Potts, Andy

A.C. POTTS FAMILY

by Mrs. Andy Potts

We left Calgary on July 19, 1923, in a Model T one-ton Ford truck, which was loaded with all the furniture we could pack on it, while the rest was sent by rail. The mattress was laid out on top of the load behind the cab where the children rode during the day. They and I slept there at night while Andy slept under the truck.

We had lots of truck trouble coming so didn't reach the Elk Point ferry until July 27th. When we crossed to this side, the hill was so steep and slippery that we had trouble to get up. I was out trying to push the truck, when Hardy Lawrence came along and helped push. By the time we reached the top we were out of gas so Andy walked to town for gas, which he got from Raymond Keitges on credit, as all we had was l0 cents, half a loaf of bread, half a quart of milk and two small children. Bert was three and Grace was two so I had my hands full.

We proceeded out to the Mabley place -- S.E. 32-56-7-W4 --- where my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Herron, had come a week earlier. We were getting pretty hungry by the time we got there.

It was a black Christmas in 1923. We went to St. Paul on Dec.26, the roads were quite dusty and the stubble fields were full of prairie chickens.

In the spring of 1924 we moved to the Hockrud place --N.W. 32-56-7-W4-- which we had rented. The fall before, Andy had gone to the Hardisty area to thresh, where he made $500, so we had something to start with. We bought cows from all over the country, so the herd would never stay together, making it necessary to have bells on every few cows. I had never milked a cow in my life, then had to start in helping to milk fifteen head. How I suffered till I got used to the chore!

I spent more time in the saddle those first few years than I did on the ground, as there were very few fences.

Frances was born in November, 1925, with Dr. Miller and my mother in attendance. George was born in September, 1927, also at home, with Dr. Ross and my mother in attendance.

During the 20's we used to have house parties around the country. I remember we were having a party in January for our wedding anniversary. It was so cold out that the boys' homebrew froze so they brought it in to thaw out in the ash can of our McClary cookstove. It had a door on the side with a large ash can inside.

That house was so cold the coal oil froze in the lamp at night. I put the children to bed dressed in heavy sweaters with toques on their heads and hot bricks at their feet.

We hauled water over half a mile for over nine years. The first few years we drove the cattle about a mile to Cook Lake all winter long. We then dug a well on the south quarter so wintered the cattle and pigs there. A trip twice a day had to be made to feed and water the inside stock.

During the hungry thirties Andy would never take relief, so he hauled wood to town, also exchanged beef and vegetables for groceries. C.J. Markstad would send out a truck at threshing time for a load of wheat which was divided between him and Dr. Miller. We were selling eggs for 5 cents a dozen and cream for 10 cents a pound for special.

In the 20's there was no dance hall in the district so dances were held upstairs in McLean's house. It was one large room with no braces underneath, only the partition walls to hold everything up. When you were downstairs looking up you wondered what kept the folks from coming through as the floor was just heaving like an ocean, especially when they danced a square dance.

During the summer we picked all the wild fruit we could so there was something for winter besides snowballs. We went north of Armistice for blueberries, which we really prized as a person got tired of saskatoons all the time.

In the fall of 1933 we moved to the Haugland quarter --S.W. 32-56-7-W4-- which we had bought. Andy moved the old house to its present location and built onto it, so we finally had our own place to improve as we wanted to. After the times got better we purchased more land so by the time Andy passed away in September of 1963 we owned four quarters.

George and Cassie had their house in the same yard so Bert and George took over farm operations. I continued to live on the farm till the fall of 1972, when Bert and I moved into Elk Point, where I really enjoy living.

George left the farm in the spring of 1974 and now lives in Jasper Place. Frances (Mrs. Frank Regula) now lives on a farm out from Seba Beach, while Grace (Mrs. Kore Lien lives in Elk Point.