CHAPTER FOUR       The Big Gamble

 

 

        On these long winter nights there was plenty of opportunity to sit and think things over. Here I was twenty-one years of age with close to six years adventuring behind me. I had a tail-hold on 160 acres of land but was desperately short of money. I had tried all sorts of jobs - worked hard for small wages and at the rate I had been going I would never accumulate enough money to make a start at farming myself, if I had to depend on day labor wages. The country around us was filling up with people, general large farming outfits having purchased large blocks of land which they would bring under cultivation rapidly by tractor power.  I didn't even have one ox of my own. In other words I had reached a stage where I had to decide between continuing as a lowly paid hired man or seek ways and means to breakthrough the straight jacket of poverty even if I had to run considerable risk. My friend Dawson was in a parallel condition and in pretty much the mood as I was. We decided to try and make a break.

 

        Under the terms of my father's will all his estate passed to mother for her use during her lifetime. At her death it would be divided equally among the surviving family, myself, two brothers and two sisters. I hadn't seen any of my people since leaving home in 1905, but occasional letters indicated they were all going strong. Under mother's careful administration and the hard work of the family still at home, progress was being made in paying off the debt on the old farm and doing quite a few improvements to it. So I submitted a proposal to mother that she advance me the sum of five hundred dollars in order to finance a start in farming on my own account. The proposal was agreed to, provided I signed a Quit Claim deed to my interest in the family estate, which I readily agreed to. Five hundred meant much more to me at that stage than possibly three times that amount ten or maybe twenty years later.

 

        I think Dawson made a similar request to his folks in Scotland, who were well-to-do people. Alf was one of a very large family who had emigrated to Canada to seek his own fortune. I never did know just how much financial help he received but in a short time we were in a position to start on the big gamble. Alf had some farming acquaintances near Deslisle, Sask. Thither he went and bought an outfit of work oxen, rented a quarter section of land and put in a crop. I bought four oxen from a Jewish dealer in Kindersley who was shipping in carloads of oxen from Manitoba and selling to the homesteaders. I had to pay cash for the oxen but had no trouble in buying a flow-wagon and disc harrow on credit. So I was in business. And what a business!

 

        I still had an additional 15 acres to break to reach the minimum requirement of 30 acres to comply with homestead regulations. I broke up 25 new acres and thus had forty acres for crop which I seeded to flax. I rented another 35 acres from a homesteader 2-1/2 miles away and in total had a respectable total acreage in crop for a beginner. The harvest was in the hands of nature.  Obviously I had to drive those oxen as hard or harder than they could reasonably be expected to stand. But I was a desperate man and drove myself just as hard as the oxen. Some of the experiences were a mixture of near tragedy and the ridiculously humorous.

 

        Within a few days after buying my oxen I was faced with the unfortunate fact that one of them was just no good. Wouldn't pull his share and preferred to lie down in spite of all my entreaties - some of them quite vicious in the form of punishment. I didn't have time to waste on a balky ox so I was forced to bargain for another one chiefly on credit, and it turned out to be an extremely good animal. Once my crop was seeded by a neighbour with an outfit of horses, I had to repay his work by doing breaking on his land for equal value. I also had to get more land broken on my place. I had to earn money to pay for my replacement ox and of course I had to get some money to pay my running expenses, including food. The mosquitoes were very bad and to make it easier for my oxen I would hitch up at about 3:30 A.M. - plow until 8 o'clock, turn the oxen out to graze, hitch up again at 4 P.M. and plow as long as there was light to see. Even so, my cattle were getting pretty thin and tired. Soon one of them played out completely and had to have a rest. I could plow with the remaining three, but it was very heavy work for them. Not having seen my balky ox for several weeks, I decided to hunt him up and put him to work - if he would work. That lazy brute had been grazing on good grass for quite a while, and looked quite sleek when I found him several miles away, but when I hitched him in with the others it was the same old story, only more so. An experiment seemed to be indicated.

 

        Consulting a veterinary who had located in Kindersley, he prescribed some dope which he more or less guaranteed to impel that ox to move but he couldn't guarantee the direction or control of his motion. That was good enough for me. I came home with a two- pound bag of the mixture. The directions said to put a tablespoonful on the ox's tongue when hitching him up. This I did and before the whole outfit was hitched he began to snort and paw the dirt. Then we all got into motion. I had this lazy ox in the furrow where the footing was good, but he was sandwiched between two others and couldn't very well go completely sideways. For the record -that lazy ox was a team all by himself, for nearly half a mile but the dope still kept him doing his bit for four rounds on the half-mile furrow. By that time his tongue was hanging out about six inches and he just sank to his knees exhausted. I unhitched him, re-arranged my double trees and went on with the remaining three. On the following morning I would just repeat the dose, but in a few days I found that the dope had less and less productive result, so the only thing to do was to increase the dose if I were to get worthwhile mileage out of that blasted steer. The climax came a couple of mornings later when my supply of dope was running pretty low. I guess I was feeling a bit low myself that morning and decided to give the old ox a jolt he would remember. Suiting the action to the thought I gave him the balance of the dope in the bag. Well ! We went hellin' down the furrow about two hundred yards and the lazy ox, probably figuring he had done his best, just dropped on the ground - dead as the proverbial door-nail. And so ended my experience with that particular ox. Many a time I wished I could catch the man who had sold him to me; as it was, I wrote it off to experience.

 

        My trials and tribulations with the oxen that summer were greatly increased by the lack of an adequate supply of water. The prairie sloughs dried up quickly under the hot sun and lack of abundant rainfall. I had to rely on a neighbour's well 2 miles away and thither I would drive the oxen after the days "work" was done and pull water out of a well about eighty feet deep with a small bucket and pulley for a windlass. After giving the cattle all they would drink, which was generally a prodigious amount, I would labouriously fill three barrels in the wagon and haul it home. This would last for another couple of days when the performance had to be repeated. I had to make some cash income by taking jobs to do breaking for other homesteaders - some of the at a considerable distance. The summer wore on rapidly and fortunately my crop of flax showed good promise. I had to hire it cut because I had no binder. And of course I had to pay for threshing. But it was all very much worth while. I had 1500 bushels of good grade flax which at market price of $1.77 per bushel f.o.b. Fort William, had a gross worth of approximately $2,600.00. The gamble had paid off. I was as lean as a  coyote - my clothes consisted mostly of overalls, but I had quite a stake in sight.

 

        As quickly as I could I hauled my grain to Kindersley and loaded a carload for shipment to a grain firm in Winnipeg with orders to sell "at the market". My gratification knew no bounds when I received - not a cheque or bank draft - but the whole proceeds in good solid folding money. I paid off my debts and then feeling that I had earned a change of scene I placed my oxen in the care of a distant neighbor for the winter, bought some good new clothes and joined two other near-by homesteaders in buying a 3-month excursion ticket to Wingham, Ontario - my starting point seven years before. I had quite a wad of money and like my companions was in high spirits.

 

 

       

        Our route to Eastern Canada was by way of Duluth, Minn., Chicago and Detroit. In Chicago we had an all-day layover. The weather in Kindersley on the  day we left there was 40 degrees below zero.  In Chicago it rained all day and the three of us spent the most of the day playing pool in a saloon. Each game cost us five cents each but for each five cents we received a brass slug good for a big schooner of beer at the bar. Well, we had quite a few of these schooners, but when it came time to go to our train we still had a couple of handfuls of those brass slugs. We exchanged these for many bottles of  Budweiser, which we took with us and made merry on the run to Detroit. By that time the beer was all done and feeling like a bit of air I decided to take a stroll in the fresh air near the Detroit depot. I ran into another fellow with the same idea. He was a blacksmith from Yellow Pass, Sask., considerably older than I but apparently with a keen thirst. On inquiry at the ticket office as to time of departure of our train, we were told about an hour hence. We didn't realize then that the time changed at Detroit and went blithely on our way to look at some of Detroit. After another beer or so we toddled back to the station thinking we still had plenty of time but to our horror were told that the train had already gone. The man said we might catch it at the Windsor station on the Canadian side if we were lucky. It was now past midnight and we had quite a distance to travel to the Ferry to cross the river. Running didn't bother me any, but my companion was in poor running order. I dragged him by the hand the last block before he fell flat on his face when he stubbed a toe on a street curb, so I just left him where he was and continued my flight to the Ferry dock.

 

        I was a desperate man, my collar and tie, my overcoat and my big suitcase, bulging with presents I had bought in Winnipeg for my family - were all in my berth on that cursed train. The sleeping car conductor had my ticket. I had my money, lots of it, but I was alone in a strange city racing on foot to catch up with my fellow travelers. Some more delays occurred with the Customs officers at the Ferry. I guess I looked and acted like an escaping prisoner of some sort. Anyway I got my feet on Canadian soil again but there was no taxi in sight to speed me to the railway depot about a half a mile away. There was nothing for it but run as fast as I could, but when I reached was greeted with the sad news the train had left for Toronto about ten minutes ago. I asked the man behind the ticket window if he had any message for me, "Yes, he had" The sleeping car conductor had left my ticket with him. My traveling companions left no word but the porter had left a suitcase which he thought was mine, but there was no overcoat. All I could do was look at the suitcase, which wasn't mine at all but a glance at the contents revealed that it belonged to a female. So there I was in Windsor with no baggage and no overcoat. I wired one of my companions (good old George Scheffer, who was heading for Markdale, Ontario), to leave my goods and chattels with the sleeping car department in the Union Station in Toronto, and I would pick them up on arrival the next day. Having done all I could I wended my way back down town to a hotel to spend the rest of the night. By coincidence, the hotel keeper was one Jack Swartz, formerly a hotelkeeper in Wingham and owner of the famous 2.04 pacer Harold H whose picture appeared in most of the racing places in that part of the country. Swartz didn't know or remember me very well but he knew all my folks and we had a friendly visit.

 

        The next morning I boarded a train for Toronto and expected to pick up my things on arrival there, "Sure they knew about my stuff at the parlor car department, but a man named Scheffer said he would hang onto them and make sure I got them". What a hell of a fix I was in. Here I traveled about two thousand miles to spend Xmas with my folks, but on the day before Xmas I was in Toronto with no luggage and no overcoat. I haunted that Union Station, I walked Yonge Street and wandered through Eaton's store looking for Scheffer. He would have to take a train out of Toronto at 4 P.M. if he were to get home for Xmas. I had to take my last train for home at 5 P.M.. But I didn't find friend George. However, I had to take a philosophical view of things and make the best I could of a difficult situation. I bought a clean collar and tie and got on the train for Wingham.

 

        I recall being a bit fatigued and when the train arrived in Wingham I was awakened by my brother Bert who had come in from the farm to meet me. He asked me where my baggage was and to which I replied that I was used to traveling light and didn't have any - not even an overcoat. Bert thought this was a rather queer way to travel so far until I told him the whole story. But I still had quite a wad of good Canadian currency which reassured him that I wasn't on the bum.

 

 

        My ticket to Eastern Canada was good for 3 months but before half that time had elapsed I had visited all the clan. Seven years absence had made a big difference. I was a sort of semi-stranger. In the meantime George Scheffer had sent my things by express and I was able to make some belated Xmas presentations to mother and the rest. Nothing in my suitcase had been tampered with.  There was a sealed bottle of good scotch whiskey with which I proposed a toast to the health of everybody in the house. My spirits were high but I could again feel the call of the West and believe it or not I was lonesome for that humble shanty of mine far away on the  Saskatchewan prairie. I was extremely glad I was able to make this visit - my folks were all extremely kind to me and interested in my accounts of all the things I had gone through. Nevertheless, I felt that I was something of an outsider. Possibly a bit of a rapscallion, which was probably true. This was the last time I was to see my folks for another long adventurous seven year period.

 

        Long before I needed to return to the West I decided to go. My former traveling companions were staying in the East as long as possible, so I was traveling alone. Another layover in Chicago where I fell in with a good fellow from Geolandia, who was on his way back west. We were both booked to Winnipeg via Deluth but both of us being in jovial mood got on the wrong train in the Chicago and Great Western station. When the conductor came around to collect tickets he informed us our train was headed for Minneapolis. He made no fuss about it but said we would have to arrange our own transportation from Minneapolis to Duluth, via a different line of railway. So like the good travelers we were we settled back in our comfortable seats and woke up in Minneapolis. There was no train  for Duluth until late that night, so we spent a merry day seeing the sights in Minneapolis. We had no trouble arranging transportation to Deluth and in due course arrived in Saskatoon. I said goodbye to my friend at Geolandia and that is the last I ever saw or heard of him.

 

        My homestead shack seemed to be a very forbidding place after all the luxury of my travels but I soon had things ship shape and went to see my good old friend Alf Dawson. He had wintered well and both of us were in the mood to discuss ways and means of really going places as prairie farmers. Neither of us would be eligible for patents to our homesteads for another six months, but that didn't prevent us from formulating plans for the expansion of our farming enterprises.

 

        Had we been content to slog along at a slower but more safe pattern, the whole course of my life would doubtless have changed and perhaps for the better. Who knows. Both of us were young, in glowing health and with no family ties or responsibilities. We laid our plans to make or bust. We had a modest amount of working capital between us and this to be supplemented by the proceeds of the largest mortgages we could put against our homesteads just as soon as we could "prove up" and obtain our deeds to the land.

 

                 Dawson had left his oxen in the Deslisle district for the winter and had the farm there rented for another season. In addition to the land I had now brought under cultivation on my own farm, I rented some additional acreage and got it all seeded in good time. By this time I had become a fairly expert bull driver, but my troubles with oxen were not yet over. I continued breaking up my virgin land, had a well bored by a local well driller and obtained a good supply of water and perhaps this convenience had some bearing on how hard I was pushing my oxen.

 

 Anyway, one of them got very thin and weak. I put him in my modest little frame stable and tried to doctor him up but he got so weak he couldn't get up on his feet. I managed to get him rigged in a sling - (using a length of home-made rag carpet my mother had sent to me). I was short of gear to make a really good job of it but by using tethering chains and a pulley from my plow hitch which I fastened to the ridge pole of the stable I was ready to give the thing a trial. So, hitching my trusty black ox to the free end of the chain I led him gently away from the stable door. The rig worked fine. I left old Blackie holding the weight of the sick ox and rushed back into the stable to see how things looked. Here was the sick ox hanging limply with his feet just clear of the ground. I hurried in trying to get his feet straightened out. Old Blackie outside was gradually easing the strain and letting the load settle slowly. But the sick ox couldn't or wouldn't trust his weight on his own feet. He just knuckled down again. I repeated this business several times but was making no real progress. Old Blackie was getting a bit tired of the game and my temper was getting a bit thin. Finally old Blackie decided against any more of this suspended animation and promptly backed right up when I left him for another try inside. I made the mistake of bellering at him - somewhat profanely, whereupon he took off in earnest. He shot the sick ox right to the ridge pole, snapped my tackle and dropped the old cripple with a dull and sickening thud, killed him dead as a mackerel.

 

            So that was that - I was again short one work ox which I quickly replaced with a pair of big strong fellows, and continued with my breaking program. I was not alone in my experiences with oxen; most of my neighbors had them. One fairly close  neighbor, Abe Heise, had an outfit of oxen in addition to horses. During the breaking season he had a visitor from Eastern Canada. A school teacher she was and a very fine looking lady indeed. This gal had made up her mind she would perform, at least once, all the various tasks about the Heise farm, including driving the oxen on the breaking plow. To get the real point of this story, the reader should note that these oxen were living on grass only, getting all the water they needed and working hard in the hot dry weather. Oxen have just one gait - damn slow - but very steady.  Her ladyship didn't figure the oxen were moving fast enough, so she gave the one straight in front of her a good jab with the ox-goad. Whereupon the ox gave out with a cough and a startled jump and delivered sufficient fresh bull-shit to give the good lady a dirty green in place of a clean white dress. The Heises recorded with us that this was the end of driving oxen so far as that lady was concerned.

 

      I was asleep in my shack one night when suddenly I felt the shack begin to move slightly. I immediately suspected an earthquake, but the movement wasn't very violent, just enough to be mysterious. I jumped out of my bunk and ran outside only to find a big red ox having a good scratch on the corner of my house. I  was so relieved I forgave him for wakening me out of a sound sleep.

 

      By late midsummer Dawson and I obtained deeds to our homesteads. Both of us had fairly good crops in the making and we decided to make the big plunge. And what a plunge it was!. We jointly purchased six quarter sections of land (960 acres), practically all of which was in a good state of cultivation. One half section adjoining our homesteads and included quite a respectable frame house and a good sized barn. We made only token down payments on all this land and contracted to pay off the purchase price, approx. $38,000 by half crop payments.

 

      Operations of this magnitude required tractor power and although there was no further cultivation required that year, we decided to get a large power outfit with which to thresh our present crops and to do as much custom threshing as we could and thus help to defray the cost of this very expensive power outfit. Both of us mortgaged our homesteads to make the token payments on the purchased land and the rather stiff down payment on the big tractor and threshing machine.

 

      We had a good threshing run. Our operating expenses were never less than $100 per day because we hired a full crew. We made some money but fell considerably short of our estimates. Our financing problems were intensified by the difficulty most of our customers had in making ready sale of their grain and the very low prices. We used the most of our oxen on stook wagons but as the season closed in we had a chance to sell them to fairly good advantage - part cash and a lien note for $800. When the day came to close down and pay off the crew our current balance at the Bank of Commerce was mighty low and I had to do some fast talking to the bank to raise the required cash, something in the neighborhood of $2500. However, I got the crew paid off, and as and when we could market our own grain, we got all our current liabilities paid off or settled for the year, including the Bank. I have never forgotten the compliments paid to me by the Bank Manager for keeping our affairs in a lot better shape than many big operators who were supposed to be financially strong. The Bank Manager assured me that he would see us through the next season with a good line of credit. Notwithstanding this assurance I thought it would be wise to have a "sheet anchor to windward" as it were just in case the Bank should change its mind the following Spring. We had several bills owing us and I proceeded to either obtain prompt payment or good chattel security.

 

     Dawson and I wintered quietly. Our main extravagance after a long siege of slavish work, was to spend Xmas and New Years in  Saskatoon where I visited my old friends the Elliotts. Bert was then in the hardware business.

 

      As the spring of 1913 approached I called on the banker to arrange a line of credit. We were faced with the expense of seeding close to 1500 acres of crop. This required a lot of money. The Bank had in the meantime, tightened up on credit and the Manager with some "crocodile tears" told me that he couldn't lend me a dollar. This was quite a crisis. However, I told him he would probably be the indirect means of providing us with a large part of the cash we needed by way of making several small loans to our debtors, or I would be obliged to seize the chattel security taken the previous Fall and the consequence would likely be that these debtors wouldn't be able to seed a crop. And that is how it worked out. The banker thought I was a tough young "so and so" but it was a matter of survival of the fittest as far as we were concerned. The fellow who owed us $800 on the lien note for the oxen said he couldn't pay for another six months but rather than lose the oxen he went to see my old friend Bill Phillips, the hardware man in Kindersley from whom I had bought my hammer and saw in the fall of 1909 . Bill spoke to me on the street one day and told me he would lend this fellow the $800 if I would pay him (Phillips) an account for $40 which had been in dispute between us for some time. To this I quickly agreed.

 

      Thus, by such devious ways and means I contrived to find the financing necessary for our seeding operations. Our position was helped some by the distress of a brother-in-law of the famous singer Harry Lauder. This fellow was acting for Lauder in the farming of a half section of land and was having great difficulty in finding someone to spring plow and seed that 320 acres.  I made a deal with him to plow the land for $1,000.,payable on a progress basis. He was to supply the seed and we would share equally in the crop proceeds. I recall that he imposed a time limit for the completion of the seeding and that Dawson and I worked like slaves, day and night, to meet that deadline. Dawson and I wintered quietly. Our main extravagance after a long siege of slavish work, was to spend Xmas and New Years in Saskatoon where I visited my old friends the Elliotts. Bert was then in the hardware business.

 

                 Up to this point I have not dwelt on anything but our purely physical farming operations and the trials that went along with them. But there was a social and spiritual side as well. The district had quickly filled up. A rural school district was formed. About a dozen of us dug the basement for that school by voluntary labour. The school served as the social centre for the whole community; concerts, dances and the like. Dawson was never much of a "ladies man" but he was with us in spirit just the same. I became quite and accomplished master of ceremonies at these and other school dances around the country. A rural hockey team was organized consisting of Sid Shea, the Mills brothers (3 of them), Byers, Monte Millar and me. Some hilarious times were had at places such as Smiley, Dewar Lake, Flaxcombe and Kindersley. These games were usually followed by a dance and a freezing drive home of anywhere up to twenty-five miles. In deference to my good wife I should record that some of the hockey players, including myself, were considered to be a rash lot of young hellions. We just played hard.

 

      On the spiritual side we had no church in the community apart from the Dunkard sect which had built a substantial church on the homestead of saintly Isaac Baker who had headed the emigration of his followers from the Collingwood district of Ontario. These were all fine people but their beliefs or practices were strange to the makeup of the rest of the population in that area.

 

      To provide religious services of a non-denominational nature, a number of us set about organizing a union Sabbath school to be conducted in our local public school. I recall the names of Bill Tyndall and his good wife Blanche, D. F. Taylor and his saintly "missus", Casey Campbell, the Mitchells and Mrs. Geo. Brillinger. I was in the organizing group and in a short time we raised funds to buy an organ and the necessary Sunday School supplies. The maximum attendance was about sixty people of all ages, and every one of us felt quite proud of our efforts.

 

       C.F. Taylor, being senior in point of years who along with his sons, Charlie, Bernard and Willis, were farming in a very large way, was appointed Superintendent. Good old C. F. - may his soul rest in peace - was a devout believer in the tenets of the Church of Christ Scientist, and it wasn't long before he began to impose some of these things on the Sunday School services. We had all sorts of people - Presbyterians, Methodists, Anglicans, Baptists, etc. and they didn't take kindly to this disruption of the principles of conducting our particular Sabbath school. Attendance began to fade. Things reached a climax one Sunday when the attendance was down to about a dozen adults. Mr. Taylor dispensed with the classes and distributed slips of paper containing a  quotation from the Bible. He asked each person to stand and read the scripture quotation upon which he would enlarge from the works of Rev. Sam Johnston. Everyone was getting madder by the minute including me. Mr. Taylor in his closing remarks made some comment about the slackening of interest in the Sunday School and asked if anyone had any suggestions to make. Apparently no one else was ready to say anything so I got to my feet and observed that the reason our Sunday School was failing was because he, Taylor, consciously or unconsciously had been doing his best to destroy it by injecting discussions which were not in keeping with the basis upon which the Sunday School was organized and with regret I asked, on behalf of the membership , that he forthwith resign as Superintendent.

 

      This caused quite a commotion but the other people solidly supported the stand that I had taken. The next day C.F. came to see me and admitted he was to blame, but what could be done to correct things at that stage, he didn't know. Harvest time was near and I suggested to him that during the next few months a lot of people would be working Sunday or weekday depending on weather and perhaps the wise thing would be to arrange a Sunday School concert and formally suspend our Sunday exercises until later in the year. That was done. The Sunday School never re-opened, and perhaps it would have been better if I had kept my mouth shut. But my old Presbyterian training was too deep rooted to let such things pass unnoticed. Thereafter most of our people went in to Kindersley for church a service which even then was on a "supply" basis.

 

      I have recorded these things about the Sunday School effort as some evidence that in spite of all my wandering up to that time and some of the foolish escapades in which I took some part, I had not forgotten my Christian upbringing. Indeed there were many times when the going was particularly rough, such as that first winter on the homestead I had prayed to God for strength and endurance and safety. Looking backward now, I realize that God treated me more kindly than I deserved on quite a few occasions.

 

      Nearly 30 years later I was destined to have an opportunity to discuss again with Mr. Taylor, in a scene far removed from Kindersley district the experiences we had as farmers and associates in forming that Sabbath School. He was then in his twilight years - nearing 80 years of age.

 

      I can quickly record the results of our 1913 farming operations. Summarized, they were disappointing and frustrating. Rust damaged our grain, prices were very low and the majority of the farmers were "sailing very close to the wind". Dawson and I were not able to meet nearly all our obligations but enough was salted away to seed another crop in the spring of 1914, but both of us realized that our complete failure depended on the results of that fateful year.

 

      Our 1914 crop was reduced in acreage to about 900 acres. The soil was in good shape and we put the crop in the ground as well as we knew how. During May, June and the first two weeks in July everything showed wonderful promise and we began to breathe easier. Then came the hot scorching winds typical of what can happen in that geographical area of Western Canada long known as the Palliser Triangle. Crops which were a lush dark green began to turn yellow in a matter of hours. In a few days, the growth simply withered and blew away, and with it went my hopes and dreams of making a fortune in a new land. There was no hope of being able to continue and I was too fed up and heartsick to make another effort. In short, I had shot the works in a big gamble which didn't pay off, but it was not for lack of trying hard.

 

      Early in August 1914, the 4th, I think, England declared war on Germany. Canada immediately followed suit. Mobilization for Foreign Service started at once. Dawson and I reviewed our position together. We quite frankly felt that there would be some measure of protection against creditors if the full partnership was not present. I had stood the brunt of our business  affairs up to that point, and all in all I felt that I was the one to enlist, which I did on the 14th August 1914, as a buck private in the 29th Light Horse Regiment. Thus was a new chapter in my life opened. It will take some telling, as follows.













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Subject: Homesteading in Kindersley



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