SASKATCHEWAN AND ITS PEOPLE
1924



         

GIGANTIC FARMS AND FAILURES.

THE BIG BELL FARM.



No big, unwieldy company farm in the west had ever been a success. One classic instance is the Bell Farm. Major William R. Bell was an east- em man of the finest type. Tall, with an excellent physique, business ex- perience and indomitable spirit he came west in 1881. The route of the C. P.R. was definitely fixed at that time so he was able to select his lands without any danger of a second change in the survey. He formed a big company with Canadian and British capital and secured a block of land at Indian Head ten miles square-that is to say 60,000 acres. The actual acreage owned, however, was 331,887 acres as the school sections could not be bought, and there were some settlers whose squatters' rights had to be respected; but Major Bell secured all the government C. P. R. and Hudson's Bay lands. The original capital was half a million dollars, of which ;300,000 was paid up. A hundred and fifty thousand dollars worth of six per cent debentures was subsequently issued. The Company never succeeded in paying any dividends.

For ten miles the C. P. R. ran through the Bell Farm, which was believed to be the largest farm of continuous land in the world. The big farm idea came from the States. For instance there was the Dalrymple Farm in Dakota which is reported to have taken off in one season thirty thousand acres of wheat. Some interesting information about the early experiences of the Bell Farm will be found in Dr. Angus McKay's most interesting narrative printed elsewhere in this book and which we will as far as possible avoid repeating. There was trouble with frozen grain and Major Bell built a flour mill. He erected an elevator to ship his own wheat. In 1885 he sent a hundred teams to the Rebellion Transport which at ten dollars each per day, meant a daily bill against the government of a thousand dollars. This necessarily limited the output of that year. In 1886 there were five thousand acres in crop. The stock consisted of 200 horses, 250 cattle and 900 hogs. The machinery comprised 45 reapers and binders, 78 ploughs, 6 mowers, 40 seeders, 80 sets of harrows and seven steam threshing outfits.

It is interesting in these days of high expenses to note that Major Bell in 1886 put the cost of breaking and back-setting at two dollars an acre, and this was noted and published by a correspondent. He claimed that this estimate was the result of careful bookkeeping. Spring and fall ploughing he put down at fifty cents an acre. The actual cost of produc- Bibliography follows:



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THE STORY
OF
SASKATCHEWAN
AND ITS PEOPLE



By JOHN HAWKES
Legislative Librarian



Volume II
Illustrated



CHICAGO - REGINA
THE S.J. CLARKE PUBLISHING COMPANY
1924




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