Cinnamon Hugh

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by Howard

My Dad, Hugh Cinnamon, came from Leeds County, Quebec, in 1883, with his mother and father and two brothers. They came to the end of the rail at Swift Current, then carried on from there with horses to North Battleford. They ranched there until 1885 (year of Riel Rebellion). After the rebellion they were given a military county warrant, as well as homestead rights, so went looking for some hay land, which they found in the Vermilion flats, north of Vegreville. They ranched here for a few years, but had bad luck with cattle prices and poor crop years so gave it up and started on north.

Dad stopped at Athabasca and started up a feed barn and a butcher shop. In 1896 he married Velma Lawrence, who came from east of Montreal in Quebec as a teacher. She taught her first school at Whitford Lake. In March, 1899, they had their first baby, a boy, Harry, at Athabasca.

Dad bought land at Sturgeon River and farmed. He had a beautiful crop but, just as it was ready to harvest, a hail storm pounded it into the ground. Here is where I was born in August, 1900. He moved from here to Fort Saskatchewan on a farm. They had three more boys - Cleve, born at Agricola December 1903; Glen, December 1907; and Ted, November 1908.

In 1909 Dad left here and homesteaded S.E. 5-57-5-W4, in the Lindbergh area. Then the post office was Tyrol, and later Mooswa. I remember at Mooswa how Caleb Dunham used to hook up his oxen and gather up a sleigh load of people and go to a house dance at the old McClain farm in Ferguson Flats. They usually had a bite of breakfast before they left for home. In August, 1911, another baby boy was born, Wallace. Ours was now a family of six boys.

The house here was built of logs that had been hewed with a broad axe. The floor was made of hewed logs too. Any lumber needed was sawed by hand with a whip saw. This required a man at each end. The roof was made of split poles and chunks of sod placed on top. They had the misfortune of a fire and lost their home. They moved in with Grandfather in his little shack until another house was built up on top of the hill, which was later the Hardy Lawrence place.

After moving to Lindbergh, Dad took team and wagon and Harry (eleven years old) and went to Edmonton for supplies. Dad was going on to Rocky Mountain House to look for work as a timber man so Harry had to bring supplies back alone. He managed all right because people along the way were expecting photos Any time he ran into trouble he was helped and sent on his way.

When we lived in Lindbergh, three of us boys, one seven years, one eleven, and one twelve, broke up seventeen acres of land with three oxen and a walking plough. The first eighty-five acres broke on this place were with oxen.

About 1917 we moved again, across the river to what was known as Teddys' Flats. The post office there was called Monkman's Post Office. We raised cattle here for a few years but went broke. In 1920 we moved to Fort McMurray and made a living by working in timber mills, etc. We moved from here in 1923 to Saskatchewan and worked in harvest threshing, stooking, etc. In the following winter we lived at Chishoim and made ties. When we first came there, Dad was the only one who knew how to make ties.

In the spring of 1924 we moved to Nukusp, B.C., and logged. In the fall we moved to Gallaway, forty miles east of Cranbrook; and set up a camp making ties and mining props. This gave everyone a job with wages, such as they were, even Mother, as she was always the cook. We had a shower in camp. Pipes were run through a wood stove and through a barrel which was filled with water. A creamer can with a spout was filled with this warm water and hung on the wall. A tin can with holes in it was hung on the spout and, when the tap was turned on, you stood under and got a wonderful shower.

In the spring of 1925 we moved back to Ferguson Flats and Mother started teaching school. We boys went out to work for farmers and in logging camps, etc. Eventually, most of us ended up in Yellowknife, N.W.T., by 1938, when the big Gold Rush was on. Mother and Dad lived around this area, Mother teaching, until Dad passed away in 1936. In 1938 Mother went to Yellowknife with Dorothy Traver, who married Ted up there. Here she stayed until she passed away in 1946.

Harry married Mary Martin and had a family of four girls and four boys. Mary has passed away but Harry still lives in B.C. Cleve and I never married. Ted married Dorothy Traver and had one boy. They live in B.C.

Glen married Mick Sherwood from Yellowknife and had five girls and one boy. Wallace married Jean and had one boy.

We Cinnamon boys could tell some great stories. We did lots of walking and travelling with dog teams in the north. We are all still living and drawing a pension.