Burtonsville Historical Society
Did you know that?
The Burtonsville community was named for Cornelius 'Nealy' Burton who opened the first Post Office in the area in 1912. Previous to this the district was called Goose Encampment for Goose Island, the big island south of Burtonsville in the North Saskatchewan River, as the logging crews moved through.
On a map put out by the RCMP in 1888, Low Water Lake is called Goose Lake.
In 1906 Lars 'Old Louie' Homme, the blacksmith, collected coal for his blacksmith forge from seams along the river banks.
Several Loyer Métis families were the first to settle in the Burtonsville area at the snye on the bank of the North Saskatchewan River, then known as Wanchie or Big Timber. Land Grant records show that Dominion Land Grants were given to Elzear, Daniel, Martin, and Cyprien Loyer.
The Wanchie school was erected in 1910 by Mr. Deschene on land donated by Daniel Loyer. Wanchie is the native word for 'big timber'. The children of Daniel, Syprien and Elzear all attended classes there. Some teachers were Helen Ross (Kreye), Alice Beasley, Cora Wagner, Doris Howelett (McDougall), John Kennedy, Doris Heichen (Homme), and Lucy Bennett (Hansen).
The Burtonsville Post Office was opened on June 15, 1909 and officially closed on January 2, 1968. Postmasters included C. Burton, John Barrie, F.G. Stewart, Roy Huston, Gordon Raymond, William Walker, Wayne Clark, Adrian Charlet, Henrik Pontoppidan, Lillian Bailey, and Doris McDougall.
Doug MacDougal of Burtonsville served in the Canadian Armed Forces in WWI. Burtonsville residents Adrian Charlet, Clayton Greanya, Bill Homme, Cecil Homme,
Elton MacDougal, Dannie MacDougal, Dave Osborne, and Edgar Whitney all served during WWII.
A 'Homestead', after being located by a potential settler, had to be filed on at the land titles office, giving the land location and paying the ten-dollar fee.
Furs, mail and supplies were freighted over the 'Old Mill Trail' to Edmonton, which passed through Burtonsville. Besides being the postmaster for the area, Mr. Burton operated a 'Stopping House' where people could stay the night.
Sometime between 1911 and 1916, a man from the Keephills area named Big Charlie Lark, shot himself to death after spending the night at the Burtonsville Stopping House. Axel Homme hauled the body by stoneboat to a spot just east of where the four quarters meet, one of which belonged to the Burton family, where he buried him. No explanation was ever given for his suicide.
Hay was collected from sloughs, meadows and Low Water Lake for the winter feeding of livestock. Horse drawn rakes were out of the question for these environments, so all of the hay was gathered using pitchforks and wooden hand rakes.
During the flood of 1915 water crowded the hills along the Burtonsville river valley. A nephew of Bill Walkers was injured in a fall, rupturing a kidney, and had to be carried one and a half miles on a stretcher made from a bedspring to a neighbor's home on dryer land. The water's receded before this mand was ferried to Edmonton on a raft for medical care.
The cook on the river drive often saved the fat from meat for families along the drive so they could make lye soap with it. He also saved the stone crocks from pickles and jams for settlers to use in putting up preserves.
Do you know some interesting Burtonsville Historical Fact that we can publish in future newsletters? Please email me with the information. Once it appears in the newsletter it will be added to this page.