ROBERT SINTON.
To Robert Sinton, more than to any other individual person, Sas- katchewan, and in fact all of western Canada, is indebted for the present high state of development of the live stock industry. For forty years his example as a private breeder, importer and dealer in horses and cattle has set the pace for other farmers and live stock men to follow, while he has at the same time left no stone unturned that would encour- age others to improve their stock. He has organized and worked through various agricultural and breeders' associations to acquaint the farmers of this region with the advantages of raising better grades of cattle and has been of great assistance to the Saskatchewan College of Agriculture in its efforts to maintain high and at the same time practical standards in its department of animal husbandry. As the years go by the influence of his work is becoming more and more apparent in the herds feeding on the prairies of the province and men are giving his years of careful, patient work their due recognition as the truth of his position is being vindicated in the live stock markets of the country. The son of William and Elizabeth (Elliott) Sinton, Robert Sinton was born on the 17th of May, 1854, in the township of North Georgetown, Beauharnois county, Quebec, and was educated in that locality. In the spring of 1878 he set out for western Canada and in May of that year he found himself located north of Brandon, Manitoba. His journey west- ward was the long, tedious one by rail, ox cart and boat followed by most of the early pioneers of this region. After reaching Sarnia by the Beatty trail he embarked for Duluth by boat; thence traveled by rail via St. Paul, Minnesota, to Fisher's Landing on the Red river, where he again took a boat, descending the river to Winnipeg. The last lap of the trip, from Winnipeg to Rapid City, north of Brandon, was made by ox cart. There he located on a homestead, where for four years he led the life of the pioneer farmer on the very fringes of civilization. And life was not easy on the Canadian frontier half a century ago. The hardships these first settlers had to undergo were a sort of winnowing process by which a relentless nature sifted out her wheat from her chaff and thus discov- ered who, among the sons of men, were fit to become the founders of a new country. For those who survived the terrible ordeal there was a rich inheritance, but many were the men and women who went down in the struggle. Among them was more than one person to whom fate seemed unnecessarily cruel. One of these sad victims of circumstances was Johnny Dunbar, a neighbor of Mr. Sinton's. In the winter of 1878 and 1879 the country was visited by one of the worst blizzards that have occurred in the past forty. or fifty years. One January morning the south wind swung around into the west and gaining in strength soon became a gale that lifted the loose snow and blew it with a relentless fury against anything and everything that stood in its path. Soon the entire world seemed to have become one blinding, stinging, swirling mass of snow particles. Men and horses were caught unprepared out on the trail; many poor animals perished and more than one man was frozen to death. So quickly did the storm overtake the country that Johnny Dunbar was caught while working less than five hundred yards from his little shack and perished in the snow while floundering around in the effort to locate his house. His body was found under an oak tree within a quarter of a mile of his door. The neighbors made a rude coffin from some whip- sawed poplar logs and buried him as best they could beneath the floor of his little shack. The ground outside was so solidly frozen that no digging could be thought of for weeks. When we consider such incidents as these, we realize that men like Mr. Sinton did not gain the empire of the west for a song, but paid for it with their very life blood-a fact too often overlooked by the rising generation to whom such tales seem little more than romantic adventures. By 1882 Mr. Sinton had proved up on his homestead, which he sold and then set out along the line of the Canadian Pacific Railroad toward the west. He came to Regina in 1882 and rehomesteaded in South Regina on the plains where water was scarce and hard to get. Here he shared with the other pioneers the hardships of those early days. In overcoming their difficulties these men often exercised surprising ingenuity. Many a morning out on the prairie when they found themselves short of water, which was usually brought from a neighboring creek or stream, they would take a sheet and drag it over the dew-laden grass until it was saturated.By wringing this out into a pail, enough water was procured for their immediate needs. When Mr. Sinton arrived in Regina it was merely a railroad construction camp. The newcomer soon learned from Robert Green, a trusted employe of Governor Dewdney, that the camp was destined to become the capital of the Northwest Territories and ac- cordingly he decided to locate here permanently. His information had been correct. Before many weeks had passed the camp was visited by the Marquis of Lorne, then governor general of Canada, and his wife, Princess Louise, who named the site Regina. Frontier life did not pass out of existence with the formal establishment of the future city. The following winter, that of 1882-83, the only fresh meat to be had in Regina was the buffalo meat brought in by the half-breeds. In the spring of 1885 the rebellion by Louis Riel burst into flame, endangering many of the settlements and isolated farm houses. Mr. Sinton joined Commis- sioner Irvine of the North West Mounted Police and on the 18th of March set out for Prince Albert via Fort Qu'Appelle. From Prince Albert they went southwest to Fort Carlton, where they met the mounted police and a band of volunteer soldiers returning from the battle of Duck Lake. After a conference it was decided to abandon Fort Carlton, which had been fired by the officers in charge, and retire to Prince Albert. There Mr. Sinton remained with Commissioner Irvine for some time. Later, after the capture of Riel, he accompanied White Fraser, an officer of the North West Mounted Police, who had charge of the Riel papers, on his trip to Regina. For a few years after he settled in this city Mr. Sinton combined the occupations of a farmer and contractor. Agricultural interests have al- ways been uppermost in his thought and he has some valuable farm property at the present time, which he operates. His greatest achieve- ments, as has already been indicated, have been in the live stock industry. For a number of years, from 1894 to 1903, he was connected with Gordon & Ironsides in the purchase, sale and shipment of thousands of cattle to Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal. Particularly has he devoted much his time and attention to the work of introducing high grade cattle into this part of the country. On his own ranch in former years he kept a large herd of thoroughbred Herefords. From the United States he im- ported and bred several hundred pure-bred Hereford cattle valued approximately one hundred thousand dollars, while from Scotland brought over pure-bred Clydesdale horses at a cost of about two hundred thousand dollars. These animals and their descendants have been s all through western Canada, where the result of introducing this superior strain is more apparent in the live stock industry every year. For number of years immediately preceding the outbreak of the Great war Mr. Sinton made a specialty of importing and breeding Clydesdales had many fine animals on his ranch. He was influential in securing the organization of the Saskatchewan Live Stock Breeders Association 1905, of which he was the first president, serving until 1909. In that year the association was reorganized as the four breeders' associations. When the Winter Fair was founded he became president of the board, which is composed of the executives of the breeders' associations. It happened that Mr. Sinton was serving on the Regina city council when the Saskatchewan Provincial Winter Fair was under consideration and in this capacity was influential in securing a suitable building at a cost of one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars, as well as making other provisions necessary for a large provincial fair. He remained president of the fair until it was affiliated with the Regina Fair Association. An- other association of this nature in which he is deeply interested as one of the organizers and chief promoters is the Western Live Stock Union. He is also honorary president of the Saskatchewan Provincial Live Stock Board and a member of the advisory council on agriculture to the Sas- katchewan College of Agriculture. He introduced a standard of excel- lence in animals to be put into effect in the college as a guide to the students and breeders throughout the province. The Saskatchewan Horse Breeders Association heartily endorsed the scheme, while the provincial Department of Agriculture was persuaded to give the scheme a trial in the Clydesdale breed of horses. As a courteous recognition of his services as originator of the standard and also because of his intimate and authori- tative knowledge of the breed, Mr. Sinton was invited by the department to accompany the dean of the agricultural college to Scotland to select and purchase two of the finest Clydesdale stallions obtainable, these horses to be used in establishing the standard for demonstration pur- poses in the province. In addition to his agricultural interests Mr. Sinton is vice president of the Saskatchewan Mortgage Company and a director in the Saskatche- wan Insurance Company, both of Regina. For many years he has had large real estate investments in both farm lands and city property. At one time he owned the ground on which the parliament building now stands, which he sold to the McCallum Hill Company, who in turn sold part of it to the provincial government. This was originally a five-hun- dred-acre tract and he disposed of it in 1906. He has always entertained a lively interest in municipal and provincial politics. In the first provin- cial election, held in 1906, he contested the Regina county constituency for a seat in the House in the Liberal interests, but did not carry the election. With the exception of one year, he was a member of the city council from 1900 to 1912. He was chairman of the board of works for a time, during which many civic improvements were initiated. In that capacity he had supervision of the first street paving in the city, and had the honor of driving the first spike in the municipal street railway. At that time, too, the parent sewerage disposal system, one of the most efficient and modern systems in all of Canada, was inaugurated. The advancement of education has been considerably aided in this province by Mr. Sinton's help and encouragement, for he can always be counted upon to support any project for increasing the educational facilities of the city and Regina as a whole. His religious affiliations are with the denomination in the faith of which he was reared by his Scotch parents, who were natives of Roxboroughshire. For many years he has been an elder in the Knox Presbyterian church of Regina, while Mrs. Sinton is a prominent figure in the work of the women's societies of the congre- gation. On the 10th of February, 1897, Mr. Sinton was united in marriage to Miss Christina Campbell McEwen, daughter of the late Hugh McEwen of Scotland. Mr. and Mrs. Sinton have three children, a son and two daughters: William Robert, who was born in Regina and lives with his parents in this city, assisting his father in his agricultural work; Chris- tina, a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan and a teacher in the schools at Regina; and Mary Elizabeth, a graduate of the Collegiate In- stitute and normal school, who now teaches at Riceton. The son was in the Canadian forestry service for some time. He entered the Canadian army in 1916, at the age of eighteen and went overseas with the One Hundred and Ninety-fifth Division as a carrier of despatches. Mrs. Sinton is a strong advocate of temperance and has been prominently identified with that movement for years. Bibliography follows:


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THE STORY
OF
SASKATCHEWAN
AND ITS PEOPLE




By JOHN HAWKES
Legislative Librarian



Volume III
Illustrated



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



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