Going West, 1911
Going West, 1911
Dad got two settlers cars, loaded one with stock, 4 horses, 2 milk cows a bred sow, a few crates of hens, a dog I think; and a water barrel which the railway filled every other day. The other car had household goods, farm equipment and odds and ends in it. As this was a settlers train, it had a passenger car and another one with a cook stove and some kitchen equipment in it where the women could prepare meals of a sort, do what washing had to be done for clothes and kids. There were five of us then I think and one or two others. The car seats opened out to sleep in but everyone had their own bedding. Each farmer could take one helper and young fellows wanting to go west were eager for the chance. There were three settlers from our area and each one had a helper , mostly relatives of course. There was a cousin of mothers with a wife and 2 kids with us who settled in Waseka, Saskatchewan. I don't know if there are any of them around yet or not, his name was Mark Macnamee.
I think it took about ten days to get to Kuroki, Saskatchewan. One of our cows had a calf at White River, Ontario. We were Roman Catholics and mother used to have us say the rosary very quietly at night so as not to disturb the other passengers in the car. One night a man who was travelling without his family heard us. He had a cow he was milking so she wouldn't go dry I think and mother washed his pail for him when he got through in the morning. After she washed it the next morning he thanked her and said it looks more protestant now. Mother said "Yes, but it took a papist to do it". There was considerably more rivalry between religions then, nowadays people don't take enough interest in it it seems.
I remember we stopped in a cut coming around Lake Superior on a bright moonlit night. As we were there quite a while I got out and looked up toward the top of it. I could hardly believe a cut could be so deep. I was so impressed with it then that I came from Smith Falls by train in the seventies to Winnipeg just to see that bit of scenery. It took twelve hours to go from Smith Falls to Winnipeg which is approximately half way to Edmonton I think, and just over two hours by plane the rest of the way.
When we arrived at Winnipeg on the settler's train, we had to wait there for three hours and as mother had another cousin living there in the undertaking business of all things, she phoned him and he came and took us home with him for lunch. She wanted him to come out to Saskatchewan with us. He said "No, nobody ever dies out there. I'd probably starve to death."