Early Law: Robert E. Chanler
Little is known of his early life other than that he was an adventurous young man when he came to Canada at the turn of the century. When he arrived in this part of Canada, Alberta had not yet become a province. The area we now live in was still a part of the North West Territories. Soon after his arrival he became interested in the North West Mounted Police and decided to join the force. He was sent to the Regina Training School for his training in 1903. About the time he became fully trained, the North West Mounted Police had changed its name to the Royal North West Mounted Police (1904).
Originally the NWM Police was established at Fort McLeod in 1874. Its main purpose was to protect the early settlers as well as to quell the whiskey trade which was playing havoc with the Indians in Southern Alberta.
Chanler's first posting was to the Saddle Lake district in 1904. There he purchased a quarter section of land (NW 16-54-20-4) and soon built a shack on it that served both as his sleeping quarters and as an office to conduct his policing duties from. Chanler patrolled the area between Saddle Lake and Onion Lake on horseback for a number of years, often stopping at the telegraph station at Mooswa (now Lindbergh), to send telegrams to his head office in Regina, Saskatchewan.
An early tax receipt shows Chanler paid the sum of $2 taxes for his quarter section of land in 1904. It was paid to the Government of the North West Territories in Regina. The following year, Alberta became a province (1905).
Chanler retired from the force after a few years and carried on with his farming operation in the Saddle Lake district. With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Robert Chanler re-enlisted in the Royal North West Mounted Police and brushed up on his training at the Regina Training School. Upon completion of his training he again was posted to the territory he had previously patrolled when he first joined the Force. His regimental number was 2791. He stayed with the RNWM Police until the war ended and then retired again. While he was with the force he attained the rank of Corporal.
Chanter later sold his land in the Saddle Lake district and bought land in the Mooswa district (now Lindbergh), where he resumed farming on a small scale. His main interest was in dairy cattle and he soon was able to build up a fine herd of cows. He sold first grade cream to the Elk Point Creamery for many years. He kept cream fresh by storing it in a deep cool well until it could be delivered to Elk Point. Chanler lived on the quarter section of land that Don Lorenson now lives on (NW-24-56-5-W4). Over his gate he had a large sign erected which read "Coyote's Rest." For some unknown reason, he had no love for a coyote and whenever one passed near his farm he laid it to rest. He was an exceptionally good shot with his Winchester rifle and seldom did he miss his target.
"Bob," as he was known to everyone who knew him, was a likeable, well respected man who could relate many interesting stories, especially of his experiences while with the Royal North West Mounted Police. He kept a weather diary for over 50 years and seldom did he miss a day in recording weather conditions. Robert Chanler remained quite active until his death in 1956 at the age of 79 years. He was buried in the Lindbergh Cemetery.
Chanter played an active part in the Lindbergh district as well as the area in which he served, the area between Saddle Lake and Onion Lake during the pioneer years. He was very much a part of our past history.