In 1911 our grandfather came west from Ontario on a "harvester's special". He got off at Fort Walsh, where he found work as a laborer, cook, and cowboy. We've lived in and loved Alberta ever since. Jewel of the Canadian West is an occasionally updated blog about Southwestern Alberta's people and places. The best corner of the best province in the best country in the world, I like to say. Welcome to The Jewel of The Canadian West!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tractor Genes

Herewith a recently acquired photo from Big Ian dated June 19th, 1954, wherein Our Hero forsakes his trusty mount for a more advanced form of horsepower.  Jim Arnold showing Yours Truly the finer points of heavy machinery at 229 - 39th Ave. SW in Calgary.  Now we know where David Jr. (and Alex) get their affection for John Deere!  (Although this is probably a Cockshutt!)

Susan and The Horse

In this just-discovered old photo from Big Ian, my sister Susan is getting her first riding lesson at age 1 1/2 on Jim Arnold's farm at 229 - 39th Avenue SW, Calgary.  The date is June 15th, 1954.  (Of course the guy holding her in the saddle is Yours Truly, by then a seasoned pro rider.)  Her equestrian education (and mine) was to continue years later in Lethbridge on a farm where the Lethbridge College now stands.  Yahoo!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bond, The Whisky Trader

"Bond, the whisky trader, had not yet heard of the coming of the rugged, red-coated Mounties.  His wagon bounced joltingly over the rough ground, but Bond was happy.  This journey in the year 1874 had already brought him 116 buffalo robes, and the trip was young.  The wagon was heavy with kegs of alcohol, and the Indians were eager to offer him a buffalo pelt for each fiery pint.  Four of Bond's men drove wagons behind him.  They were armed with Henry rifles.  A wandering tribe would think twice before it fell on such a party and tried to take the whisky by force.  Most of the traders were dead shots.  In his mind, Bond was spending the rich profits which he felt sure would be his.  He thought longingly of the gambling casinos and plush hotels in Helena, south of the border.  Life seemed good to Bond.  He had even built his own stockade.  He wasn't going to divide his money with the Fort Whoop-Up gang.  Then, from out of the dusk came a command: "Halt, in the name of the Queen!"  The American had forgotten that the British Empire was ruled by a queen, whose name was Victoria.  But now Bond saw before him a tall man on a prancing horse.  The man wore a red jacket with frayed cuffs.  On his head was a white helmet.  Behind him in the gloom were other men on horseback.  Bond knew nothing of the North West Mounted Police, but he sensed danger.  One of Bond's men reached for a rifle at his feet.  "I'd put that down if I were you," said the tall man quietly.  The trader hesitated, then dropped the gun.  Inspector Crozier lifted the heavy tarpaulin on the wagon driven by Bond.  Beneath the canvas he saw casks of whisky, sinister rows of rifles, and heaps of buffalo robes.  "I think we'd better go to Fort Macleod," said the Inspector.  "Where's that?" asked Bond.  "You'll soon find out," replied the Mountie, from behind his thick dark moustache.  At Fort Macleod the Constables were already in barracks but the officers still lived in tents.  Macleod believed in the best food and quarters for the enlisted men.  He thought this was the way to have high morale under difficult conditions.  The traders were brought before the Assistant Commissioner.  He eyed them sternly while Inspector Crozier presented the evidence.  Macleod fingered one of the thick robes.  "The Indians need these for teepees and for clothing," he said.  "You have taken away their robes and given them nothing except alcohol, which wrecks their health and ruins their sanity."  The traders shifted their feet nervously.  For possessing liquor in Indian country, each of the whisky traders was fined fifty dollars.  The head trader, Bond, had to pay a fine of $200 and go to the log jail, because he sold alcohol to an Indian named Three Bulls.  The Indian testified against Bond at the brief trial.  The traders cursed angrily as the Mounties opened the casks and let the whisky run out onto the snow.  The buffalo robes were returned to the Indians.  "Tell your friends this is only the beginning," said Macleod to the traders, who went free after paying their fines." - from Royal Canadian Mounted Police by Richard L. Neubergter (Random House, New York, 1953)