achievements.

The genealogist will receive both written and unwritten stories and sources.  They will necessarily be part historian and part biographer, since they must be able to explain how the family set down roots, developed their character, and chose the roads and trails which they did.  The genealogist must explore how the ancestral family earned their livelihood, while at the same time explore how the family played, learned, developed, changed and grew through their art, education, religion, ethnic society, etc.  The genealogist needs to embrace the historical aspect of the era, the impact of the rail line on a local community, or the force of the industrial revolution with cars, combines, trucks and roads.  Finally the genealogist must also be a sociologist as they reconstruct the life and society in the local community of the ancestral family.

man wearing black and white stripe shirt looking at white printer papers on the wall
Revitalize your genealogical fieldwork.  (Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com)  Invigorate your ancestral tree inquiry

Exploring these factors will allow available sources to systematically unfold before the genealogist,  The family member origins, growth, and decisions all play a vital role during the evolution of a family in the context of the past, and similarly help the genealogist complete a family tree with unique aspects.

As the genealogist compiles a timeline of the ancestral family, various events occur to shape the character of each individual in history.  By contemplating this timeline decisions can be made as to whether to pursue a census record for further clarification, or perhaps a military record might show light on another individual.  By delving into the personality of the individual it can be ascertained if their achievements may have been recorded in the local newspaper, or archived in municipal or court records.

Thus, genealogical research receives a boost when the researcher supports the birth, marriage and death certificates with a picture of the ancestor and their personal sense of purpose, and desires.  The ancestor comes to light when their decision to immigrate shows up in passenger lists.  Delving into travel on that particular passenger ship they travelled upon gives further clarification of the kind of trip they experienced.  Exploring the weather in various seasons helps to understand how travel may have been enhanced or been a challenge if the trip was taken in a winter or summer month.  Use your own imagination and Imagine how they felt, and it may provide a stepping stone to another direction in the genealogical quest.  Would it be perhaps fortuitous to explore hospital records if the trip was taken to remediate an illness?  When the passenger ship arrived, how did the next leg of the journey begin to arrive at the set destination?  How did they cross North America if the passenger ship arrived in New York?  Would ancestors arriving Pier 21 Halifax, Nova Scotia have a different journey to arrive at their destination?  If they arrived in winter time to the “Last Best West” where did they live?  Were there hotels in that era?

Ask questions about the ancestral life apart from when and where your great great uncle was born, and died.  Contemplate the role of your great great great grandmother, look up the history of the land, the weather patterns, local events that happened the year she got married.  Continue to ask questions which will lead to more answers and more sources of information.  What facilities and support did she have to give birth?  Describe what you have learned to fellow researchers and explore information in archives, libraries, museums, local history books, and newspapers.  By growing the biographical timeline of your ancestral, you will boost your genealogical research capability.

Note The new Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk while waiting please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/

Should Genealogy Research be Conducted Scientifcally?

22 Jun

Inside these brick walls

How do we observe our family history?

Genealogy comes from two roots; Logy to speak, or to pick out words when speaking for a treatise, discourse, science or doctrine.  The second root of Genealogy has root in the  Latin genealogia meaning “tracing of a family and the Greek genealogia; “the making of a pedigree.”  Genealogy; therefore is speaking out about the family history.

Science, on the other hand, is a word which comes from the Latin root scientia from scire “to know.” It is important to examine how we, as genealogists, “know.”

Genealogists seek by careful and deliberate reasoning determine quantitative data, and come to know an ancestor’s time of birth, marriage and death, place they were born, worked, moved to, lived and died, whom they married, how many children they raised, and how large a family they descended from.  Names, places and times are all quantitative data which can be found scientifically in primary source documents such as birth, marriage and death certificates, wills, obituaries, etc.

Genealogists must know how to separate scientific facts from historical observations, attributes and social phenomena.  Is qualitative data  also a vital component of social research?  Qualitative data forms the basis for social and ethical research and procedure.

Recording names, dates, and places brings together a family unit rather as a census enumerator fills in the census questionnaire.  However, the family genealogist must be aware of deductive theories which may arise from oral history and provide an amazing discovery of an event or about a person verifiable in archival documentation.

And yet on the other hand, an inductive theory is using a specific observation and forming a general pattern or deduction.  Observing the birth dates in a family and comparing these to marriage dates is a specific observation.  Would deductions and conclusions inferred from these date comparisons be based on societal norms in the contemporary era, or would these deductions and conclusions be the same from the context of history in the explanation of events.  Would inductive theories lead the genealogist astray, or help the researcher to further sources of knowledge?  Ethical situations arise – historical ancestor hand in hand with the genealogist-when it comes to skeletons found in the family tree.  Perhaps the brick wall went up in the face of the genealogist’s research because of facts the ancestral family tried to leave hidden or at best “not spoken about.”

As times and eras change, those events not spoken about in previous generations are not embarrassing social attributes in this day of age as society has evolved and accepted those events in contemporary discourse.  However, each family reacts differently to the presentations made by the family genealogist.

Genealogy has two main purposes therefore, describing and explaining the family tree.  It is wise to discern facts from variables, generalized accounts and theories.  Genealogists need to step back and examine their motivation to delve into family research, is it to make sense of the past, and the family legacy, or is it to gain knowledge and grow the family tree descendant chart as far back in lineage as is possible?  The genealogist who speaks out for the family ancestry at the next reunion may wish to bring the knowledge they have acquired and make a positive difference and impact on the current and future generations.

Note The new Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk while waiting please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/

7 Big Things Genealogists Must Know to Succeed

15 Jun

Why are some family memories remembered through the ages and not other events?

How will your genealogical research introduce your ancestral family?

woman sitting on sofa while looking at phone with laptop on lap

Genealogy Research, family ancestry. (Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com)

  1. Start with what is known and work towards the unknown!  It is very easy to begin genealogical research interviewing family members with a well thought out questionnaire seeking names, places, dates and any ancedotes or history.  Further research into primary and secondary source documents provides further direction, filling out the outline started in the family interviews.  As the genealogist delves deep into the past, it is still mandatory to look at what is known, and seek the documentation about that which is known, hoping that a birth certificate provides the heretofore unknown parental names, birth place, and time of birth, an interment record provides the previously unknown relationship and next of kin arranging the burial, or perhaps a marriage certificate besides providing the names of both spouse and groom, the date and place of marriage also registers the parent names.  As each document is located, another opening is made in the brick wall, and research continues.
  2. Organize your data very well, including what paths, and sources you have already had communication with, both successfully and unsuccessfully finding fruit in the research.  Using the Saskatchewan Gen Web internet resources or the assistance of a genealogy society will prove very fruitful if the genealogy researcher can provide a good synopsis of the branch of the family tree.  For example, if your oral interviews or an historic letter have placed your grandfather as a teacher in a one room school in Saskatchewan, pass on all the relevant information pertinent to Saskatchewan to enable your contact to make further progress.  Include with the ancestor name any known nick names, before and after marriage name changes, or spelling differences found thus far in the surname.  Providing a date of birth helps to determine the era of teaching, and saves time not searching records for a teacher who would have only been five years old at the time.  Any historic place names, whether one room school house district names, village, towns or Rural Municipality names help to locate further sources and references which may offer up clues.
  3. Think outside the box.  Not all early pioneers registered births, deaths and marriages, particularly before 1920.  Obituaries, so very handy in contemporary times, were also not as popularly used when pioneers were proving up homesteads, or hunters were chasing down buffalo.  Would other records have further clues to work on?  Family bible records, church records, land records, school yearbooks, funeral home registers, naturalization records may also present the genealogist with more information.
  4. Focus in on the date and era your ancestor would have been living. Research the history of the place they were living at the time.  Pay attention to correlations between historical events which happened in the lifespan of your ancestor.  For example, would they have been the right age to serve in World War I (1914 –1918), World War II (1939 –1945) or any other miliitary event?  Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior for the Dominion of Canada started a massive immigration programme to the “Last Best West” encouraging over three million people to arrive in Canada between 1891–1914.  Would have your ancestor been part of this immigration scheme? And have immigration, naturalization, land settlement records been searched?  Metis/Half Breed families were offered Scrip as compensation for aboriginal rights which were the catalyst of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion.  Have the National Archives records been investigated?
  5. Where did your ancestor set down roots when starting their family?   If the family lived in one locale for an extended period of time earning a living, attending school, and partaking in social events, there may be a plethora of records to investigate.  1955 school Jubilee record books may list the pupils of the school and their family. 75th provincial anniversary local history books compiled in 1981 may show the involvement of the family as they settled in Saskatchewan.  Church groups, legions and ethnic societies are other potential sources of information.  Universities have archives holding records about those in attendance, municipalities likewise retain holdings of persons in office for towns, villages and rural municipalites.
  6. Consider the accent of your ancestor.  Before 1920, many of those enumerated on the census could not read or write English.  The enumerator entered the name phonetically as best they could from what they heard spoken before them.  Consider how you would spell the name. Search the entire census district if family was sure the ancestor lived in that area, but the name is not coming up.  Perhaps the given names of the entire family and their ages will help to determine if a surname spelling variation is a match for your records and information thus far.
  7. Contemplate the current occupation of family members and ancestral occupations.  Quite often sons will follow in the occupations undertaken by their fathers.  The Henderson’s directories record resident names, addresses and their occupations in a specific location.  Brand books are other directories of cattle owners who registered their cattle brands in the province.  Both the early Hendersons’ directories and historic brand books are coming online.  Homesteaders who proved up their land successfully, may still have ancestors farming on the “century farm”.  Land records can be searched for those immigrants who applied for a land patent through the Saskatchewan land titles office, and letters of patent are land records for the successful farmer who proved up their land.  Letters of patent for land ownership were issued by the Dominion government of Canada.

Good luck with your family research!  The internet can indeed prove to be a help in locating long lost cousins, and transcribed, scanned or photographed documentation.  If you have found fruitful information document your source, in case it may be handy in tracing another family member at a later date in your family research.  A great way to document information from the internet is in a bibliographic style.  Author name Last, F. M. (Year, Month Date Published). Article title.  Web site name. Retrieved from URL.  Date retrieved.  Please don’t assume that if an historic document is scanned online, that makes the digital copy in the public domain.  The original paper document may have been published years ago placing the paper document in the public domain, however the digital documentation starts its date of publication when the digital version came online unless the publishers expressly state otherwise.  If you place public domain information online yourself, include supporting documentation and corresponding bibliographies for both copyright and paraphrased source materials.  Protect the rights of the living, and don’t break privacy laws when sharing your family tree information.

Be willing to think creatively, and discover the history, heritage, and ethnic background of your ancestors beyond their name, dates, and place of living.  Your family tree has the capability to develop into an exciting and rewarding experience with a preservation of the constitution and character of your family with rich ancedotes and colour.  Genealogists have different motivations to get started in family tree research. Ofttimes the family historian takes on the preparation of a family tree for a reunion, or perhaps to preserve the story before the family legacy is gone and forgotten about.  The genealogist is not just a data entry clerk focusing solely on those all important facts -names, years, places-, a genealogist also understands history, and the interactions of family members and the society where they lived, worked and played.  By asking the right questions, the genealogist provides the ancestral family with achievements, milestones, and a unique character and identity.

Note The new provincial Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk in the meanwhile please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/

Locating Saskatchewan Ancestors together

15 Jun

Genealogy in Saskatchewan

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Family tree research hints and tips for the province of Saskatchewan

The primary purpose and function of RootsWeb.com is to connect people so that they can help each other and share genealogical research. A common genweb goal is the collection and distribution of genealogical data on the Web. The role of the Saskatchewan GenWeb Project is to assist researchers in locating this information, as well as to add to the existing online data. SaskGenWeb is the gateway linking to the provincial resources & regional GenWeb’s.
If you are researching your family tree in Saskatchewan check out the new https://saskgenweb.site123.me/ Sask Gen Web  Genealogy frequently asked questions regarding Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse Project, Saskatchewan Cemetery Project, Saskatchewan Genealogy resources, look ups, and much more,

Saskatchewan Genealogy Services

Saskatchewan mailing lists, query boards, Saskatchewan regional maps, look up volunteers, genealogy in Saskatchewan research guidance, Saskatchewan Genealogy Resources, hints, tips, and how tos.

What we believe in

Preserving and celebrating the rich history of the province of Saskatchewan for genealogists and historians.
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Connecting to cousins in Saskatchewan, how to get past genealogy brick walls.

Saskatchewan Census News Release

6 Feb

The Time of His Life

Saskatchewan Census News Release

It is truly an exciting time for genealogists and historians researching roots in Canada, as public record keeping which began in pre-confederation times, and in the early years of Canada can now be released to the general public.

Census records provide invaluable information to the genealogical researcher. A primary source record when gives the family members in relation to the head of the family, the address. The agricultural census provides a look at land holdings and livestock to get an idea how a homesteader was faring proving up his land in the early twentieth century.

The census taken every ten years between 1851 to 1911 have been indexed and offered online at ancestry.com. Searchable as well is the census of western Canada taken in 1906 and 1916. This was part of a project initiated in 2008 when the Library and Archives Canada partnered up with Ancestry.ca Additionally the historical census are also searchable online via Ancestry.com covering the era between 1851-1916.

The original holdings of the census or the primary source records are at the Library and Archives Canada. To search for a particular family or surname, the census originals on the LAC web site are arranged by Federal enumeration district. To determine the district you can search for the land location through the homestead (land) records, by reading a local history / family biography book, the census records transcribed on automated genealogy, using a rural municipality or historical map to determine township, range and meridian, searchable database, finding the cemetery, birth, death or marriage (bmd) record which would record the place of residence

Ancestry.ca took it upon themselves to digitize and index the microfilm records in the LAC holdings. At some time the complete digitized records will be available free of charge to visitors of the LAC website. At this time, the Census of the Northwest Provinces, 1906 is fully searchable on Library and Archives Canada by surname, given name, age and province.

When using the census for other years at Library and Archives Canada to locate an ancestral family, a knowledge of historical geography will be of assistance. Saskatchewan became a province in 1905, and before this the population was enumerated as part of the Northwest Territories. In 1882 the Northwest Territories were divided into provisional districts using distinct and different borders than the current provinces.

To determine other Saskatchewan census information and web sites online, a collection is assembled at the Saskatchewan Gen Web Census Information web page. This web page includes the Census for the Hamlet of Insinger, Saskatchewan taken in 1921, the Census for the Hamlet of Duff, Saskatchewan 1920, as well as the Census for the Hamlet of Duff, Saskatchewan 1920 which were compiled online by Sue (Kesiah).

Provincial archives additionally have a number of other village and town census records. These records done on the years when the National census was not being taken were compiled to determine the localities eligibility to incorporate as a town and the need to show the pre-requisite population of 500 or more residents. If a town, the locality may choose to incorporate as a city with a population of 5,000 or more persons, if the census count so warrants.

Public libraries have on file the census 1666-1916 available on microfilm or can obtain it via interlibrary loan if they have a microfilm reader. Along with the Census of Canada, the 1918 Census of Independent Doukhobors: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia compiled into a finding aid by Jonathon Kalmakoff is available through the provincial archives and libraries.

“Library and Archives Canada is pleased to be part of this collaborative agreement with Ancestry.ca, which” said Mr. Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, “…will truly enhance Canadians’ ability to fully explore their documentary heritage and will also be of great interest to those around the world with ancestors who immigrated to or visited Canada.”

“This is a win-win relationship for Library and Archives Canada and Ancestry.ca as the partnership,” says Josh Hanna, Senior VP, Ancestry International reports, “…will create a seamless flow for digitizing and indexing vast Canadian records and will be a huge benefit to family history researchers in Canada who will soon have the opportunity to access more collections than ever before.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints also partnered with Ancestry.com providing the expertise, experience and person hours in the indexing of the 1916 census. Family Search now provides the 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, and 1916 census online . The
1911
census is in the Family History libraries.

First partnering with the LAC back in 2008 in regards to the census, now Ancestry.com is partnering with the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society. Look toward the addition of the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Indexes in 2013 to the Ancestry.com Canadian collections.

The Library and Archives Canada has indeed become “your gateway to Canadian’s past.” It is with pleasure and inspiration to see the several diverse communities and organizations come together to share the information in the new digital age. Enjoy the new records being released which provide an insight into diverse peoples and settlers. The information reveals a fascinating insight into Saskatchewan’s rich agricultural history and multicultural heritage. ~ Article written by J. Adamson

Further Information:

Census Information

Saskatchewan History and Ethnic Roots

1919 Alberta, Saskatchewan Manitoba Waghorn’s Guide

1925 Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba Waghorn’s Guide

Gazetteer of U.S. and Canadian Railroads 1922

Saskatchewan Highway Map 1925

Rand McNally 1924 Indexed Pocket Map

Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Maps 1924

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Bibliography:

Archives Canada Directory of Selected Genealogical Resources.

Canadian Census Collection 1997-2013 Ancestry.com

Censuses of Canada 1851, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1906, 1911 and 1916. Library and Archives Canada.

The Historical Canadian Census Collection 1851-1916 ~ Ancestry.com 1997-2013 Ancestry.com

Library and Archives Canada Partners with Ancestry.ca ~ What’s New ~ Library and Archives Canada Partnership allows unprecedented online access to Canadian historical records.
2008-11-10

Saskatchewan Gen Web Project ~ Census

What to Search Topics: Genealogy and Family History ~ Library and Archives Canada 2011-08-22.

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Related posts:

Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

The Era of Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouses

How did pioneers travel to their prairie homesteads?

Where were Saskatchewan Homesteads Located?

How do I locate my ancestor’s home town in Saskatchewan? Have you ever visited your ancestral home?

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Thank you for stopping by, your comments are much appreciated. All rights reserved. Images copyright © Aum Kleem; Article copyright © J Adamson. All my images and text are protected under international authors copyright laws and Canadian photography laws and may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without my written explicit permission. They may be licensed through Getty images. Peace and love be with you. Namaste.

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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.

 

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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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How did Saskatchewan Pioneers Homestead?

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How did Saskatchewan Pioneers Homestead

“Those years were hard,” the farmer said to me,
And hardened lines then deepened round his eyes,
Which narrowed like he read each memory
From chalky scrawls that streaked the prairie skies,” Byron Anderson

“The early settlers to the prairies were from Sweden, France, England, Ireland, Germany and the Ukraine,” recalled the Kelliher Historical Society in Reflections: Kelliher Jasmin District, “They came by way of the Touchwood and Carlton trails or to the end of the rails then overland until they found their particular area or homestead….These people came …on foot, by ox teams or horses on wagons, buckboards or squealing Red River carts.”

Railway, government and land agents distributed advertising encouraging immigration to and settlement of the “Last Best West“. The Canadian Government established the Dominion Lands Act / Homestead Act in 1872 similar to the United States of America’s Homestead Act of 1862 and its policy and regulations passed under President Abraham Lincoln .

Commencing July 10, 1871, the survey system established the township model granting the Canadian Pacific Railway odd numbered sections twenty four miles on either side of the rail tracks extending across the plains. The survey system expanded to the area now known as Saskatchewan in 1877. Besides railway lands, land administration set aside block settlement land grants which were made available to ethnic groups, various Land Colonization Companies, Soldier Settlement Grants, South African (Boer War) Scrip, North West Mounted Police Bounty, school lands (sections 11 and 29), and Hudson Bay lands (sections 8 and 26).

Surveyors would place survey monuments at the intersections of sections in a township grid. An immigrant after traveling for weeks across the ocean on their steamship, would disembark and travel as far west as possible via rail, then commence across the North West Territories to the prairie country where they wished to settle. First arrivals would seek soil conditions similar to their home country so that their agricultural tools and methods would provide the greatest chance of success. Later immigrants would seek lands near the first homesteader from their family or town.

To find an available quarter section to homestead, persons roamed across the grasslands searching for an iron post set approximately every mile apart set in the centre of four pits three feet square and eighteen inches deep. In the center of each section would be a wooden post demarking the quarter-section corner. Allowances  were made for roads and correction lines

Upon finding the land, the pioneer would thence travel to the land titles office to file an Application for Homestead Patent, often standing in line ups. In the first three decades of the 1900s, there were 303,000 homestead applications. However, before dry land farming techniques were established, three out of very four homesteaders failed, filed a Declaration of Abandonment and moved away.

Basically Homestead Entry for a quarter section (160 acres) of surveyed land could be had by any person who was the sole head of the family or a male reaching twenty one years of age on payment of a $10 application fee. The age was thereafter dropped in subsequent revisions to 18 and allowed provisions for younger males already head of a family. The first Dominions Lands Act of 1872 only allowed those women to receive a homestead who could prove their status as the head of the household as widows, divorcees or abandoned wives with family to support.

With this protocol of land application out of the way, the pioneer had to “Prove up the Land“. Again, the regulations changed over the years, the homestead duties of 1904 required residence upon the land, and cultivation of the land each year during the term of three years. Settlers would need to break the land, clear the land, and make improvements such as buildings and fencing.

The land would need to be first cleared of trees and rocks before the land could be tilled. Stone boats were employed behind horse, oxen or mule team to pull large rocks from the land. Stone houses, schools, fences were occasional uses of prairie fieldstones. In the 1880s and ’90s, getting access to construction materials was not easy because there were few railways and the roadways weren’t conducive to easily hauling lumber,” said construction historian “Frank Korvemaker. Trees, scarce as they were, were invaluable as winter fuel, for construction material, for tent framework or as a foundation for thatched roofs on sod houses before a log home could be constructed.  Tree roots in the field were pulled by oxen or horses.

The earliest pioneers employed hand tools to break the land. The axe, hoe, pickaxe, spade or shovel were utilised to clear and turn over the soil. Following the shovel, a hand rake was used to smooth the surface and break up clumps of soil.

The first crops to be seeded were Red Fife Wheat which needed a longer growing season than the northern Great Plains provided. In 1909 Marquis Wheat was available. Red Fife wheat crossed with Hard Red Calcutta produced Marquis wheat which matured 7-10 days earlier than Red Fife, and had a more phenomenal yield than Hard Red Calcutta. Wheat growing expanded, and farmers met with greater success in the shorter growing season.

Besides wheat, farmers also tilled alfalfa, flax, sunflower, corn for fodder, oats, and winter rye. Mixed farming ensured food for the family, a milk cow provided dairy products, chickens laid eggs, pigs and cattle were slaughtered for meat.

Before winter came, a dwelling was required to fend off the cold and blizzards. A “soddy” or sod house may be erected by cutting sod bricks with a plow into rectangles two feet long, one foot wide and between four to six inches thick which were stacked one upon the other to form the walls. Pioneers made the walls stronger by cutting central slits in the root mass, stacking the bricks alternately widthwise then lengthwise or stacking the sod bricks with a base wider than the apex of the wall. The sod walls were protected from erosion by planting ivy, or providing a covering. It would take approximately one acre (43560ft² or 4047 square meters) of sod or 2,304 bricks for the walls of a basic 12 foot by 20 foot home. Additional sod would be needed to cover the wooden poles or purlins which provided the framework for the roof unless the settler made a thatched roof from straw or rye grasses covered in clay.

If the crop survived drought, grasshopper plagues, and raging prairie fires, the harvest would need to be taken off. Hand tools were again the first implements at harvest time. A hand scythe would mow the stalks, threshing would be accomplished with a hand flail before winnowing the chaff.

Over the winter months settlers used their proceeds from the year’s crops to buy supplies, wagons, plows, and harrows. These improvements enabled the homesteader to employ a plow rather than a shovel, and a harrow in place of a rake. Different plows were required for specific soil conditions. Pulled by horse, oxen or mule team, a “single furrow plough” or a “Sulky plow” were common implements used by the farmer who walked behind. A disc harrow was used to break up the sod, whereas a chain harrow could cover seed or spread out dung. Often six to ten acres of land were all that could be broken within the 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile quarter section in the first years.

For an idea of the size of land being worked, the American football field with end zones comprises an area of about 1.3223 acres or 0.535 hectare and the Canadian football field has an area of 2.0145 acres or 0.815 hectare. A quarter section envelops 160 acres.

Sheaves were created with binders which both cut the stems of the plant, and tied the stems all gathered together with twine. Stooks were several sheaves leaning on each other allowing the seed heads to dry in the autumn. When the harvest was dry enough to store in granaries, the sheaves were threshed.

An investment in a threshing machine eliminated the laborious and time consuming task of threshing by hand with scythe and sickle. Threshing bees and steam driven threshers began dotting the prairie scene in the early 1900s.

The government and rail lines collaborated during harvest time offering low fares and high wages to encourage temporary helpers to travel west from Ontario and the Maritimes to assist with the harvest.

The next challenge was getting the grain to market. The crop taken of in 1901 sat in storage due to a huge shortage of grain rail cars. Farmers would load their hay wagons, and traveling by horse take the harvest to the nearest grain elevator. As early as 1890, there were ninety elevators in the prairie provinces. The first roads were not much more than prairie red river cart trails until Local Improvement Districts and Rural Municipalities began the task of constructing and grading roads.

Better Farming Trains were the province’s first foray into distance learning. Between 1914 and 1922, farmers could see exhibits and displays offering information and advice on agricultural and farming improvements and methods.

In the spring sod houses leaked and roofs collapsed as the piles of snow collected over the winter months began melting. So along with breaking and clearing another 6 to 12 acres of land, and sowing seeds as part of the homesteader duties, after the last frost, construction of a new roof for the home was added to the chores.

Agricultural tasks helped the homesteader fulfill the homestead duties. However, additionally the family needed to find and haul water, collect firewood, build dugouts, construct fire breaks, furnish home and barn, construct fences, make furniture and repair agricultural implements. The people needed clothing and food, the livestock needed tending and feed.

The demise of the Canadian Dominions Lands Act came about in 1930 when the federal government transferred any and all remaining lands and resources to the control of the provincial governments. The Century Farm Awards are a testament to those who succeeded at pioneer farming methods through thick and thin, and the family remained on the farm for better than one hundred years.
Pre-1930 Homestead File Series contains about 360,000 listings of those who applied for land under the terms of The Dominion Lands Act.

People arrived out west along the rail lines. Most settlements and homesteads were established alongside the rail for ease of transport, however ethnic bloc settlements were established before the arrival of rail. A random sampling of the opening up of Saskatchewan with Rail Lines:
Canadian Pacific Railway CPR arrived at Balgonie in 1882
Candian Northern Railway arrived at Humboldt in 1904
Canadian Pacific Railway CPR arrived at Kerrobert (previously Hartsberg) in 1910
Canadian Pacific Railway CPR arrived at Melfort in 1904
Canadian Pacific Railway CPR arrived at Moose Jaw in 1882
Canadian Northern Railway CnoR arrived at North Battleford in 1904
Qu;Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan Railway Company arrived at Saskatoon in 1890
Canadian Pacific Railway CPR arrived at Swift Current in 1882
Canadian Northern Railway CnoR arrived at Tisdale in 1904
Canadian Pacific Railway CPR and Canadian National Railway CNR arrived at Warman in 1904
Manitoba and Northwestern Railway arrived at Yorkton in 1888
Canadian Pacific Railway CPR arrived at Yorkton in 1891

“…Pioneers, who had taken up their homesteads in a spirit of hope and determination that, by years of hard work ahead,… the land that they were breaking and bringing into cultivation could be developed into productive farms,” said the Aberdeen Historical Society in Aberdeen 1907-1981, “Faith in the power of the soil to yield good crops of grain and hope for future prosperity were key words”
Further Information:
Saskatchewan Homestead Index Project SHIP

Western Land Grants (1870-1930)

Homestead Maps

Saskatchewan Homestead Records

Sources:

Click on an embedded link for further information.

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Related posts:


Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

The Era of Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouses

How did pioneers travel to their prairie homesteads?

Where were Saskatchewan Homesteads Located?

How do I locate my ancstor’s home town in Saskatchewan?
Have you ever visited your ancestral home?





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The Debate Regarding Saskatchewan Consolidated Schools

30 Sep

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The Debate Regarding Saskatchewan Consolidated Schools

Wherever there were ten school aged children within a 36 square mile area, early Saskatchewan pioneers and homesteaders could apply for a One Room Schoolhouse District. The little white schoolhouse soon began dotting the prairie landscape, and along with it came a host of attendant responsibilities. Communities elected school trustees to apply to the provincial government and the rural municipality for funding towards schoolhouse, teacherage and barn construction costs, teacher, secretary salary. A teacher was required along with support structure of water, books, maps, desks, stove and heating fuel.

Rural farmers or homesteaders were faced with the challenge of proving up their homestead which necessitate that the new settler must build a residence, live on the land for three years, make improvements and break a minimum of fifteen acres. Times were hard, money was scarce, community residents could pay taxes or supply a couple days per quarter section labour constructing much needed roads, bridges, and fireguards in lieu of paying taxes. However, it was the taxes which kept the one room schoolhouse operational and paid the school teacher‘s salary.

The prairie school system began in 1884 with four established school districts Moose Jaw #1, Qu’Appelle #2, Prince Albert #3, and Regina #4. By 1913 in the province of Saskatchewan alone, there were 3,214 school districts, 15 Roman Catholic Separate Schools and two Protestant Separate School Districts.

Dr. Harold W. Foght, reported in A Survey of Education 1918 that Saskatchewan had 3,608 school districts operating in 1916 under 4,279 teachers, with another 406 school districts which had been organised. “By the early 1930s, Saskatchewan possessed 4,371 rural schools…These schools were administered by 4,371 autonomous school boards, composed of 13,113 duly elected trustees, 4,371 paid secretaries, and a retinue of odd jobs people, who kept the school clean, hauled and cut wood for the classroom’s pot bellied stove, and supplied water to schools which were without their own wells ~ that is, where these chores were not part of the teacher’s duties,” reported Robert Tyre page 3 in Tales out of School ~ The Little Red Schoolhouse.

To maintain a one room schoolhouse in 1915 ratepayers were apportioned taxes based upon the number of students attending school which covered half the teacher’s salary. The remaining portion of the salary was collected from taxes based on a fixed rate per quarter section of land in the school district area. On average a resident may pay between $17.00 to $23.00.

Teachers during this era may receive $20 ro $30 per teaching month along with housing and the lower salary supplemented with farm goods. Teacher’s were expected to work out or farm when school was not in operation.

“There are too many School Districts with summer schools only, a scarcity of duly qualified teachers to man the existing districts and the new ones daily created, …four-fifths of Saskatchewan’s school children are denied the advantages of an education which town and city people can and do enjoy,” reported Arthur A. Frye on interviewing a rural school teacher. The system of non-education set in place in 1915 was considered more expensive than Consolidated Schools with qualified teachers.

Even though legislation was passed in Saskatchewan as early as 1920 had passed legislation in favour of consolidated schools, but as Sir Frederick Haultain, chief justice of Saskatchewan and chancellor of the Saskatchewan University, pointed out that Saskatchewan’s small population did not support such provision.

Mr. Morris secretary-treasurer of the Ontario School Trustees’ Association felt that consolidated schools in Ontario, of which there were 16 in 1922 would be more successful in that province. Saskatchewan being more sparsely populated would face higher operation costs.

Premier W.M. Martin, Saskatchewan’s minister of education in 1921 spoke of the costs to maintain both the consolidated schools and the transportation costs. “The law calls for the province to provide one-third of the cost of conveying the children to school in the consolidated districts. If all the districts in the province were to consolidate, I do not know where we would get the money to pay the costs. Earlier, Martin mentioned that Saskatchewan had about 4,500 schools in the province. The rate of taxation is at $40 to $75 a section to maintain a consolidated school.

It was in 1939, that Mr. Justice W.M. Martin leading a commission on Education advised that a fair and equitable salary for teachers. Schools were managed jointly by the provincial government authority and locally by the school district, and during this time the government was finding it difficult to collect taxes to pay for the schools, and the school district, as well was hard pressed to raise funds. A new system for collection of school taxes wax implemented in 1939 which helped to impose a minimum wage of $700 for teachers. Rural districts reviewed their taxation rate to raise the operational costs of $950 for a one room schoolhouse.

Problems arose in 1946 trying to transport children to consolidated schools over roads which could not be cleared of snow due to a lack of equipment.

Rural municipality borders should be set before those of the consolidated school units to ensure more uniform tax rates collected by RMs advised J.M. Wheatley of Chancellor, AB president of the Alberta Union of Municipal Districts addressing the 1946 Rural Municipalities Association delegation.

The provincial government underwent a crisis in logistical coordination of local government services stated J.H. Brockelbank, Resources Minister in 1956.
Larger school units meet with on average ten RMs up to as many as 17 to coordinate planning of road systems. The RM may itself be divided by larger school units, and collect taxes for two, three or four school units along with any rural consolidated schools not within the larger school unit and any remaining one room school districts. This means that the rural municipality council must collaborate with up to four larger school unit boards to collect taxes and plan the needed road programs. Province wide in 1956 there were 300 school districts, 29 consolidated school districts, and 56 larger school units coordinating with 296 rural municipalities, 370 towns, 98 villages, and eight cities.

Historically, in 1916 each rural municipality had dealt with on average about fifteen one room schoolhouse districts.

The evolution from the one room schoolhouse to consolidated schools was made possible by

  1. Improvements in transportation as society shifted from horse and cart upon Red River Cart trails to automotive transport on asphalt roads and highways.
  2. A shift from rural areas to urban regional centres during the “Dirty Thirties”.
  3. Emergence of the larger farm and improved wheat yields due to new machinery fueling the growth of urban service centres.
  4. A need to downsize the number of school organizational units to reduce financial costs and to eliminate duplication of administration services which could be amalgamated.<
  5. Declining enrolment in rural one room schoolhouses resulted in school closures as early as July 26, 1944. Any schools which had less than 15 students enrolled were closed in an effort to relieve the shortage of teachers according to The Calgary Herald.
  6. A restructuring of the taxation system.

Jointly these were the main factors which enabled the shift from thousands of rural one room school houses to the “modern” consolidated school unit and transportation system.

“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”~G. K. Chesterson

Further Reading

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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?

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Related links:

Saskatchewan Quiz

Saskatchewan quiz – Canada.com

Saskatoon 100 Quiz CBC Saskatchewan

Celebrating Saskatchewan’s Heritage Artifact Quiz ~Saskatoon Public Schools

Sask Gen Web for Kids of all ages ~! Genealogy puzzlers and History Games

Land Claims in Saskatchewan Quiz ~ Saskatchewan Schools

Saskatchewan Trivia ~ Government of Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan Roughriders 100 years Quiz 2 Regina Leader Post

Saskatchewan Roughriders 100 years Quiz 1 Regina Leader Post

CBC Saskatchewan “Tales from the Tornado 1912-2012” Tornado Quiz

Fransaskois Quiz ~ Canada’s Offical Languages Newsletter

Oline Heritage Quiz ~ For Teachers and Students – Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport – Government of Saskatchewan

Virtual Museums of Canada Quiz in Prairie Museums

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Related Posts:

Homestead Locations Township and Range Quizzes

Test Your Knowledge of Saskatchewan’s Placenames. Quiz One.

The Value of Standardizing Placenames for Genealogists. Quiz One. Answers.

Landmarks and Geophysical Saskatchewan Placenames. Quiz Two.

Uncovering Historical Census and Cemetery Records ~ Answers to Quiz 2

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