and his wife, Eva, and their two daughters, Vera and Irene,
came West in 1909 to live in Vancouver, B.C. We came from Oxford
County near Woodstock, Ontario, where we were born. We were of Scottish
and German ancestry.
In early 1915 Bob came to Ponoka and worked as a farm hand for Mr.
James STEWART in the Fertile Forest district. A few months later
he sent for his wife and family.
We had come to Ponoka to start a new life, and to say the least,
it was different. We had heard there were a lot of Indians, also
a mental institution. Did you ever come from a large city and get
off the train at a little place, like Ponoka was, in 1915? Just
57 years ago.
It was "Indian Treaty time". James CLINE, my mother's
brother met us at the station, and the first place we were taken
was Mr. Algar's store, just across the street. It was filled with
Indians, with their hair in long black braids, both men and women,
and speaking their own language. I was so frightened, I'm sure my
hair stood on end, and wondered why Dad had ever brought us to a
place like this. However we soon learned to accept them and know
they were as much a part of the country as anyone. We grew to love
Ponoka and district and think it is the best place on earth to live.
The mental hospital, we learned to respect, and no longer feared,
and now, as Alberta Hospital is a well equipped and much needed
We drove out to Uncle Jim's place in a lumber wagon and stayed there
in a tent for a summer. The team could hardly pull the wagon through
the mud. This was in the Ferrybank district on a farm owned by Mr.
Fred McEWEN. There was pretty heavy bush around that part of the
country then. The coyotes howled until you would think they were
coming inside the tent. We had never heard a coyote before. Dad
continued to work as a farm hand until the following spring.
In 1916 we moved into Ponoka and Dad went to work for Mr. Bill SMITH
in a cream station run by Woodland Dairy. This was located on property
now occupied by the Community Rest Room. Later he took over the
business himself and then the Palleson Cream Station which was located
on 50th Avenue. We lived in one of the Baadsgaard houses right next
to the Old Baptist Church which we attended at that time. The minister
then was the Rev. Milton. Irene and I attended the old Ponoka School
with the big bell on the top, located on 51st Street across from
the United Church. The old wooden sidewalks in front of our house
would wave up and down when you ran on them.
Our next move was to Ferrybank where we lived on one of Mr. Fred
McEwen's places for a short time and attended Ferrybank School,
then moved to Grand Meadow district on the farm formerly owned by
Mr. John GHYLIN.
Irene and I attended Grandmeadow School having as our teachers -
Miss Alice O'Donnell and Miss Eleanor West. This, of course was
during World War I and many of the local boys went overseas. I can
especially remember Allen CRAWFORD coming to the schoolhouse to
say good-bye to the teacher and pupils. He had his cal lfor overseas,
and when the war was over we remember his lovely Scottish bride
coming to Ponoka. We would sometimes ride our pony to school, but
not used to horses, he would always through us off at the bridge
and go home so we walked most of the time. A certain little boy
by the name of Enos HOLBEN, who was staying with his grandparents,
and just starting at school, was always waiting for us. Irene and
I very proudly escorted him, as it was a long way for him to go
alone. We were at Grandmeadow until the end of the war, 1918. We
drove to Ponoka with the new buggy and pony and watched the celebrations,
the big bonfire, on which the Kaiser was burned in effigy. This
took place on the old C.P.R. lot where the shipping centre is currently
MORE TO COME...