REPORT ON TOWNSHIP 51, RANGE 10, WEST OF THE FOURTH MERIDIAN
ACCESSIBILITY AND ROADS
This township is easily reached from the village of Minburn or Innisfree which are both on the Canadian National railways Edmonton to Winnipeg line. The former village is situated in section 14-50-10 and, the latter is at the northeast corner of section 3, township 51-11. From each of these prints excellent roads enter the township, and the main interprovincial highway between Edmonton and Saskatoon passes through Innisfree and thence north and easterly through this township. The distance from Innisfree to the west boundary of the township by the good road is three, miles, while the distance from Minburn to the south boundary of the township is about 4 miles.
Innisfree has a population of about 300. Most, lines of business essential to serve a farming community are represented here. One bank and three grain elevators have been established at this point, which greatly facilitate the marketing of grain. The train and mail service is good, there being a daily through passenger train each way and a daily local mixed freight and passenger train one way.
Minburn has a population of about 150. The extent of established business to serve the requirements of the adjacent farming community is as follows: three general stores, one bank, three grain elevators, and a few other lines of business in proportion to the above. There is a good school in the village, and classes are given up to and including grade 12.
SURFACE AND SURFACE COVERING
The easterly tier of sections in the township and sections 5, 6, 7 and 8, are generally rolling and somewhat rough lands. The remainder of the township is gently rolling or gently sloping. A summary of the surface covering is approximately its follows: 27 per cent cultivated; 10 per cent poplar to 4 inches; 10 per cent willow and poplar bush 6 to 12 feet in height and the remainder being about 53 per cent open prairie land.
The soil of the northeasterly quarter of the township and sections 19, 20, 29, 30, 31 and 32 is a loose black fine sandy loam averaging about 10 inches in depth and having a clay loam subsoil. The soil of the remainder of the township comprises mixed areas of black sandy loam, black fine sandy loam, fine sand and small areas of clay loam.
The settlement of this township commenced about twenty years ago with the greatest activity taking place just prior to and during the construction of the railway through this locality. At present there are about fifty families living in the township. All of the people are English speaking and are of Canadian, American, English, Irish or Scotch descent. The township forms a part of the municipality of Birch Lake, and from general conditions it would appear that this locality has received its fair share of municipal improvements. Within the township the Provincial Government has constructed about .20 miles of telephone lines, and as a consequence many of the farmers have the advantage of this service.
Good water is obtained from wells 20 to 70 feet in depth. The drainage for the greater part of the township is into the lower areas to form grassy sloughs and ponds. These are mostly dry during dry seasons when a fair quality of wild hay is cut from the slough lands.
Nearly all of the settlers use lignite coal for fuel, which is shipped in from Edmonton district, and which costs from $6 to $8 per ton at Innisfree and Minburn. A limited amount of fuel is secured from the poplar bush, where land is being cleared.
CROPS AND STOCKS
The chief grain crops grown in this locality comprise wheat, oats and rye while the fodder crops are oat and rye hay. As a general rule grain crops are successfully grown and harvested in this district, although a few partial crop failures have occurred due to frosts or drought. All the vegetables commonly grown in western Canada are raised here to meet the needs of the people. Vegetables are not grown extensively for the market.
Mixed farming is carried on by most of the farmers. All are well supplied with horses to meet their requirements, and the number of cattle owned by each farmer is between 30 and 40. A few of the farmers have herds of cattle numbering from 80 to 120 head. Because of the good shipping ,facilities and fair amount of open range, dairying is carried :!on to a considerable extent and cream is shipped to Edmonton, Vegreville and Mannville where a fair return is received. Nearly all of the farmers raise a few hop, but the number seldom exceeds 20, and the average is probably 12 to 15.
POST OFFICE AND SCHOOL
Practically all of the people within the township get their mail from Minburn which receives a daily mail from the east and from
the west. The schools to serve the educational need of the children are located at Minburn where three teachers are engaged, and in sections 3-51-10 and section 14-50-11 where one-roomed schools are established.
The township is very favourably situated with reference to shipping facilities. The soil of the township on the whole is fairly good and produces good crops.
(Sgd.) R. H. KNIGHT,
August, 1923. Dominion Land Surveyor.
It. H. KNIGHT,
Dominion Land Surveyor