Tag Archives: Henry Youle Hind

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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Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

17 Feb

Peaceful Calm

Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

Homesteads of one hundred and sixty acres of land were offered by the Dominion Land Act of 1872. They were created as the Dominion Government wanted British Columbia to join the Dominion and B.C. would only do so if there was a transcontinental rail line built joining them to eastern Canada.

The Dominion Government agreed to this term. When it came time to survey the land and enlist existing rail line companies to embark on this project, the rail lines did not wish to lay rail through the prairies. They argued the rail lines would not be used due to the low population, and therefore it would not be economically feasible in the long run and feared the rail lines would be subject to disrepair and vandalism.

Without a British presence in the west, the Canadian Government realized that the area ay fall to the United States. The Dominion Government, Railway colonisation companies and private colonisation companies all promoted homesteading in Eastern Canada, United States and Europe.

Precursors to the rail lines and deciding factors to the rail lines were dependent upon the Palliser expedition and the Henry Youle Hind expedition reports.

Captain John Palliser led a Royal Geographical Society expedition (1857-1860) that explored the Canadian West in an attempt to survey the region’s resources, provide an early analysis of where to best lay a transcontinental railway, and to assess the economic potential.

In 1853, Palliser wrote the book “Solitary Rambles and Adventures of a Hunter in the prairies.” It was his advice that the railway should be surveyed from Winnipeg up through the area which later housed the Northwest capital of Fort Livingstone (1873-1876) east of present day Norquay and Kamsack. He suggested he rail should extend north of the Eagle Hills through Battleford, to whit, this area became the North West capital between 1876-1883. Following along, the rail would run through to Edmonton. By 1885, the telegraph lines were surveyed and laid in the west following this route including Fort Pitt at Frenchman’s Butte and Fort Saskatchewan enroute to Edmonton.

Palliser was of the impression that the ony settlements arising in the west would be north of the tree line in the forested area of the Northwest Territories and the economic mainstay would continue to be the trapping industry. This area was believed to be the only place to obtain wood for building houses and subsequently heating them through the prairie winter.

“In Palliser’s Triangle, Living in the Grasslands 1850-1930 delves into the living conditions during a time when the grasslands were experiencing drought like conditions similar to those experienced in the 1930s. The area called Palliser’s triangle was thought to be an extension of the American desert.

John Palliser’s conclusions were: “[This area now known as Saskatchewan] can never be expect to become occupied by settlers…it can never be of much advantage to us as a possession.” Captain Palliser became famous or perhaps infamous, for these words.

Henry Youle Hind and Simon Dawson set out on a subsequent expedition 1857-1858 which showed a much larger area of land was fertile than previously asserted by Captain John Palliser on his expedition. Hind was a botanist and saw the potential for agricultural settlement in viewing the native grasses and plants growing in the river valley area near Long Lake. It waas due to his report that the survey for the rail lines took a more southerly route from Winnipeg then south of Long Lake where the settlement of Regina later established itself becoming the capital of Saskatchewan (1883 to present). This route was more economically viable to the rail lines.

In 1867, the British North America act brings the provinces of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia into one Dominion of canada, divided now into four provinces named Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Prime Minister John A. MacDonald wanted to build the nation of Canada from coast to coast.

On November 19, 1869, the Hudson’s Bay Company agreed to surrender Rupert’s Land to the Dominion of Canada for 300,000 pounds and 120th of lands in the fertile belt. (This amounted to 3,351,000 in the current province boundaries of Saskatchewan). This request was given Royal assent June 23 180.

Sir Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior initiated a huge advertising campaign for immigration. Homesteads of one hundred and sixty acres of land were offered by the Dominion Land Act of 1872.

Europeans were familiar with settlement acts. In 1763 Catherine the Great issues Manifesto inviting foreigners to settle in Russia,and in 1862 the United States enacted a Homestead Act inviting immigration to America.

The terms of the Russian 1763 Manifesto, held that immigrants to Russia would receive communal property, implement their own education and for the majority exercise their religious practices and be exempt from serving in the military and paying taxes.

The American Homestead Act of 1862 offered the settler 160 acres (64.75 ha) of land, free of monetary cost in exchange for an agreement that the homesteader remain living on the land and cultivate it for a minimum of five years.

Western Canadian homesteaders could purchase a quarter section of land (160 acres) for a filing fee of $10.00 on the condition that they clear ten acres and construct a domicile within three years. The homesteader was expected to live on the land and cultivate it for six months out of every year in this first period This condition for “proving up the homestead” provided for settlement in the west, and prevented speculators from buying up large amounts of land. Land agents inspected homesteads to ensure that improvements were made annually.

These were the main factors at work to create opportunities for homesteading in the “Last Best West”. The North West Territories evolved from a hunting and trapping lifestyle to a farming population. The creation of the province of Saskatchewan occurred in 1905.

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Sources:

California: A History
Volume 23 of Modern Library Chronicles
 page 169. Kevin Starr. reprint, illustrated. Random House of Canada, 2007. ISBN 081297753X, 9780812977530. digitised online by Google Books. URL accessed February 7, 2012.

Dickason, Olive Patricia (1997) (Paperback). Canada’s First Nations A History of Founding Peoples from Earliest Times (second ed.). Toronto, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-541358-X, 0-19-541227-3.

Dominion Lands Act / Homestead Act
2006 Canadian Plains Research Centre, University of Regina. URL accessed February 7, 2012.

History Of The United States Of America, Part Five International World History Project. January 2007. URL accessed February 7, 2012.

Introduction – Free Land! – A National Open-Door Policy (1867-1895) – Traces of the Past – Moving Here, Staying Here. The Canadian Immigrant Experience – Library and Archives Canada URL accessed February 7, 2012.

Lalond, Andre N. and Perdersen Maureen A. Administration of Dominion Lands 1870-1930. pp. 48-49.in Fung, Kai-iu (1999). Barry, Bill. ed. Atlas of Saskatchewan Celebrating the Millennium (Millennium edition ed.). Saskatchewan: University of Saskatchewan. ISBN 0-88880-387-7.

McCracken, Jane. Homesteading. pp. 527-528. Volume 2 For-Pat. in The Canadian Encyclopedia. Hurtig Publishers Ltd. Edmonton, AB, CA. 1985. ISBN 0-88830-269-X (set)

McConnnell, J.G. and Turner A.R. Historical Geography. Land Settlement. pp. 16, 17. in J.H. Richards, K.I. Fung. (1969). Atlas of Saskatchewan. W.G.E. Caldwell, W.O. Kupsch. Saskatoon, SK, CA: University of Saskatchewan.

Life’s a Grind: For Volga Germans, its not Christmas Without Sausage on the Table Obra, Joan. “Life’s a Grind: For Volga Germans, its not Christmas Without Sausage on the Table.” Fresno Bee, 20 December 2006.: North Dakota State University Libraries NDSU
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection URL accessed February 7, 2012.

Russell, R.C. Carlton Trail. The Telegraph Line. pp. 73-75. Prairie Books. The Western Producere. Saskatoon, SK, CA. 1971.

Schwier, Charles. Railway History. pp. 1541-1544. Volume 3 Pat-Z. in The Canadian Encyclopedia. Hurtig Publishers Ltd. Edmonton, AB, CA. 1985. ISBN 0-88830-269-X (set)

Survey of the Western Part of the Dominion – Homestead Regulations of Dominion Land – Entry – Homestead Duties Map. Survey of the Western Part of the Dominion, Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada, in the year 1904. and 1907 by the Scarborough Company, Hamilton, Ontario, at the Department of Agriculture,Scarborough Company, digitised online by Online Map Historical Digitisation Project. Julia Adamson. Copyright February 3, 2009. URL accessed February 7, 2012.
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Related Posts:

What can be found at the NEW Saskatchewan Provincial Archives website?

The Era of Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouses

Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

•Love and Marriage in Saskatchewan- a comprehensive guide

How did pioneers travel to their prairie homesteads?

•How to locate birth, marriage and death certificates in Saskatchewan, Canada

Are there genealogy sites that can compete with Ancestry.com?

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All rights reserved. Copyright © Aum Kleem 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 throgh Getty images. .. Peace and love be with you.
Namaste.
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Follow me on 500 px, Word Press, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, Tumblr, Live Journal, Flickr, and Flickriver

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Where were Saskatchewan Homesteads Located?

11 Feb

The Time of His Life

Where were Saskatchewan Homesteads Located?

Surveying Western Canada allocated parcels of land for homesteads, schools, the Hudson Bay Company, rail lines, Métis and First Nations.  The Minister of the Interior, Clifford Sifton encouraged settlement.

In 1871 the Dominion Land Survey of the Prairies is initiated. There were less than fifteen survey parties setting out in that first season. Plans of the township surveys were published.

The surveying system for Western Canada adopted followed the example set in the United States, and departed from the survey system followed in Eastern Canada.

Due to the reports set out by the 1857-1858 Henry Youle Hind and Simon Dawson Canadian expedition, the arable land surveyed was south of the tree line. The grasslands area of southern Saskatchewan was  used by ranching operations, before giving way to farming land with improved agricultural techniques.

Homestead applications generally followed the laying of the rail lines. The densest immigration population therefore sprung up around the first rail line in south east Saskatchewan arriving from Winnipeg. Population density then expanded to other areas with the rail branch lines. If a town existed before the rail line came, and the rail line bypassed the settlement, the town was abandoned as is the case of Cannington Manor. The town may optionally decide to move; buildings and everything were moved to be located on the rail line .  Nipawin aligned itself with the Canadian Pacific Railway built four miles northwest of the settlement to access the river for the steam engines.

Sections 11 and 29 (one mile by one mile) of each township (six miles by six miles) were set aside for schools in the township. These two sections totaled 3,994,400 acre of land for Saskatchewan. The actual one room school house building may not be built on one of these sections, rather, the land was sold or leased and the moneys received from the transaction was put toward building a school for the area. The actual size of a school yard was a fraction of the size of a quarter section of land (1/4 mile by 1/4 mile).

Sections 8 and 3/4 of section 26 were set aside to complete the Hudson Bay agreement when Canada acquired Rupert’s Land.

In 1880, an act was passed to put aside odd numbered sections for 24 miles on both sides of the rail lines for a grant of 25,000,000 acres of land between Winnipeg and the Rocky Mountains. 15,177,063 acres were granted in Saskatchewan. An additional 5,728,092 acres were granted to the Hudson Bay Railway to complete the rail line.

Under the 1879 Manitoba act, the Métis received land grants amounting to 238,500 acres of land in Saskatchewan called scrip.

Certain lands amounting to 1,166,000 acres were withheld from homesteading for Indian reserves as per terms of First Nations treaties.

The Saskatchewan Atlas provides maps of the evolution of population density and settlement. Captain John Palliser’s belief that settlement would only occur in the forested area supporting an economic livelihood of trapping was abandoned as settlers came west to farm in the western prairie. Homesteaders proved up their homesteads, made improvements and advancements were made in agricultural technologies.

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Related posts:

The Era of Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouses

Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

•Love and Marriage in Saskatchewan- a comprehensive guide

How did pioneers travel to their prairie homesteads?

•How to locate birth, marriage and death certificates in Saskatchewan, Canada

Are there genealogy sites that can compete with Ancestry.com?

For more information:

Saskatchewan Gen Web: a Rootsweb genealogy regional web site on ancestry.com

Homesteads

Online Historical Map Digitisation Project

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All rights reserved. Copyright © Aum Kleem 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 throgh Getty images. .. Peace and love be with you.
Namaste.
______________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Flickr, Word Press, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, Tumblr, Live Journal, and Flickriver

______________________________________________________________________________
Aum_Kleem - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver

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A man who is not afraid is not aggressive, a man who has no sense of fear of any kind is really a free, a peaceful man.
Jiddu Krishnamurti

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