& Eastside Districts
married Miss Margaret LEINVERT in Peoria, Illinois, USA. They later
moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, with their young son, Will (born
September 1880). The family then moved in September of 1888, to Benkelman,
Nebraska, USA where they homesteaded, timber-claimed and purchased
land until they owned 800 acres. The family again relocated to a new
homestead in 1892, this one being only 1 1/2 miles outside of Benkelman.
Drought eventually forced them to consider making yet another move
to Ponoka, Alberta, Canada.
Charles, accompanied by son Will (then aged 20), arrived in Ponoka,
on the 5th of October 1900 to set up the new homestead in advance
of the rest of the family joining them. By this time there were 4
children: Eva, Will, Edgar and Rosa.
The years of the 1880's were good crop years, and most of the land
being prairie, crop raising was carried on progressively. Stove fuel
was very scarce in Nebraska and often "cow chips" and sagebrush
were used. Coal was $10.00 per ton and had to be hauled 30 miles by
wagon. Corn stalks and cobs comprised the fuel later.
Charles Scheirer, a blacksmith, kept at his trade until moving to
Canada. The severe drought years of the 1890's caused them to seek
another place and by 1900 with reports of Western Canada being opened
for settlement the family was again on the move. Disposing of their
crop standing, and much of their property, they kept 7 horses, 1 cow,
2 pigs and about 50 chickens. With their belongings, loaded in a box
car, Charles and Will began the long journey which was to last nearly
The first stop in Canada was in Medicine Hat, Alberta, where enthusiastic
land agents did their best to persuade the father and son to homestead
in the Cypress Hills. This they declined, and continued to north to
Accommodations were secured for the stock in Myers' livery barn, and
Charles and Will stayed at the Cook Meyers Hotel where meals were
served at reasonable prices.
Both the summer and fall had been very wet in Ponoka, some snow was
lying about and mud was deep in the streets. The frost was so severe
their first night in town that the frozen mud carried the weight of
the loaded wagons that next morning. Will recalls that he and his
dad did not take advantage of the Government tent to store their belongings,
but hauled them out to the W.E. Turner farm.
Later in October when sunny days came again, they loaded their 2 wagons
with lumber and one morning at daybreak, began the trek to the new
homesteads. Charles had filed on the N.W. 1/4 of 28-42-24 W of 4 and
Will had chosen the S.E. of 32-42-24, seven miles east and one mile
south of town. The trip was a long, tedious journey, and a trail had
to be cut for five miles of the way. At sundown, their journey completed,
they made camp for the night. With the hoot of the owls and the yap
of the coyotes along with the innumerable mice playing hide-and-seek,
there was not much sleep for the venturesome new settlers. The next
day, Will was given the task of hauling more lumber while Charles
stayed to commence the building of shelters ere the winter set in.
Oat bundles were purchased from Herb STRETCH for horse feed. Later
a supply was bought form Granddad DEWHIRST. It was not long before
a shack was ready and a shelter erected for the stock. . Margaret
soon arrived with the children, Rosa and Edgar, while older sister
Eva chose to marry and moved to Texas with her new husband instead
of making the trek north. The Scheirer's new home was established
before winter struck.
Spring came early in 1901. One day while out gathering fuel, brother
Edgar came running to the house, saying a bear was by the pig pen.
Will took the rifle, "a 32 rimfire", and killed it with
the first shot. It was a large cinnamon, but not too fat. A majority
of the meat was given to the neighbours who considered it quite a
A new house was erected the summer of 1901,and land was cleared and
broken. Some crop was seeded in the sod and did well. The density
of the timber and brush prevented the new arrivals from claiming any
large fields for crops and progress seemed slow.
The first few years on the homesteads the men were able to buy seed
and feed from the Asker Valley.
Industrious folk, the Scheirers took advantage of the opportunities
to work, cutting out roads, trapping, logging, and hauling polewood
to Ponoka, commanded their attention to make a living; the system
being barter and trade - not much money in those days. It is interesting
to note in those days the wages were $1.00 per day and board. Government
wage was $1.50 for ten hours, board and bed not included. Selling
prices for fat cattle were 2 1/2 cents per pound, hogs 5 to 6 cents,
wheat, oats and barley were 50 cents, 30 cents and 25 cents per bushel.
Potatoes were 20 cents per bushel in trade. Muskrat pelts sold as
low as 7 cents a piece, seldom more than 10 cents. The first neighbours
of the Scheirer family were the Ed Petersons who stayed only a year,
and then moved farther east. About 16 families from their old home
town in Nebraska were eventually settled near Ponoka. Some did not
stay, but those who did prospered and learned to love the "Land
of the Maple".
The early settlers provided their own entertainment and the literary
and debating societies along with the occasional dance, concert and
oyster suppers, proved a source of good fun and memorable times. Picnics
were quite common in the summer.
Charles Scheirer passed away on January 11, 1929 and Mrs. Margaret
Leinvert Scheirer passed away on July 25, 1927.
Will - married
Dessie Eakin at the J.T. Eakin home on June 15, 1915. Reverand
George Driver officiated. Their honeymoon was spent in Calgary
and Banff, Alberta. When they returned and their new house was
completed on their Eastside farm, they moved in and lived there
for 14 years until the summer of 1929, when they purchased land
adjacent to the north side of the town of Ponoka (Lucas Heights).
They lived there until 1944 when they moved to British Columbia
where they remained until 1953. In 1973, Will and Dessie had
21 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren most of whom lived
in the County of Ponoka.
- married Loretta Magedans and moved to British Columbia,
Rosa - lived on the family homestead until 1962
before moving to Rimoka Lodge.