REPORT ON TOWNSHIP 53, RANGE 7, WEST OF THE FOURTH MERIDIAN
ACCESSABILITY AND ROADS
The town of Vermilion, a divisional point on the Canadian National railways is the local market and shipping point for this district. It is situated some 14 miles from the southeast corner of the township. A well-graded, well-travelled road runs north along the east side of sections 2, 11, 14, 23, 26 and 35. This road leads from Vermilion to Elk Point. Other less travelled roads lead through the township into this main artery of travel. In all there are 29 miles of well-travelled roads and, 25 miles of slightly used roads in the township. 40 per cent of these roads are cross country trails. As a general rule. these trails are in good condition, but in some parts they are somewhat rough due to the presence of small boulders. There are also 15 miles of 'government telephone lines.
Vermilion, a town of 1,200 population, has practically all the conveniences a farmer requires, elevators, creamery, flour mill, garages and stores, etc.
SURFACE AND SURFACE COVERING
The surface of this township is very variable. Approximately 63 quarters are rolling, 39 quarters are rolling to hilly, 33 quarters are gently rolling, and 9 quarters are. hilly. The surface covering is about as follows: 12 per cent under cultivation, 10 per cent law clay flats suitable only for pasture, 6 per cent low meadow land on which wild hay is harvested, the remainder being prairie land more or less bluffy.
Clay loam to a depth of from 4 to 12 inches over clay is found in sections 1, 2, 11, 12, 13, 24, 25 and 36 and the easterly part of 35, 26 and 23. There is a low lying area in sections 14, 23, 26 and another in 33 and 34 which have a clay soil producing wild hay. Sections 6, 7, 18 and 19 have a soil composed of fine sandy loam from 4 to 8 inches over a sandy loam subsoil. The surface of sections 31, 32, 30 and part of section 29 is of a fine sandy loam to a depth of from 6 to 10 inches with a subsoil of clay loam. The remainder is covered with black fine sandy loam to a depth of from 6 to 10 inches over a clay loam subsoil.
This township was settled about eighteen or twenty years ago. The settlers drove in from Edmonton which was then the nearest railway town. At present there are about sixty families in the township. The easterly part is settled with Canadians and Americans. The westerly part is peopled with Austrians and Russians.
At present most of the settlers use local poplar wood and supplement this supply with lignite coal from Edmonton district, which fuel costs $6 to $8 per ton at Vermilion.
Queenie creek, a small stream about 10 feet wide supplies water for stock ranging in sections 14, 23, 26, 33, 34 and 35. The remainder of the township is supplied with water from wells which are from 30 to 56 feet deep.
CROPS AND STOCK
Individual areas under crop in this township are not large. The settlers are raising wheat, oats, rye and barley. Usually these crops are harvested successfully and are of good quality. However, during the last 2, or 3 years, due to dry weather, crops have only been fair. All the various vegetables grown in the west are successfully raised here but only in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements of the settlers.
Mixed farming is to a great extent the chief industry. Each settler has from 10 to 30 head of stock of which about 8 or 16 are milk cows, the remainder are young stock. About 10 to 30 hogs are raised by each settler. These hogs eat up the rough grains and form not the least important source of revenue to the farmers of the township. The principal revenue is from the cream, which is taken to the creamery at Vermilion. A rancher in section 14 has some two hundred head of cattle.
HAY AND WINTER FEED
Considerable quantities of wild lowland hay are cut in this township. This supply is supplemented by rye hay, oat hay and straw.
POST OFFICES AND SCHOOLS
Mary Lake post office which is located in the southwest quarter of section 36 and Maughan which is located in the northeast quarter of section 34 in the township to the south supply the mail to the greater part of the settlers.
The education of the children is conducted in one-room schools which are located in the northeast quarter of section 1; in the northeast of section 8 in this township, and in northwest of 31-53-6.
The township is somewhat removed from shipping facilities, which accounts for the limited area under cultivation.
R. H. KNIGHT,
Dominion Land Surveyor.