Adventures on the Westward Trail
R-A1274 to R-A1281, R-A1664 to R-A1667
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Summaries of interviews
Interviews conducted in 1977 under a contract of the Saskatchewan Archives Board. Although stories about travelling on the old trails was the intended theme of this project, it became rather a jumping off point for general pioneer reminiscences. All but one of the informants was born in the last century. They were sons and daughters of the first Saskatchewan homesteaders who came from Ontario, the United Kingdom and Europe. Two of the informants were the sons of a ferry boat captain who operated the steam ferry Qu'Appelle on Last Mountain Lake from 1907 to 1913. Three accounts were collected of the trip west from Ontario. In one case the father of the family came west for the farming season while the rest of the family stayed behind minding the Ontario farm. The mother came out to cook for the harvest and returned to Ontario. Later, the father returned to Ontario for the winter. This commuting pattern continued for 15 years until the entire family moved west. The main reason for the delay in moving was to save Grandma from making the long journey and adjusting to frontier life in her old age, an interesting contrast to modern day attitudes towards the aged. The following describes some of the topics explored in the collection: an account of the planning for Regina's first music festival in 1909; laying the first cornerstone of the provincial legislative building; a description of the Hudson's Bay Trail running through the Condie area and the route it travelled; discussions of other early trails; a description of buffalo wallows still visible in the 1930s; a description of how a dog wheel works; early combining methods; relations with Native people; how plaster was once made with horse hair; ferrying settlers to their land claims on Last Mountain Lake; operating a family hotel on Last Mountain Lake around 1912; accounts of hauling supplies for troops during the Riel Rebellion; wheat varieties in the early 1900s; attending the first year of the new Agricultural College at the University of Saskatchewan in 1912; wintering in a log cabin 11 feet by 17 feet with eleven other men; descriptions of the first homestead houses made of sod, poles and logs; living in granaries; activities involved in the formation of the United Farmers and the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool; the Progressive Party; going to school at Boggy Creek early in this century; and working on the Qu'Appelle, a steam ferry on Last Mountain Lake.
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