Who and What was a ‘Ditchrider’? A Series of Stories.

For Part One What was a ditchrider? click here  What was a Ditchrider?

For Part Two the story of Ted Staves click here  Edward-“Ted”-Staves

For Part Three the story of Joe Bannerman click here Joseph-McKay-Bannerman

For Part Four the story of Fred Woods click here Frederick-George-Woods

For Part Five the story of John Smith McKay John-Smith-McKay  

For Part Six the story of James Henry May  click here  James-Henry-May

For Part Seven the story of Edward Ross click here Edward-Ross

Who and What was a ‘Ditchrider’?   Part One 

~  by Kay Clarke, CHF Member

Chestermere Lake was first constructed by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) as part of an irrigation system and originally known as Reservoir # 1 by the CPR.  After the water was flowing in 1906, many people were needed to make sure that it kept moving to meet the needs of those farmers who would benefit from irrigation. One group of CPR Irrigation Department (CPID) employees vital to keeping things operating efficiently were called “Ditchriders”. They were the front line, so to speak. Chestermere had a Ditchrider from the time the irrigation system became operational.  What were they expected to do and who were they?

At first glance it seems like a great job. All one had to do was ride up and down the irrigation ditches. Well wait a moment, there was a lot more to it than that. In 1923 Canadian Pacific Railway Irrigation Branch produced circular number 31, called “Instructions for Ditchriders” [1] with several sections. The following is a summary of the Ditchrider’s responsibilities.

In looking through this directive you notice that there is a lot of paperwork to be done daily from April 1st to November 1st.  There were reports daily to the Watermaster (the Ditchrider’s direct supervisor) and the Superintendent.  It was impressed on these employees that they were the face of the CPR Irrigation system and that they should act accordingly. They were instructed to be impartial and fair but firm in all their dealings with water users and to record conversations and work so as to have a record in the case of dispute or lawsuit.

The next thing that one notices when looking at the circular is that the Ditchrider was expected to have a lot of knowledge about irrigation, crops and be able to give that information to farmers or water users who required it.

The job itself was to patrol the ditches, making sure that gophers, badgers and muskrats had not put holes in the banks. They needed to ensure that grasses not weeds were growing and that the fences were in good condition. They needed to be able to open water gates as required (after the proper paperwork was in place). They were expected to work 10-hour days from April 1st to November 1st.

One of the jobs in 1923 was to patrol the telephone lines as this was an essential part of the daily reporting system.

The circular lists the items that the Ditchrider should have and the items that the “Company” (CPID) would provide.  CPID supplied a house and barn (big enough to house two horses) and five to eight acres of land with which the Ditchrider was expected to feed his animals.  The Ditchrider was expected to acquire two horses as well as a buggy and saddle. The Company could supply these but would deduct the cost from his salary. The Ditchrider was allowed not more than two cows and their calves, a sow and piglets and 100 poultry. He was not allowed to sell or give away any of the produce. If there was extra, it was to go to the company stores. The Ditchrider was also warned that care of the animals or crops was not to interfere with the job.  The circular states that if the Ditchrider wanted to farm he should go elsewhere to do so.

Chestermere Historical Foundation is researching this important piece of our history and will provide brief biographies of those who filled the Chestermere Ditchrider position and lived in the Ditchrider home which was located at the SE corner of the Lake (Reservoir).

A pdf version for printing is available 2020 What is a Ditchrider Part One April 7

[1]  Robert S. Stockton, “Instructions for Ditchriders,” 1923. Irrigation Research Project (W.L. Jacobson) Collection, Series 2, M-3761-34, Glenbow Archives, Archives and Special Collections, University of Calgary. Read a transcription here. Ditchrider Guidelines Transcribed 

c Kay Clarke and Chestermere Historical Foundation.  All Rights Reserved. 08 Apr 2020

NB 39 352 photo By WID Courtesy of Glenbow Archives, Archives and Special Collections, University of Calgary.A Griffin, GH Patrick catching 3 young badgers Glenrose District 13 June 1924

Edward “Ted” Staves: Chestermere Ditchrider (1919-1933)  Part Two 

Ted Staves was born on 10 January 1878[1] in Thorpe-le-Vale, Lincolnshire, England[2] and grew up in the town of Market Rasen where his father worked as a maltster.[3] At age 14, Ted was employed as an errand boy for a local baker[4] and by 1901 had moved to Accrington, Lancashire where he worked as a railway engine cleaner.[5] In February 1904,[6] Ted married Margaret Ellen Boothman who was born in Church, Lancashire on 25 May 1873[7]. Like her father and sisters, she worked as a cotton weaver from a early age.[8] By 1911, Ted and Margaret had two children, daughter May and son Joseph Edmund, both born in Church, and Ted was employed as a stoker in a print works.[9] Leaving his family in England, Ted departed Liverpool aboard the Canadian Pacific ship Empress of Britain, landing at the port of Halifax on 14 March 1914.[10] He travelled across Canada by rail to Strathmore where he found work with the CPR as the telephone lineman in charge of the Western Section.[11]

On 14 October 1915, nineteen months after setting foot on Canadian soil, Ted enlisted at Calgary as a private in the 82nd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. His attestation paper described him as standing five feet, eight and a half inches tall, with black hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. It was also noted that he had previously served three years with the Lincoln Volunteers. Ted left Halifax on 20 May 1916, again aboard the Empress of Britain which had been converted to a troop ship and arrived at Liverpool on the 29th.  In mid-March he was transferred to the 9th Reserve Battalion and then to the 50th Battalion (Infantry) on 20 August, arriving in France the next day. Early in 1917, Ted was trained as a non-commissioned officer and received promotion to the rank of Corporal on 11 March. [12]

The 50th took part in the now-immortalized Battle of Vimy Ridge from April 9 – 12 and suffered heavy casualties. (https://www.warmuseum.ca/the-battle-of-vimy-ridge/) Ted was amongst the wounded, having received a gunshot wound to the face on 12 April  which severely fractured his lower jaw.[13] The Battalion’s War Diary recorded that, “During the day and throughout night of 12th/13th enemy snipers and artillery were very active.”[14] Ted was evacuated to a field hospital before being sent to England for surgery. He was promoted to Sergeant on 10 May and was subsequently awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field.[15] (https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/medals-decorations/details/53 )

The medal citation reads, “In the attack on The Pimple, Vimy Ridge, April 12, 1917. He showed great bravery and devotion to duty during the attack. Although he was seriously wounded in the face during the advance he persisted to the final objective and would have remained there had he not been ordered back. His report to Headquarters on the way to the dressing station was clear and accurate and of great value in reinforcing the line. No doubt his action was partially responsible for successfully repelling the counterattack which developed soon afterwards on this part of the line.”[16]

Following a second operation in October 1917 and the fitting of dentures, Ted was declared medically unfit for duty and invalided back to Canada aboard the hospital ship Araguaya, arriving at Halifax on 16 February 1918. He was finally discharged from the service on 26 June at Calgary.[17]

Likely in late 1918, Ted secured employment with the CPR as the Chestermere ditchrider and his family joined him in early January 1919.[18] The original Chestermere Headquarters property had recently been purchased by the previous ditchrider, Fred Woods, so the Staves family moved into a newly constructed company house located further south. The October 1918 Superintendent’s monthly report described the property as follows: “The new house and barn at Chestermere Headquarters were finished on the 26th of the month except for placing rollers and track on the barn door and some window stop for the house, the material for which had not been supplied. This house and barn looks well and it is thought will be a most comfortable and desirable headquarters as has yet been built.”[19] Near neighbour Kate MacKenzie recalled, “The CPR built a new house nearer to the headgates for Mr. Staves who took over. He was a returned man. He did a hard work breaking the land around the new house almost by hand and planted trees. This was to be a demonstration of what irrigation could do.”[20] In 2002, Kate’s granddaughter Kay Clarke wrote, “For many years the grounds were beautiful with flowering trees of all kinds, some of which are still growing in spite of many years of neglect.”[21]

Ted served as Chestermere ditchrider until his tragic death at age 55 in 1933. On the morning of 9 August, he borrowed his son’s rifle, presumably to shoot a muskrat that was causing damage to the canal bank. When he failed to return to make his morning report to the Dalroy Watermaster, his son went to find him and discovered his father near the fence about 200 yards from the house with a gunshot wound to the head. He died in hospital in Calgary that afternoon. The subsequent Coroner’s jury found that the fatal injury had likely occurred when the gun’s trigger caught on the barbed wire and discharged as Ted crawled through the fence.[22] His funeral was held on 12 August and he was buried in the Field of Honour at Burnsland Cemetery.[23]

Following Ted’s death, his wife and daughter moved to Calgary where Margaret died in September 1944. Daughter May trained as a teacher, married James Peebles in 1935 and had one daughter. She died in Calgary in 1971. Son Joseph E. worked for the CPR telephone system at Strathmore and later for Alberta Government Telephones. He married Grace Grover in 1930, had a son and two daughters and died in Edmonton in 1970. [24]

© Eileen E. McElroy and Chestermere Historical Foundation 2020

Photo L – second ditch rider house Nov 5 1918. Glenbow Archives – Photographer Western Irrigation District.  First one was bought by the Woods family.

Photo R – Calgary Herald 1922.

Print version of story. Edward Staves 22 Apr 2020

See more newspaper articles about Ted Staves  2020 What is a Ditch Rider Part Two STAVES newspaper clippings

[1] Edward Staves Attestation Paper, 1915. Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 9248-22, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=248587

[2] 1881 Census of England, Lincolnshire, Market Rasen, Joseph Staves household; digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881; RG11, Piece 3281, Folio 49, Page 7.

[3] Ibid.

[4] 1891 Census of England, Lincolnshire, Market Rasen, Joseph Staves household; digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891; RG12, Piece 2623, Folio 49, Page 25.

[5] 1901 Census of England, Lancashire, Accrington St. Peter, John Dixon household; digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901; RG13, Piece 3859, Folio 43, Page 8.

[6] Edward Staves Service File, Regimental number 160640. Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 9248-22, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=248587

[7] “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NKJ9-957: 19 March 2020), Margaret Ellen Boothman, 1873.

[8] 1891 Census of England, Lancashire, Oswaldtwistle, Church, John Boothman household; digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing The National Archives of the UK (TNA); Kew, Surrey, England; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891; RG12, Piece 3411, Folio 133, Page 40.

[9] 1901 Census of England, Lancashire, Oswaldtwistle, Church, Edward Staves household; digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing The National Archives of the UK (TNA); Kew, Surrey, England; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911; RG14, Piece 25137.

[10] Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. Passenger Lists, 1865–1935, RG 76, Roll T-4752. Ancestry.com. Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.

[11] “Local Jottings,” Strathmore and Bow Valley Standard, October 27, 1915, 1. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1915/10/27/1/

[12] Edward Staves Service File, Regimental number 160640. Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 9248-22, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=248587

[13] Ibid.

[14] War Diaries of the 50th Canadian Infantry Battalion, 1916/08/10-1917/12/31. RG9-III-D-3, Volume/box number 4941, File number 441, Ministry of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada fonds, Canadian War Office Records. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/collectionsearch/Pages/collectionsearch.aspx?q=9-52%20war%20diaries%2050th%20Battalion&

[15] Edward Staves Service File, Regimental number 160640. Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 9248-22, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=248587

[16] E. Staves Military Medal Citation Card, 1917. Honours and Awards Citation Cards, 1900-1969 (Accession 2004-01505-5, volume 63. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. Ancestry.com. Canada, Military Honours and Awards Citation Cards, 1900-1961 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

[17] Edward Staves Service File, Regimental number 160640. Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 9248-22, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=248587

[18] May (Staves) Peebles, “The Staves Family,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 414.

[19] Robert S. Stockton, October 1918 Monthly Report, 4 November 1918, Western Irrigation District fonds, Series 6 – Project Manager’s monthly reports, M-2273-161, Glenbow Archives, Archives and Special Collections, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.

[20] Kay Clarke, email communication, April 4, 2020.

[21] Ibid.

[22] “Staves Fatality Found Accidental,” Calgary Daily Herald, August 12, 1933, 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479781314

[23] Sgt. Edward Staves (1878-1933), Find a Grave Memorial 135987294, added September 16, 2014. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/135987294

[24] May (Staves) Peebles, “The Staves Family,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 41

Joseph McKay Bannerman: Chestermere Ditchrider (1908 ? to 1912) Part Three

Joseph was born in Kildonan parish, Sutherland, Scotland on 12 March 1851 and grew up in Navidale where his father was employed as a labourer. [1] [2]  He emigrated to Canada while still in his teens and lived in Ontario for some years.[3] Joseph moved to Edmonton and then to Calgary in 1883.[4] One of his early business ventures was a tobacco and cigar store located on Stephen Avenue.[5] On 15 September 1885 he married Christina Miller Sutherland in Winnipeg.[6] Christina, the daughter of a blacksmith, was born on 28 May 1857 in Helmsdale, Kildonan parish, Sutherland.[7] She emigrated to Belleville, Ontario with her family in 1875 before moving to Winnipeg about 1881.[8] Following her marriage, she came to Calgary with her husband where together they had a family of four sons and two daughters.[9] Joseph partnered with his brother James in a flour and feed business and also operated a wholesale liquor business.[10] He was active in civic and social affairs and the curling club.

In January 1888, Joseph made application for a homestead on SW ¼ 36-24-1 W5M, began occupying it on 30 July 1888, and received patent on 14 September 1892.[11] This property is now covered by the south half of McCall Lake Golf Course. The Bannermans built a house there and called it Morven Cottage, perhaps in reference to a mountain of the same name near their old home in Scotland. [12]  The 1891 census recorded Joseph’s occupation as a “rancher” employing an average of two people per year.[13] He had likely purchased additional property to add to his original quarter section homestead.

In January 1894 he was one of three alderman elected to represent Ward 1 on the council of the newly proclaimed City of Calgary and in October 1894 he became the member for East Calgary to the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly.[14] [15] This electoral district extended east at least as far as Gleichen and the Assembly sat at Regina so Joseph would have travelled regularly. He ran again in the fall of 1898 but lost his seat to A.E. Cross.[16] At the time of the 1901 census he and his family were living on their homestead and he was a rancher.[17] In January 1904, Joseph’s property was one of a number that were searched by the police during their hunt for the notorious escaped murderer, Ernest Cashel.[18]

Christina Bannerman died on 9 April 1907, leaving Joseph to care for the children, two of them under ten years old. At Calgary in 1908 he married Emma Northfield, who was born in 1870 in Harston, Cambridgeshire, England and came to Canada in 1906.[19] [20] [21] Joseph and Emma had two daughters together.

The first person known to have worked for CPR at Chestermere was Joseph Bannerman. It is uncertain when he began his association with the Irrigation Department or when he moved to the Chestermere area, but it appears to have been some time after the death of his first wife. He was certainly living at the lake by October 1910 when two people got in trouble after they fell out of their canoe. Fortunately, CPR employee G.H. Patrick was close at hand and rescued them in a gasoline powered launch. According to the Calgary Daily Herald, “They were taken ashore, and after a short walk reached the home of Joe Bannerman, where dry clothing was secured and stimulants were applied.”[22] The 1911 census enumerated Joseph, Emma and his two youngest children living in the area. His occupation was recorded as “Inspector CP Irrigation canal” – certainly a much grander title than ditchrider![23]

The MacKenzies were neighbours of the Bannermans who lived about a mile to the southeast on the opposite side of the canal. In the mid-1960s, Kate MacKenzie recorded some memories of her family’s early days in the district. One such anecdote related an incident when her young children were showing her insects they had captured. She wrote, “Jean came with both hands closed, she opened her hand to show me a lanky grasshopper. I call this one father she said and opening the other hand to show me a big fat cricket she said I call this one Mr. Bannerman.”[24] It can be surmised from this that Joseph was probably a large man, at least in comparison to Mr. MacKenzie.

Joseph’s work as an irrigation man ended in the spring of 1912. Bessie Hinchey, daughter of his successor Fred Woods, wrote, “For one month the two families lived together. Then Bannermans moved on.”[25] A brief item in the newspaper on 11 April 1912 reported that Joseph and family had left to spend the summer in Banff.[26] They apparently enjoyed the mountain community as they moved there permanently.

While living in Banff, Joseph continued to pursue his interests in politics, curling and local affairs. Emma died on 28 February 1917 in Banff.[27] In 1920 Joseph married her sister Ruth, born about 1869 in Harston, Cambridgeshire.[28] Joseph died at the home of a daughter in Calgary on 17 April 1932 and was laid to rest beside his first wife in Union Cemetery.[29] [30] Ruth returned to England and died in Cambridge in 1951.[31]

Read a printable version here 2020 BANNERMAN Joseph by E McElroy as PDF with Photos

© Eileen E. McElroy and Chestermere Historical Foundation 2020

[1] “Joseph Bannerman Pioneer Profile,” Southern Alberta Pioneers and Their Descendants, accessed April 3, 2020, http://pioneersalberta.org/profiles/b.html

[2] Scotland 1851 Census, Kildonan, Thomas Bannerman household; digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing 1851 Scotland Census, Kildonan, ED 2, Page 9, Line 18, Roll CSSCT1851_12, General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.

[3] “J.M. Bannerman, Pioneer, Passes,” Calgary Daily Herald, April 18, 1932, 9. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479269435/

[4] Ibid.

[5] George Babington Elliott and Thomas S. Burns, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, her industries and resources (Calgary: Burns & Elliott, 1885), 27. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/bibliography/1436.html

[6] Bannerman – Sutherland Marriage index entry, registration no. 1885-001197, Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency. https://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca/Query.php

[7] Statutory Registers: Births, database and images, ScotlandsPeople (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk: downloaded 13 April 2020), ref. 052/26, image of birth registration for Christina Miller Sutherland, born 28 May 1857, registered 5 June 1857, Parish of Kildonan, County of Sutherland.

[8] “The Late Mrs. Bannerman,” Daily Herald, Calgary, April 17, 1907, 11. https://www.newspapers.com/image/478940603/

[9] Ibid.

[10] “J.M. Bannerman, Pioneer, Passes,” Calgary Daily Herald, April 18, 1932, 9.

[11] Joseph Banerman [sic] entry, database and digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing Homestead Grant Registers, R190-75-1-E, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

[12] “Wedding Last Night” and “Married: Campbell-McKay,” Calgary Daily Herald, August 6, 1891, 1. https://www.newspapers.com/image/478940603/

[13] 1891 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-6425, Northwest Territories, district 197, subdistrict A, division 17, page 50, family 208, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1891&op=img&id=30953_148227-00458

[14] “List of Calgary municipal elections,” Wikipedia, last modified March 19, 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Calgary_municipal_elections

[15] “North-West Territories: Council and Legislative Assembly, 1876-1905,” Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, https://www.saskarchives.com/sites/default/files/documents/NWT-Council.pdf

[16] Ibid.

[17] 1901 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-6551, The Territories, Alberta, Nose Creek, division 1, page 6, family 38, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1901&op=&img&id=z000179157

[18] “Cashel the American Desperado Captured This Afternoon,” The Daily Herald, Special Edition, Calgary, January 25, 1904, 1. https://www.newspapers.com/image/478938475/

[19] Bannerman – Northfield marriage registration index entry, Provincial Archives of Alberta, registration no. 1903 (1908 “L”), https://provincialarchives.alberta.ca/sites/default/files/2018-10/grooms-ba-1877-1918.pdf

[20] “Death of Mrs. Bannerman,” Crag and Canyon, Banff, March 3, 1917, 1. https://cdm22007.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p22007coll2/id/25427/rec/4

[21] 1911 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-20326, Alberta, Calgary, Subdistrict 4, page 23, family 216, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e011069907

[22] “A Long Way Down,” Calgary Daily Herald, October 17, 1910, 1. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481805246/

[23]1911 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-20326, Alberta, Calgary, Subdistrict 4, page 23, family 216, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e011069907

[24] Kay Clarke, email communication, April 20, 2020.

[25] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 247.

[26] “Calgary Society,” Calgary Daily Herald, April 11, 1912, 20. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481562003/

[27] “Death of Mrs. Bannerman,” Crag and Canyon, Banff, March 3, 1917, 1. https://cdm22007.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p22007coll2/id/25427/rec/4

[28] Bannerman – Northfield marriage registration index entry, Provincial Archives of Alberta, registration no. 1829 (1920), https://provincialarchives.alberta.ca/sites/default/files/2018-10/grooms-ba-1919-1930.pdf

[29] “J.M. Bannerman, Pioneer, Passes,” Calgary Daily Herald, April 18, 1932, 9. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479269435/

[30] “Complete Funeral Arrangements for Joseph Bannerman,” Calgary Daily Herald, April 19, 1932, 9. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479269453/

[31] England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010; citing Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England, London, England.

Joseph Bannerman 1896 PAA A3827

Frederick George Woods: Chestermere Ditchrider (1912 to 1918) Part Four

One of eight children, Fred Woods was born in Midsomer Norton, Somerset, England in May 1876 and was baptized on the 10th of September in the parish church.[1] [2] [3] At the time of his birth, his father was employed as the local railway station agent. In 1891 by the age of fourteen he was already employed as an ironmonger’s assistant, a job which he also held ten years later.[4] [5]

Perhaps seeking better opportunities on the other side of the pond, Fred left Liverpool aboard the RMS Victorian on 7 June 1906 and disembarked on the 16th at Montreal, bound for Toronto.[6] Just six months later, on December 27th, he crossed into the U.S. at Detroit. The border crossing card described him as being 5 feet 1½ inches tall, and of ruddy complexion with brown hair and blue eyes. His stated occupation was that of carriage builder and he had most recently been resident in Hamilton, Ontario.[7] After a period in the States, Fred returned to Canada and worked various jobs including on the CPR irrigation survey. When his intended bride was to arrive in Canada, he secured the position of ditchrider at Dalroy.[8]

Bessie Jane Hook was born in June 1875 in Bridgwater, Somerset, England where her father was a self-employed master tailor.[9] [10] She was baptized at Holy Trinity Church on 6 October 1875.[11] By 1901, Bessie was employed in Swansea, Wales as governess to four young children.[12] She boarded Canadian Pacific’s RMS Empress of Ireland at Liverpool on 11 March 1910, landed at Saint John, New Brunswick on the 18th, and made the long journey across the country on CPR trains.[13] [14] Fred and Bessie were married in Calgary on 24 March 1910 and went to live in the Dalroy district.[15] The contrast between the climate and surroundings of her native England and the new home on the Canadian prairies was something of a shock to Bessie. Decades later, her daughter wrote that in the summer of 1910, despite being hot and dry, the prairie was plagued by mosquitoes. Bessie missed the green of England and being surrounded by neighbours. She had to learn to bake bread, dress chickens, pump water and numerous other chores required of country women. The first year she boarded ten men.[16] The Woods’ first daughter Margaret Irene was born in April 1911.[17]

After two years at Dalroy, the Woods family moved to the Chestermere headquarters where they lived with outgoing ditchrider Joseph Bannerman and his family for a month.[18] Neighbour Kate MacKenzie recalled, “Fred Woods came to take the job of ditch rider in place of Mr. Bannerman.  He brought his wife and baby Margaret, so now we had another fine neighbour.”[19]

While living at Chestermere, the Woods’ second daughter Bessie Mary was born. Referencing this event, Kate MacKenzie’s daughter Agnes Lester later wrote, “On 14 February 1915 Mother went up to see our new neighbour, the Woods, the ditchrider and family to the north. We knew that Mrs. Woods was expecting and when she got there the baby girl had already arrived very early that very day. Mr. Woods had the only telephone in the country and had got a nurse out of Calgary. Mother helped him get the bread that Mrs. Woods had started that morning into the pans before she came back with the exciting news.”[20]

In writing her family’s story for the 1971 local history book, Bessie (Woods) Hinchey described the first Chestermere ditchrider house and outbuildings. “The house when I remember it first was “C.P.R. green” with white trim. It was a three bedroom bungalow, built prairie style, no hallways and no closets, small bedrooms but fair sized living room, small dining room and a lean-to kitchen. There was a shop building we called the shack, which had two lean-to sheds attached, a shed in which we kept the one seat buggy that took us to school for many years, the other the coal house filled yearly with coal. Next door was the pumphouse, which housed a pump above a deep well.”[21] “East of the house we had a green barn, small with a pointed roof, with eight stalls, a small chicken yard, feed bins and a hen house, where we kept around 50 hens, to produce eggs and meat mostly for our own use.”[22] It is not clear how many of the outbuildings were part of the original CPR site and how many were added over the years by Fred, but at minimum the house and barn would have been built by the CPR.

Apparently grain and cattle prices were good in 1918 so when the opportunity arose to purchase the Chestermere headquarters, Fred decided to retire from ditchriding and become a farmer. He seeded his first crop in 1919 and experienced the ups and downs of agriculture throughout droughts, bumper crops, and the Depression in the ensuing years.[23] Fred had a passion for mechanical things and spent his spare time keeping the gasoline pump engine and his Model-T Ford in good running condition.[24]

Fred Woods was the only Chestermere ditchrider that remained in the community after his term of employment. He died in hospital on 3 September 1943 following a brief illness and was buried in Burnsland Cemetery.[25] His wife Bessie rented the farmland to neighbour Pete Lester (Kate MacKenzie’s son-in-law), sold the livestock, machinery and household effects at an auction sale in November 1943, and moved to Calgary.[26] [27] “The farm house was rented to a succession of tenants, then stood vacant, was stripped by vandals, then burnt by a fire bug.”[28]

Bessie died on 25 November 1965 and was buried in Burnsland beside Fred.[29] Daughter Margaret married Bernard A. “Tom” Pople, had one son, and died in Calgary in January 1988.[30] Daughter Bessie married Glenn B. Hinchey, had two sons and a daughter, and died in Hawaii in August 2001.[31]

The complete Woods family story from Saddles Sleighs and Sadirons is available online at https://cdm22007.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p22007coll8/id/533614/rec/6

The Chestermere district of Kinniburgh sits on the land farmed by the George and Bessie Woods.

Photos – Fred, Bessie and baby Margaret Woods;  Fred, Bessie, Margaret (standing behind Bessie) and Bessie Mary Woods; map of location of their home; share certificate Bessie Woods Chestermere Country Club 1931 ( original in possession of Chestermere Historical Foundation); auction sale ad; obituaries of Fred and Bessie. 

© Kay Clark, Eileen McElroy and Chestermere Historical Foundation 2020

A pdf copy of this for printing is available here. 2020 Woods Fred May 21

[1] “Chestermere Lake Pioneer Dies,” Calgary Herald, September 4, 1943, 21. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479862567/

[2]  1911 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-20326, Alberta, Calgary, subdistrict 2, page 9, family 23, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e011069867

[3] Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1914 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016; citing Reference Number D\P\MSN/2/1/13, Anglican Parish Registers, Somerset Archives & Local Studies, South West Heritage Trust, Taunton, England.

[4] 1891 England Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005; citing Census Returns of England and Wales, Public Record Office, 1891, RG12, Piece 1927, Folio 7, Page 8, GSU roll 6097037, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.

[5] 1901 England Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005; citing Census Returns of England and Wales, Public Record Office, 1901, RG13, piece 2332, folio 12, page 16, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.

[6] Passenger Lists, 1865 -1922, RG 76, Roll T-487, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/passenger-lists/passenger-lists-1865-1922/Pages/image.aspx?Image=e003660660&URLjpg=http%3a%2f%2fcentral.bac-lac.gc.ca%2f.item%2f%3fid%3de003660660%26op%3dimg%26app%3dpassengerlist&Ecopy=e003660660

[7] Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1960 [database on-line], Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010; citing The National Archives at Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., Manifests of Passengers Arriving at St. Albans, VT, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1895-1954, RG 85, M1464, Roll 046.

[8] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 247.

[9] 1911 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-20326, Alberta, Calgary, subdistrict 2, page 9, family 23, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e011069867

[10] 1881 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004; citing Census Returns of England and Wales, Public Record Office, 1881, RG11, piece 2375, folio 40, page 15, GSU roll 1341571, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.

[11] Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1914 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016; citing Reference Number D\P\bw.ht/2/1/2, Anglican Parish Registers, Somerset Archives & Local Studies, South West Heritage Trust, Taunton, England.

[12] 1901 Wales Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005; citing Census Returns of England and Wales, Public Record Office, 1901, RG13, piece 5071, folio 195, page 25, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.

[13] UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012; citing Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Outwards Passenger Lists, BT27, Records of the Commercial, Companies, Labour, Railways and Statistics Departments, Records of the Board of Trade and of successor and related bodies, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.

[14] Passenger Lists, 1865 -1922, RG 76, Roll T-4821, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/passenger-lists/passenger-lists-1865-1922/Pages/image.aspx?Image=e003625187&URLjpg=http%3a%2f%2fcentral.bac-lac.gc.ca%2f.item%2f%3fid%3de003625187%26op%3dimg%26app%3dpassengerlist&Ecopy=e003625187

[15] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 247.

[16]  Ibid., 247-248.

[17] Census of Canada, 1911, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-20326, Calgary, subdistrict 2, Alberta, page 9, family 23, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, 2007. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e011069867

[18] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 247.

[19] Kay Clarke family papers.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 246.

[22] Ibid., 247.

[23] Ibid., 247-249.

[24] Ibid., 246.

[25] “Chestermere Lake Pioneer Dies,” Calgary Herald, September 4, 1943, 21. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479862567/

[26] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 249.

[27] “Auction Sale,” Calgary Herald, November 12, 1943, 19. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479865084/

[28] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 249.

[29] Bessie Woods obituary, Calgary Herald, November 27, 1965, 42. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481805139/

[30] Margaret Irene Pople obituary, Calgary Herald, January 29, 1988, D10. https://www.newspapers.com/image/484001909/

[31] Bessie M. Hinchey obituary, Honolulu Advertiser, August 21, 2001, B2. https://www.newspapers.com/image/266734013/

For Part One What was a ditchrider? click here  What was a Ditchrider?

For Part Two the story of Ted Staves click here  Edward-“Ted”-Staves

For Part Three the story of Joe Bannerman click here Joseph-McKay-Bannerman

For Part Four the story of Fred Woods click here Frederick-George-Woods

For Part Five the story of John Smith McKay click here 

Who and What was a ‘Ditchrider’?   Part One 

~  by Kay Clarke, CHF Member

Chestermere Lake was first constructed by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) as part of an irrigation system and originally known as Reservoir # 1 by the CPR.  After the water was flowing in 1906, many people were needed to make sure that it kept moving to meet the needs of those farmers who would benefit from irrigation. One group of CPR Irrigation Department (CPID) employees vital to keeping things operating efficiently were called “Ditchriders”. They were the front line, so to speak. Chestermere had a Ditchrider from the time the irrigation system became operational.  What were they expected to do and who were they?

At first glance it seems like a great job. All one had to do was ride up and down the irrigation ditches. Well wait a moment, there was a lot more to it than that. In 1923 Canadian Pacific Railway Irrigation Branch produced circular number 31, called “Instructions for Ditchriders” [1] with several sections. The following is a summary of the Ditchrider’s responsibilities.

In looking through this directive you notice that there is a lot of paperwork to be done daily from April 1st to November 1st.  There were reports daily to the Watermaster (the Ditchrider’s direct supervisor) and the Superintendent.  It was impressed on these employees that they were the face of the CPR Irrigation system and that they should act accordingly. They were instructed to be impartial and fair but firm in all their dealings with water users and to record conversations and work so as to have a record in the case of dispute or lawsuit.

The next thing that one notices when looking at the circular is that the Ditchrider was expected to have a lot of knowledge about irrigation, crops and be able to give that information to farmers or water users who required it.

The job itself was to patrol the ditches, making sure that gophers, badgers and muskrats had not put holes in the banks. They needed to ensure that grasses not weeds were growing and that the fences were in good condition. They needed to be able to open water gates as required (after the proper paperwork was in place). They were expected to work 10-hour days from April 1st to November 1st.

One of the jobs in 1923 was to patrol the telephone lines as this was an essential part of the daily reporting system.

The circular lists the items that the Ditchrider should have and the items that the “Company” (CPID) would provide.  CPID supplied a house and barn (big enough to house two horses) and five to eight acres of land with which the Ditchrider was expected to feed his animals.  The Ditchrider was expected to acquire two horses as well as a buggy and saddle. The Company could supply these but would deduct the cost from his salary. The Ditchrider was allowed not more than two cows and their calves, a sow and piglets and 100 poultry. He was not allowed to sell or give away any of the produce. If there was extra, it was to go to the company stores. The Ditchrider was also warned that care of the animals or crops was not to interfere with the job.  The circular states that if the Ditchrider wanted to farm he should go elsewhere to do so.

Chestermere Historical Foundation is researching this important piece of our history and will provide brief biographies of those who filled the Chestermere Ditchrider position and lived in the Ditchrider home which was located at the SE corner of the Lake (Reservoir).

A pdf version for printing is available 2020 What is a Ditchrider Part One April 7

[1]  Robert S. Stockton, “Instructions for Ditchriders,” 1923. Irrigation Research Project (W.L. Jacobson) Collection, Series 2, M-3761-34, Glenbow Archives, Archives and Special Collections, University of Calgary.

c Kay Clarke and Chestermere Historical Foundation.  All Rights Reserved. 08 Apr 2020

NB 39 352 photo By WID Courtesy of Glenbow Archives, Archives and Special Collections, University of Calgary.A Griffin, GH Patrick catching 3 young badgers Glenrose District 13 June 1924

Edward “Ted” Staves: Chestermere Ditchrider (1919-1933)  Part Two 

Ted Staves was born on 10 January 1878[1] in Thorpe-le-Vale, Lincolnshire, England[2] and grew up in the town of Market Rasen where his father worked as a maltster.[3] At age 14, Ted was employed as an errand boy for a local baker[4] and by 1901 had moved to Accrington, Lancashire where he worked as a railway engine cleaner.[5] In February 1904,[6] Ted married Margaret Ellen Boothman who was born in Church, Lancashire on 25 May 1873[7]. Like her father and sisters, she worked as a cotton weaver from a early age.[8] By 1911, Ted and Margaret had two children, daughter May and son Joseph Edmund, both born in Church, and Ted was employed as a stoker in a print works.[9] Leaving his family in England, Ted departed Liverpool aboard the Canadian Pacific ship Empress of Britain, landing at the port of Halifax on 14 March 1914.[10] He travelled across Canada by rail to Strathmore where he found work with the CPR as the telephone lineman in charge of the Western Section.[11]

On 14 October 1915, nineteen months after setting foot on Canadian soil, Ted enlisted at Calgary as a private in the 82nd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. His attestation paper described him as standing five feet, eight and a half inches tall, with black hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. It was also noted that he had previously served three years with the Lincoln Volunteers. Ted left Halifax on 20 May 1916, again aboard the Empress of Britain which had been converted to a troop ship and arrived at Liverpool on the 29th.  In mid-March he was transferred to the 9th Reserve Battalion and then to the 50th Battalion (Infantry) on 20 August, arriving in France the next day. Early in 1917, Ted was trained as a non-commissioned officer and received promotion to the rank of Corporal on 11 March. [12]

The 50th took part in the now-immortalized Battle of Vimy Ridge from April 9 – 12 and suffered heavy casualties. (https://www.warmuseum.ca/the-battle-of-vimy-ridge/) Ted was amongst the wounded, having received a gunshot wound to the face on 12 April  which severely fractured his lower jaw.[13] The Battalion’s War Diary recorded that, “During the day and throughout night of 12th/13th enemy snipers and artillery were very active.”[14] Ted was evacuated to a field hospital before being sent to England for surgery. He was promoted to Sergeant on 10 May and was subsequently awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field.[15] (https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/medals-decorations/details/53 )

The medal citation reads, “In the attack on The Pimple, Vimy Ridge, April 12, 1917. He showed great bravery and devotion to duty during the attack. Although he was seriously wounded in the face during the advance he persisted to the final objective and would have remained there had he not been ordered back. His report to Headquarters on the way to the dressing station was clear and accurate and of great value in reinforcing the line. No doubt his action was partially responsible for successfully repelling the counterattack which developed soon afterwards on this part of the line.”[16]

Following a second operation in October 1917 and the fitting of dentures, Ted was declared medically unfit for duty and invalided back to Canada aboard the hospital ship Araguaya, arriving at Halifax on 16 February 1918. He was finally discharged from the service on 26 June at Calgary.[17]

Likely in late 1918, Ted secured employment with the CPR as the Chestermere ditchrider and his family joined him in early January 1919.[18] The original Chestermere Headquarters property had recently been purchased by the previous ditchrider, Fred Woods, so the Staves family moved into a newly constructed company house located further south. The October 1918 Superintendent’s monthly report described the property as follows: “The new house and barn at Chestermere Headquarters were finished on the 26th of the month except for placing rollers and track on the barn door and some window stop for the house, the material for which had not been supplied. This house and barn looks well and it is thought will be a most comfortable and desirable headquarters as has yet been built.”[19] Near neighbour Kate MacKenzie recalled, “The CPR built a new house nearer to the headgates for Mr. Staves who took over. He was a returned man. He did a hard work breaking the land around the new house almost by hand and planted trees. This was to be a demonstration of what irrigation could do.”[20] In 2002, Kate’s granddaughter Kay Clarke wrote, “For many years the grounds were beautiful with flowering trees of all kinds, some of which are still growing in spite of many years of neglect.”[21]

Ted served as Chestermere ditchrider until his tragic death at age 55 in 1933. On the morning of 9 August, he borrowed his son’s rifle, presumably to shoot a muskrat that was causing damage to the canal bank. When he failed to return to make his morning report to the Dalroy Watermaster, his son went to find him and discovered his father near the fence about 200 yards from the house with a gunshot wound to the head. He died in hospital in Calgary that afternoon. The subsequent Coroner’s jury found that the fatal injury had likely occurred when the gun’s trigger caught on the barbed wire and discharged as Ted crawled through the fence.[22] His funeral was held on 12 August and he was buried in the Field of Honour at Burnsland Cemetery.[23]

Following Ted’s death, his wife and daughter moved to Calgary where Margaret died in September 1944. Daughter May trained as a teacher, married James Peebles in 1935 and had one daughter. She died in Calgary in 1971. Son Joseph E. worked for the CPR telephone system at Strathmore and later for Alberta Government Telephones. He married Grace Grover in 1930, had a son and two daughters and died in Edmonton in 1970. [24]

© Eileen E. McElroy and Chestermere Historical Foundation 2020

Photo L – second ditch rider house Nov 5 1918. Glenbow Archives – Photographer Western Irrigation District.  First one was bought by the Woods family.

Photo R – Calgary Herald 1922.

Print version of story. Edward Staves 22 Apr 2020

See more newspaper articles about Ted Staves  2020 What is a Ditch Rider Part Two STAVES newspaper clippings

[1] Edward Staves Attestation Paper, 1915. Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 9248-22, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=248587

[2] 1881 Census of England, Lincolnshire, Market Rasen, Joseph Staves household; digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881; RG11, Piece 3281, Folio 49, Page 7.

[3] Ibid.

[4] 1891 Census of England, Lincolnshire, Market Rasen, Joseph Staves household; digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891; RG12, Piece 2623, Folio 49, Page 25.

[5] 1901 Census of England, Lancashire, Accrington St. Peter, John Dixon household; digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901; RG13, Piece 3859, Folio 43, Page 8.

[6] Edward Staves Service File, Regimental number 160640. Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 9248-22, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=248587

[7] “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NKJ9-957: 19 March 2020), Margaret Ellen Boothman, 1873.

[8] 1891 Census of England, Lancashire, Oswaldtwistle, Church, John Boothman household; digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing The National Archives of the UK (TNA); Kew, Surrey, England; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891; RG12, Piece 3411, Folio 133, Page 40.

[9] 1901 Census of England, Lancashire, Oswaldtwistle, Church, Edward Staves household; digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing The National Archives of the UK (TNA); Kew, Surrey, England; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911; RG14, Piece 25137.

[10] Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. Passenger Lists, 1865–1935, RG 76, Roll T-4752. Ancestry.com. Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.

[11] “Local Jottings,” Strathmore and Bow Valley Standard, October 27, 1915, 1. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1915/10/27/1/

[12] Edward Staves Service File, Regimental number 160640. Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 9248-22, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=248587

[13] Ibid.

[14] War Diaries of the 50th Canadian Infantry Battalion, 1916/08/10-1917/12/31. RG9-III-D-3, Volume/box number 4941, File number 441, Ministry of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada fonds, Canadian War Office Records. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/collectionsearch/Pages/collectionsearch.aspx?q=9-52%20war%20diaries%2050th%20Battalion&

[15] Edward Staves Service File, Regimental number 160640. Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 9248-22, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=248587

[16] E. Staves Military Medal Citation Card, 1917. Honours and Awards Citation Cards, 1900-1969 (Accession 2004-01505-5, volume 63. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. Ancestry.com. Canada, Military Honours and Awards Citation Cards, 1900-1961 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

[17] Edward Staves Service File, Regimental number 160640. Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 9248-22, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=248587

[18] May (Staves) Peebles, “The Staves Family,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 414.

[19] Robert S. Stockton, October 1918 Monthly Report, 4 November 1918, Western Irrigation District fonds, Series 6 – Project Manager’s monthly reports, M-2273-161, Glenbow Archives, Archives and Special Collections, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.

[20] Kay Clarke, email communication, April 4, 2020.

[21] Ibid.

[22] “Staves Fatality Found Accidental,” Calgary Daily Herald, August 12, 1933, 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479781314

[23] Sgt. Edward Staves (1878-1933), Find a Grave Memorial 135987294, added September 16, 2014. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/135987294

[24] May (Staves) Peebles, “The Staves Family,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 41

Joseph McKay Bannerman: Chestermere Ditchrider (1908 ? to 1912) Part Three

Joseph was born in Kildonan parish, Sutherland, Scotland on 12 March 1851 and grew up in Navidale where his father was employed as a labourer. [1] [2]  He emigrated to Canada while still in his teens and lived in Ontario for some years.[3] Joseph moved to Edmonton and then to Calgary in 1883.[4] One of his early business ventures was a tobacco and cigar store located on Stephen Avenue.[5] On 15 September 1885 he married Christina Miller Sutherland in Winnipeg.[6] Christina, the daughter of a blacksmith, was born on 28 May 1857 in Helmsdale, Kildonan parish, Sutherland.[7] She emigrated to Belleville, Ontario with her family in 1875 before moving to Winnipeg about 1881.[8] Following her marriage, she came to Calgary with her husband where together they had a family of four sons and two daughters.[9] Joseph partnered with his brother James in a flour and feed business and also operated a wholesale liquor business.[10] He was active in civic and social affairs and the curling club.

In January 1888, Joseph made application for a homestead on SW ¼ 36-24-1 W5M, began occupying it on 30 July 1888, and received patent on 14 September 1892.[11] This property is now covered by the south half of McCall Lake Golf Course. The Bannermans built a house there and called it Morven Cottage, perhaps in reference to a mountain of the same name near their old home in Scotland. [12]  The 1891 census recorded Joseph’s occupation as a “rancher” employing an average of two people per year.[13] He had likely purchased additional property to add to his original quarter section homestead.

In January 1894 he was one of three alderman elected to represent Ward 1 on the council of the newly proclaimed City of Calgary and in October 1894 he became the member for East Calgary to the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly.[14] [15] This electoral district extended east at least as far as Gleichen and the Assembly sat at Regina so Joseph would have travelled regularly. He ran again in the fall of 1898 but lost his seat to A.E. Cross.[16] At the time of the 1901 census he and his family were living on their homestead and he was a rancher.[17] In January 1904, Joseph’s property was one of a number that were searched by the police during their hunt for the notorious escaped murderer, Ernest Cashel.[18]

Christina Bannerman died on 9 April 1907, leaving Joseph to care for the children, two of them under ten years old. At Calgary in 1908 he married Emma Northfield, who was born in 1870 in Harston, Cambridgeshire, England and came to Canada in 1906.[19] [20] [21] Joseph and Emma had two daughters together.

The first person known to have worked for CPR at Chestermere was Joseph Bannerman. It is uncertain when he began his association with the Irrigation Department or when he moved to the Chestermere area, but it appears to have been some time after the death of his first wife. He was certainly living at the lake by October 1910 when two people got in trouble after they fell out of their canoe. Fortunately, CPR employee G.H. Patrick was close at hand and rescued them in a gasoline powered launch. According to the Calgary Daily Herald, “They were taken ashore, and after a short walk reached the home of Joe Bannerman, where dry clothing was secured and stimulants were applied.”[22] The 1911 census enumerated Joseph, Emma and his two youngest children living in the area. His occupation was recorded as “Inspector CP Irrigation canal” – certainly a much grander title than ditchrider![23]

The MacKenzies were neighbours of the Bannermans who lived about a mile to the southeast on the opposite side of the canal. In the mid-1960s, Kate MacKenzie recorded some memories of her family’s early days in the district. One such anecdote related an incident when her young children were showing her insects they had captured. She wrote, “Jean came with both hands closed, she opened her hand to show me a lanky grasshopper. I call this one father she said and opening the other hand to show me a big fat cricket she said I call this one Mr. Bannerman.”[24] It can be surmised from this that Joseph was probably a large man, at least in comparison to Mr. MacKenzie.

Joseph’s work as an irrigation man ended in the spring of 1912. Bessie Hinchey, daughter of his successor Fred Woods, wrote, “For one month the two families lived together. Then Bannermans moved on.”[25] A brief item in the newspaper on 11 April 1912 reported that Joseph and family had left to spend the summer in Banff.[26] They apparently enjoyed the mountain community as they moved there permanently.

While living in Banff, Joseph continued to pursue his interests in politics, curling and local affairs. Emma died on 28 February 1917 in Banff.[27] In 1920 Joseph married her sister Ruth, born about 1869 in Harston, Cambridgeshire.[28] Joseph died at the home of a daughter in Calgary on 17 April 1932 and was laid to rest beside his first wife in Union Cemetery.[29] [30] Ruth returned to England and died in Cambridge in 1951.[31]

Read a printable version here 2020 BANNERMAN Joseph by E McElroy as PDF with Photos

© Eileen E. McElroy and Chestermere Historical Foundation 2020

[1] “Joseph Bannerman Pioneer Profile,” Southern Alberta Pioneers and Their Descendants, accessed April 3, 2020, http://pioneersalberta.org/profiles/b.html

[2] Scotland 1851 Census, Kildonan, Thomas Bannerman household; digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing 1851 Scotland Census, Kildonan, ED 2, Page 9, Line 18, Roll CSSCT1851_12, General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.

[3] “J.M. Bannerman, Pioneer, Passes,” Calgary Daily Herald, April 18, 1932, 9. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479269435/

[4] Ibid.

[5] George Babington Elliott and Thomas S. Burns, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, her industries and resources (Calgary: Burns & Elliott, 1885), 27. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/bibliography/1436.html

[6] Bannerman – Sutherland Marriage index entry, registration no. 1885-001197, Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency. https://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca/Query.php

[7] Statutory Registers: Births, database and images, ScotlandsPeople (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk: downloaded 13 April 2020), ref. 052/26, image of birth registration for Christina Miller Sutherland, born 28 May 1857, registered 5 June 1857, Parish of Kildonan, County of Sutherland.

[8] “The Late Mrs. Bannerman,” Daily Herald, Calgary, April 17, 1907, 11. https://www.newspapers.com/image/478940603/

[9] Ibid.

[10] “J.M. Bannerman, Pioneer, Passes,” Calgary Daily Herald, April 18, 1932, 9.

[11] Joseph Banerman [sic] entry, database and digital image Ancestry.ca, (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing Homestead Grant Registers, R190-75-1-E, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

[12] “Wedding Last Night” and “Married: Campbell-McKay,” Calgary Daily Herald, August 6, 1891, 1. https://www.newspapers.com/image/478940603/

[13] 1891 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-6425, Northwest Territories, district 197, subdistrict A, division 17, page 50, family 208, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1891&op=img&id=30953_148227-00458

[14] “List of Calgary municipal elections,” Wikipedia, last modified March 19, 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Calgary_municipal_elections

[15] “North-West Territories: Council and Legislative Assembly, 1876-1905,” Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, https://www.saskarchives.com/sites/default/files/documents/NWT-Council.pdf

[16] Ibid.

[17] 1901 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-6551, The Territories, Alberta, Nose Creek, division 1, page 6, family 38, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1901&op=&img&id=z000179157

[18] “Cashel the American Desperado Captured This Afternoon,” The Daily Herald, Special Edition, Calgary, January 25, 1904, 1. https://www.newspapers.com/image/478938475/

[19] Bannerman – Northfield marriage registration index entry, Provincial Archives of Alberta, registration no. 1903 (1908 “L”), https://provincialarchives.alberta.ca/sites/default/files/2018-10/grooms-ba-1877-1918.pdf

[20] “Death of Mrs. Bannerman,” Crag and Canyon, Banff, March 3, 1917, 1. https://cdm22007.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p22007coll2/id/25427/rec/4

[21] 1911 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-20326, Alberta, Calgary, Subdistrict 4, page 23, family 216, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e011069907

[22] “A Long Way Down,” Calgary Daily Herald, October 17, 1910, 1. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481805246/

[23]1911 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-20326, Alberta, Calgary, Subdistrict 4, page 23, family 216, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e011069907

[24] Kay Clarke, email communication, April 20, 2020.

[25] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 247.

[26] “Calgary Society,” Calgary Daily Herald, April 11, 1912, 20. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481562003/

[27] “Death of Mrs. Bannerman,” Crag and Canyon, Banff, March 3, 1917, 1. https://cdm22007.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p22007coll2/id/25427/rec/4

[28] Bannerman – Northfield marriage registration index entry, Provincial Archives of Alberta, registration no. 1829 (1920), https://provincialarchives.alberta.ca/sites/default/files/2018-10/grooms-ba-1919-1930.pdf

[29] “J.M. Bannerman, Pioneer, Passes,” Calgary Daily Herald, April 18, 1932, 9. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479269435/

[30] “Complete Funeral Arrangements for Joseph Bannerman,” Calgary Daily Herald, April 19, 1932, 9. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479269453/

[31] England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010; citing Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England, London, England.

Joseph Bannerman 1896 PAA A3827

Frederick George Woods: Chestermere Ditchrider (1912 to 1918) Part Four 

One of eight children, Fred Woods was born in Midsomer Norton, Somerset, England in May 1876 and was baptized on the 10th of September in the parish church.[1] [2] [3] At the time of his birth, his father was employed as the local railway station agent. In 1891 by the age of fourteen he was already employed as an ironmonger’s assistant, a job which he also held ten years later.[4] [5]

Perhaps seeking better opportunities on the other side of the pond, Fred left Liverpool aboard the RMS Victorian on 7 June 1906 and disembarked on the 16th at Montreal, bound for Toronto.[6] Just six months later, on December 27th, he crossed into the U.S. at Detroit. The border crossing card described him as being 5 feet 1½ inches tall, and of ruddy complexion with brown hair and blue eyes. His stated occupation was that of carriage builder and he had most recently been resident in Hamilton, Ontario.[7] After a period in the States, Fred returned to Canada and worked various jobs including on the CPR irrigation survey. When his intended bride was to arrive in Canada, he secured the position of ditchrider at Dalroy.[8]

Bessie Jane Hook was born in June 1875 in Bridgwater, Somerset, England where her father was a self-employed master tailor.[9] [10] She was baptized at Holy Trinity Church on 6 October 1875.[11] By 1901, Bessie was employed in Swansea, Wales as governess to four young children.[12] She boarded Canadian Pacific’s RMS Empress of Ireland at Liverpool on 11 March 1910, landed at Saint John, New Brunswick on the 18th, and made the long journey across the country on CPR trains.[13] [14] Fred and Bessie were married in Calgary on 24 March 1910 and went to live in the Dalroy district.[15] The contrast between the climate and surroundings of her native England and the new home on the Canadian prairies was something of a shock to Bessie. Decades later, her daughter wrote that in the summer of 1910, despite being hot and dry, the prairie was plagued by mosquitoes. Bessie missed the green of England and being surrounded by neighbours. She had to learn to bake bread, dress chickens, pump water and numerous other chores required of country women. The first year she boarded ten men.[16] The Woods’ first daughter Margaret Irene was born in April 1911.[17]

After two years at Dalroy, the Woods family moved to the Chestermere headquarters where they lived with outgoing ditchrider Joseph Bannerman and his family for a month.[18] Neighbour Kate MacKenzie recalled, “Fred Woods came to take the job of ditch rider in place of Mr. Bannerman.  He brought his wife and baby Margaret, so now we had another fine neighbour.”[19]

While living at Chestermere, the Woods’ second daughter Bessie Mary was born. Referencing this event, Kate MacKenzie’s daughter Agnes Lester later wrote, “On 14 February 1915 Mother went up to see our new neighbour, the Woods, the ditchrider and family to the north. We knew that Mrs. Woods was expecting and when she got there the baby girl had already arrived very early that very day. Mr. Woods had the only telephone in the country and had got a nurse out of Calgary. Mother helped him get the bread that Mrs. Woods had started that morning into the pans before she came back with the exciting news.”[20]

In writing her family’s story for the 1971 local history book, Bessie (Woods) Hinchey described the first Chestermere ditchrider house and outbuildings. “The house when I remember it first was “C.P.R. green” with white trim. It was a three bedroom bungalow, built prairie style, no hallways and no closets, small bedrooms but fair sized living room, small dining room and a lean-to kitchen. There was a shop building we called the shack, which had two lean-to sheds attached, a shed in which we kept the one seat buggy that took us to school for many years, the other the coal house filled yearly with coal. Next door was the pumphouse, which housed a pump above a deep well.”[21] “East of the house we had a green barn, small with a pointed roof, with eight stalls, a small chicken yard, feed bins and a hen house, where we kept around 50 hens, to produce eggs and meat mostly for our own use.”[22] It is not clear how many of the outbuildings were part of the original CPR site and how many were added over the years by Fred, but at minimum the house and barn would have been built by the CPR.

Apparently grain and cattle prices were good in 1918 so when the opportunity arose to purchase the Chestermere headquarters, Fred decided to retire from ditchriding and become a farmer. He seeded his first crop in 1919 and experienced the ups and downs of agriculture throughout droughts, bumper crops, and the Depression in the ensuing years.[23] Fred had a passion for mechanical things and spent his spare time keeping the gasoline pump engine and his Model-T Ford in good running condition.[24]

Fred Woods was the only Chestermere ditchrider that remained in the community after his term of employment. He died in hospital on 3 September 1943 following a brief illness and was buried in Burnsland Cemetery.[25] His wife Bessie rented the farmland to neighbour Pete Lester (Kate MacKenzie’s son-in-law), sold the livestock, machinery and household effects at an auction sale in November 1943, and moved to Calgary.[26] [27] “The farm house was rented to a succession of tenants, then stood vacant, was stripped by vandals, then burnt by a fire bug.”[28]

Bessie died on 25 November 1965 and was buried in Burnsland beside Fred.[29] Daughter Margaret married Bernard A. “Tom” Pople, had one son, and died in Calgary in January 1988.[30] Daughter Bessie married Glenn B. Hinchey, had two sons and a daughter, and died in Hawaii in August 2001.[31]

The complete Woods family story from Saddles Sleighs and Sadirons is available online at https://cdm22007.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p22007coll8/id/533614/rec/6

The Chestermere district of Kinniburgh sits on the land farmed by the George and Bessie Woods.

Photos – Fred, Bessie and baby Margaret Woods;  Fred, Bessie, Margaret (standing behind Bessie) and Bessie Mary Woods; map of location of their home; share certificate Bessie Woods Chestermere Country Club 1931 ( original in possession of Chestermere Historical Foundation); auction sale ad; obituaries of Fred and Bessie. 

© Kay Clark, Eileen McElroy and Chestermere Historical Foundation 2020

A pdf copy of this for printing is available here. 2020 Woods Fred May 21

[1] “Chestermere Lake Pioneer Dies,” Calgary Herald, September 4, 1943, 21. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479862567/

[2]  1911 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-20326, Alberta, Calgary, subdistrict 2, page 9, family 23, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e011069867

[3] Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1914 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016; citing Reference Number D\P\MSN/2/1/13, Anglican Parish Registers, Somerset Archives & Local Studies, South West Heritage Trust, Taunton, England.

[4] 1891 England Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005; citing Census Returns of England and Wales, Public Record Office, 1891, RG12, Piece 1927, Folio 7, Page 8, GSU roll 6097037, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.

[5] 1901 England Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005; citing Census Returns of England and Wales, Public Record Office, 1901, RG13, piece 2332, folio 12, page 16, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.

[6] Passenger Lists, 1865 -1922, RG 76, Roll T-487, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/passenger-lists/passenger-lists-1865-1922/Pages/image.aspx?Image=e003660660&URLjpg=http%3a%2f%2fcentral.bac-lac.gc.ca%2f.item%2f%3fid%3de003660660%26op%3dimg%26app%3dpassengerlist&Ecopy=e003660660

[7] Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1960 [database on-line], Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010; citing The National Archives at Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., Manifests of Passengers Arriving at St. Albans, VT, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1895-1954, RG 85, M1464, Roll 046.

[8] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 247.

[9] 1911 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-20326, Alberta, Calgary, subdistrict 2, page 9, family 23, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e011069867

[10] 1881 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004; citing Census Returns of England and Wales, Public Record Office, 1881, RG11, piece 2375, folio 40, page 15, GSU roll 1341571, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.

[11] Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1914 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016; citing Reference Number D\P\bw.ht/2/1/2, Anglican Parish Registers, Somerset Archives & Local Studies, South West Heritage Trust, Taunton, England.

[12] 1901 Wales Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005; citing Census Returns of England and Wales, Public Record Office, 1901, RG13, piece 5071, folio 195, page 25, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.

[13] UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012; citing Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Outwards Passenger Lists, BT27, Records of the Commercial, Companies, Labour, Railways and Statistics Departments, Records of the Board of Trade and of successor and related bodies, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.

[14] Passenger Lists, 1865 -1922, RG 76, Roll T-4821, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/passenger-lists/passenger-lists-1865-1922/Pages/image.aspx?Image=e003625187&URLjpg=http%3a%2f%2fcentral.bac-lac.gc.ca%2f.item%2f%3fid%3de003625187%26op%3dimg%26app%3dpassengerlist&Ecopy=e003625187

[15] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 247.

[16]  Ibid., 247-248.

[17] Census of Canada, 1911, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-20326, Calgary, subdistrict 2, Alberta, page 9, family 23, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, 2007. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e011069867

[18] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 247.

[19] Kay Clarke family papers.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 246.

[22] Ibid., 247.

[23] Ibid., 247-249.

[24] Ibid., 246.

[25] “Chestermere Lake Pioneer Dies,” Calgary Herald, September 4, 1943, 21. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479862567/

[26] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 249.

[27] “Auction Sale,” Calgary Herald, November 12, 1943, 19. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479865084/

[28] Bessie M. (Woods) Hinchey, “The Fred Woods Family of Chestermere,” in Saddles, Sleighs and Sadirons, Chestermere Historical Society, 1971, 249.

[29] Bessie Woods obituary, Calgary Herald, November 27, 1965, 42. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481805139/

[30] Margaret Irene Pople obituary, Calgary Herald, January 29, 1988, D10. https://www.newspapers.com/image/484001909/

[31] Bessie M. Hinchey obituary, Honolulu Advertiser, August 21, 2001, B2. https://www.newspapers.com/image/266734013/

John Smith McKay: Chestermere Ditchrider (1934-1937) Part Five

John McKay was born in Saint John, New Brunswick on 17 March 1873, the son of a Presbyterian clergyman.[1] [2] The family lived in Prince Edward Island for a time before returning to New Brunswick.[3] [4] According to the 1891 census, John was a railway employee in Chatham, New Brunswick.[5] On 28 November 1900, John married Alice Elizabeth Walls at Chatham.[6] Alice was born into a large farming family at Blackville, New Brunswick in 1878.[7] Shortly after their marriage, the McKays moved west to Calgary where their first child, Harold Neil, was born in 1901. Sadly, he died as an infant and was buried in Union Cemetery.[8] [9] Five more sons followed: Frederick Alexander in 1902, John Douglas in 1904, Charles Stanley in 1907, Donald Peter in 1908, and William Alexander in 1912.[10] [11]

John worked for the Dominion Express Company (owned by CPR) for a number of years in Calgary before becoming their agent in Fort Macleod.[12] [13] He left this position in late 1911 or early 1912 and subsequently served as Macleod’s postmaster from 31 January 1912 until 2 June 1913.[14] In mid-June the local newspaper reported that, “J.S. McKay, late postmaster here left on Monday for the Pacific coast. He will visit a number of places on Vancouver Island, with a view of locating there.”[15] A suitable situation must not have been found, as the paper noted in early August that John had moved back to Calgary to work again for the Dominion Express Company.[16] In 1914, the McKays decided to go farming and took up land 2½ miles north of Strathmore.[17] [18] Unfortunately, the first crop was completely destroyed by hail and that put an end to farming.[19] It appears that John may also have engaged in an auction business as the Strathmore and Bow Valley Standard carried numerous advertisements for sales conducted by a John S. McKay throughout 1915 and early 1916.[20]

By the time irrigation season rolled around in 1916, John had obtained employment as a ditchrider with the Canadian Pacific Irrigation Department (C.P.I.D.) at the Cheadle headquarters located on Section 6, Township 25, Range 25 W4M near Hervey School.[21] The McKay family was completed in 1919 with the birth of a daughter, Ruth Elizabeth.[22] John would likely have continued at Cheadle until his retirement but for the untimely death of Chestermere ditchrider Ed Staves in August 1933.  Given the drought conditions in the mid-‘30s the vacancy needed to be filled by an experienced man, so the McKays were transferred to the Chestermere headquarters on 1 March 1934.[23] Before their departure, the community surprised them with a farewell party consisting of musical and dramatic entertainment, lunch and a presentation of gifts. The newspaper item describing this event concluded with a bit of verse:

Oh my! Oh my! we hate to see them go

Oh my! Oh my! for we will miss them so.

It will be with kindest memories

We think of them so dear

While they are bathing in Chestermere.[24]

John retired after the completion of the 1937 irrigation season and subsequently went to live in Calgary. In 1944 the McKays moved to Strathmore as John had been appointed an assistant in guarding war prisoners.[25] John died in Strathmore on 18 December 1952 and was laid to rest in Queen’s Park Cemetery, Calgary.[26] Alice died in Calgary on 24 November 1971 and was buried in Queen’s Park.[27] Fred, Stan and Bill McKay all served during World War II. Fred, Douglas, and Bill were employed in various capacities by the CPR, Stan became a teacher and Don worked in the oilfield equipment business. All the McKay children married except for Ruth who had been an invalid since birth.[28]

© Eileen E. McElroy and Chestermere Historical Foundation 2020

A pdf copy of this for printing is available here. 2020 June 6 McKAY John Smith story with photos

[1] John Smith McKay (1873-1952), Find a Grave Memorial 153258540, added October 4, 2015. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/153258540

[2] 1881 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll C-13162, Prince Edward Island, district 1, subdistrict Q, page 72, family 320, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1881&op=&img&id=e008112778

[3] Ibid.

[4] 1891 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-6302, New Brunswick, district 17, subdistrict D, division 3, pages 201-21, family 98, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1891&op=img&id=30953_148104-00088

[5] Ibid.

[6] Smith – Walls marriage, 28 November 1900, New Brunswick Provincial Returns of Marriages, 1887-1919; https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GBDK-V71?cc=2001064&wc=M6VH-XMH%3A284545701%2C284549001

[7] 1881 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll C-13185, New Brunswick, district 35, subdistrict G, division 2, page 13, family 40, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1881&op=&img&id=e008135118

[8] Harold N. McKay death registration index entry, 1901, #22. Provincial Archives of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. https://provincialarchives.alberta.ca/sites/default/files/2018-11/deaths-mca-1877-1918.pdf

[9] H. Neil McKay (n.d. – 1901), Find a Grave Memorial 127275386, added April 1, 2014. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/127275386

[10] 1911 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-20328, Alberta, district 3, subdistrict 30, page 20, family 237, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e001928695

[11] 1916 Census of the Prairie Provinces, Statistics Canada, R233-47-9-E, Roll T-21948, Alberta, district 34, subdistrict 11, page 11, family 121, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1916&op=&img&id=31228_4363977-01005

[12] C.S. McKay, “The John McKay Family” in Along the Fireguard Trail, Lyalta, Ardenode, Dalroy Historical Society, 1979, 164.

[13] “Around Town,” The Macleod Advertiser, September 8, 1910, 8. https://digitallibrary.uleth.ca/digital/collection/sanews/id/12851

[14] Macleod Post Office, item 22648, Post Offices and Postmasters database, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/postal-heritage-philately/post-offices-postmasters/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=22648&

[15] “Brevities,” The Macleod Spectator, June 17, 1913, 8. https://digitallibrary.uleth.ca/digital/collection/sanews/id/13955

[16] “Brevities,” The Macleod Spectator, August 7, 1913, 8. https://digitallibrary.uleth.ca/digital/collection/sanews/id/13987

[17] “John S. McKay” obituary, Calgary Herald, December 20, 1952, 26. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481389344/

[18] C.S. McKay, “The John McKay Family” in Along the Fireguard Trail, Lyalta, Ardenode, Dalroy Historical Society, 1979, 164.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Auction advertisements, Strathmore and Bow Valley Standard, various issues 1915-1916. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/

[21] 1916 Census of the Prairie Provinces, Statistics Canada, R233-47-9-E, Roll T-21948, Alberta, district 34, subdistrict 11, page 11, family 121, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1916&op=&img&id=31228_4363977-01005

[22] C.S. McKay, “The John McKay Family” in Along the Fireguard Trail, Lyalta, Ardenode, Dalroy Historical Society, 1979, 164.

[23] “Farewell Party,” Strathmore Standard, February 28, 1934, 1. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1934/02/28/1/

[24] Ibid.

[25] “Local News Items,” Strathmore Standard, August 10, 1944, 8. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1934/02/28/1/

[26] John S. McKay obituary, Calgary Herald, December 20, 1952, 26. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481389344/

[27] Alice Elizabeth McKay obituary, Calgary Herald, November 26, 1971, 63. https://www.newspapers.com/image/482270911/

[28] C.S. McKay, “The John McKay Family” in Along the Fireguard Trail, Lyalta, Ardenode, Dalroy Historical Society, 1979, 164.

James Henry May: Chestermere Ditchrider (1938)

James H. May was born 22 March 1886 in Butte, Montana.[1] His parents were natives of Cornwall, England and had immigrated to the United States in 1885 shortly after their marriage.[2] The May family returned to Cornwall and three more sons were born there between late 1887 and mid-1894.[3] By June 1900 they had returned to Butte where James was employed as an office boy and his father was working as a copper miner.[4] Later that year they moved again, this time to Rossland, BC where the 1901 census listed James as a teamster and his father as a gold miner.[5] The May’s only daughter was born there in 1902.[6]  The family came to Alberta about 1904, settled west of Didsbury and took up farming.[7]

In June 1905, James obtained entry to a homestead located on the SE ¼ 30-30-4 W5M in the Big Prairie district about 4½ miles northwest of Cremona.[8] He lived with his parents until he built a 12’ x 18’ log house and took up residence on the homestead in September 1907. James received title to the property in January 1909.[9] [10]

James married Beatrice Hogg on 16 July 1910 in Calgary.[11] Beatrice was born 9 July 1893 in Lancaster, England and came to Calgary with her family in July 1909.[12] [13] Her father had been a career military man before emigrating and he returned to service in World War I.[14] James and Beatrice settled on the farm and their first child, James Ernest “Jim”, was born in May 1911.[15] Daughters Beatrice Ivy “Dolly” and Gertrude Alice followed in 1913 and November 1916, respectively.[16] [17] Active in local affairs, James was secretary of the local school board for a number of years and a member of the Didsbury Masonic Lodge.[18] [19] [20]

In 1922, the Mays moved to Calgary where James secured a job as foreman of a C.P.R. irrigation crew. This led to him becoming a ditchrider and the family relocated to the Irricana headquarters about five miles northwest of town.[21] The published local history for the area mentions that James patrolled the ditches with a horse and cart, circa 1925.[22] He involved himself in community organizations, again serving as school board secretary.[23] He was a member of the Irricana Masonic Lodge and served as Master in 1930.[24] The Mays were apparently transferred to the Hervey Headquarters northwest of Strathmore in 1934 to fill the vacancy left when John S. McKay was moved to Chestermere.[25] While in the area, James was a member of the Strathmore A.F. & A.M. Lodge.[26] After a four-year tenure at Hervey, James again followed in McKay’s footsteps as he was sent to Chestermere in the spring of 1938.[27]

Son Jim had married in 1935 and daughter Dolly in 1937. Younger daughter Alice was married in the summer of 1938. The wedding ceremony took place on July 16th in Strathmore but the reception for 50 guests was held at the May residence at Chestermere Headquarters.[28] [29] As the house was quite small it is likely that the lovely garden would have been utilized for the celebration as well.

A little more than three months after this joyful occasion, James May died in Calgary on 27 October 1938. He had experienced poor health periodically over the previous several months and was taken to hospital less than a week before his death. The funeral was held on October 29th followed by burial in Burnsland Cemetery.[30] [31] In early 1940, his widow Beatrice started keeping house for Harry Miner of Strathmore. While living there she was active in Eastern Star and the United Church. Several years after Mr. Miner’s death, Beatrice moved to Vancouver Island to live with her daughter Dolly.[32] She died in Victoria on 19 June 1973.[33]

© Eileen E. McElroy and Chestermere Historical Foundation 2020

A pdf copy of this for printing is available here. MAY James Henry

[1] Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1960 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. citing The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Manifests of Alien Arrivals at Sweet Grass, Montana, August 1917-June 1954; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 – 2004, RG 85, Series A3440, Roll 011.

[2] 1900 United States Census, [database with images], FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org), citing United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, Butte Ward 7, Silver Bow, Montana, Enumeration District 0123, page 8, FHL microfilm 1240915, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-D5GQ-9LJ?cc=1325221&wc=9BQ2-PYZ%3A1031108501%2C1031967301%2C1032088901

[3] Ibid.

[4]  Ibid.

[5] 1901 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, T-6430, British Columbia, Yale and Cariboo, Rossland Riding, division 2, page 13, family 175, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1901&op=&img&id=z000013117

[6] 1911 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, T-20330, Alberta, Red Deer, Subdistrict 119, page 1, family 7, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e001932171

[7] 1906 Census of the Northwest Provinces, Statistics Canada, RG31-C-1, T-18361, Alberta, Calgary, Subdistrict 14, page 18, family 226, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1906&op=&img&id=e001212164

[8] James Henry May entry, Alberta, Canada, Homestead Records, 1870-1930 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016, citing Alberta Homestead Records, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta.

[9] Ibid.

[10] 1906 Census of the Northwest Provinces, Statistics Canada, RG31-C-1, T-18361, Alberta, Calgary, Subdistrict 14, page 18, family 226, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1906&op=&img&id=e001212164

[11] “Weddings: May – Hogg,” Daily Herald, Calgary, July 19, 1910, 4. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481346364/

[12] England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org), citing Parish Registers for Christ Church, Lancaster, Baptisms 1857-1900, Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston, England. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DHH5-L6?cat=647664

[13] Passenger Lists, 1865 -1922, RG 76, Roll T-4762, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/passenger-lists/passenger-lists-1865-1922/Pages/image.aspx?Image=e003558416&URLjpg=http%3a%2f%2fcentral.bac-lac.gc.ca%2f.item%2f%3fid%3de003558416%26op%3dimg%26app%3dpassengerlist&Ecopy=e003558416

[14] “Geo. Hogg Dies in City Saturday,” Daily Herald, Calgary, July 25, 1927, 9. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479768583/

[15] 1911 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-20326, Alberta, Calgary, subdistrict 14, page 4, family 45, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e011070068

[16] 1916 Census of the Prairie Provinces, Statistics Canada, R233-47-9-E, Roll T-21949, Alberta, district 35, subdistrict 10, page 3, family 20, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1916&op=&img&id=31228_4363978-00750

[17] Gertrude Alice May death registration index entry, British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986, 1992-1993″, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org), citing Division of Vital Statistics, Victoria, British Columbia. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK6P-J8ZN

[18] “Teachers Wanted,” Daily Herald, Calgary, July 30, 1915, 2. https://www.newspapers.com/image/478964997/

[19] “Teachers Wanted,” Daily Herald, Calgary, June 24, 1921, 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/478991439/

[20] “Death of James H. May,” Strathmore Standard, October 27, 1938, 1. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1938/10/27/1/

[21] Alice May, “The May Family, James & Beatrice,” in Strathmore, The Village That Moved, The Strathmore History Book Committee, 1986, 454-455.

[22] “Western Section of the Bow Valley Irrigation Block,” in K.I.K. Country, K.I.K. Historical Committee, 1974, 11.

[23] “School Districts in Irricana Area Hold Annual Gatherings,” Daily Herald, Calgary, January 12, 1931, 15. https://www.newspapers.com/image/479161035/

[24] “Irricana Masonic Lodge #137,” in K.I.K. Country, K.I.K. Historical Committee, 1974, 621-622.

[25] Alice May, “The May Family, James & Beatrice,” in Strathmore, The Village That Moved, The Strathmore History Book Committee, 1986, 454-455.

[26] “J.H. May, C.P.R. Official, Passes,” Daily Herald, Calgary, October 27, 1938, 2. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481574137/

[27] “Hervey Notes,” Strathmore Standard, March 31, 1938, 2. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1938/03/31/2/

[28] “Weddings: May – May,” Strathmore Standard, July 21, 1938, 1. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1938/07/21/1/

[29] “July Rivals June for Weddings: May – May,” Daily Herald, Calgary, July 19, 1938, 13. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481375472/

[30] “Death of James H. May,” Strathmore Standard, October 27, 1938, 1. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1938/10/27/1/

[31] “J.H. May, C.P.R. Official, Passes,” Daily Herald, Calgary, October 27, 1938, 2. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481574137/

[32] Alice May, “The May Family, James & Beatrice,” in Strathmore, The Village That Moved, The Strathmore History Book Committee, 1986, 454-455.

[33] Beatrice May death registration index entry, British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986, 1992-1993″, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org), citing Division of Vital Statistics, Victoria, British Columbia. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLBJ-DR8

Edward Ross: Chestermere Ditchrider (1939-1943/4)

Ed Ross was born into a large farming family on 13 August 1886 in the parish of Drumoak, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.[i] His father farmed at Nether Park before relocating to the Mains of Newhall in nearby Cookney, Kincardine, where Ed attended school.[ii] [iii]

Ed moved to Laurencekirk, Kincardine and worked as a clerk. It was there that he met Elizabeth Collison “Betty” Clark, a housekeeper, and married her on 14 April 1909.[iv] Betty was born in Laurencekirk on 21 December 1886 to a railway labourer and his wife.[v]

Ten days after the marriage, Ed departed from Glasgow aboard the Donaldson Line ship Cassandra.[vi] He arrived at Quebec on 4 May 1909 and proceeded inland to Miami, Manitoba about 60 miles southwest of Winnipeg.[vii] His intention may have been to take up farming in the area as his daughter Edna’s 1909 birth registration reported his occupation as “farmer.”[viii] The following year, Betty and Edna boarded the C.P.R. ship RMS Empress of Ireland at Liverpool on the first of July and arrived at the port of Quebec on July 7th.[ix] [x] They continued their journey by C.P. rail to join Ed in Winnipeg.[xi]

Ed may have worked for the C.P.R. in 1909 and 1910 as the Winnipeg directories for those years list an E. Ross as a brakeman and a trainman, respectively.[xii] From 1911 through late 1917 or early 1918, he was employed as a motorman on Winnipeg’s street railway.[xiii] [xiv] [xv] The Ross family then moved to Alberta, possibly to Calgary as reported in Ed’s obituary.[xvi] However, there are no listings in the city directory for this particular Edward Ross during the period 1917 to 1921.[xvii] When the 1921 census was enumerated on June 1st, the Rosses were living on 28-22-12 W4M near Wardlow, Alberta where Ed was employed as a farm manager at the annual salary of $1500.[xviii]

Sometime prior to 1925, Ed and family relocated to the Rockyford area. When this occurred and where exactly they lived has not been confirmed. An item in the Rockyford column of the Strathmore weekly paper stated that a going-away party was held for them on 18 February 1925. They were moving to the C.P.R. irrigation headquarters at Winona located on NW ¼ -12-26-24 W4 near Baintree, about 4 miles west and a mile south of Rockyford.[xix] While living in the Rockyford and Baintree districts, the Rosses were active in community life. Ed was a Mason and served in various capacities including as First Principal of the Strathmore chapter of Royal Arch Masons in 1938, and was likely affiliated with the local United Church.[xx] [xxi] Betty was involved in the Baintree Community Club (serving as president in 1926), the Baintree local of the United Farm Women of Alberta, the Order of the Eastern Star and Rockyford United Church Ladies’ Aid.[xxii] [xxiii] [xxiv] [xxv] Ed and Betty’s only child, Edna May, married William Edward Sullivan, son of Chestermere area pioneer Jerry Sullivan in 1928.[xxvi] A daughter, Geraldine Elizabeth, was born to them later that year.[xxvii]

It must have been difficult for Ed and Betty to leave the area where they had put down such deep roots, but they received a warm send-off from their neighbours. The Ladies’ Aid Society held a luncheon and entertainment for Betty on 14 January 1939.[xxviii] Four days later, a farewell dance was held for them both at the Rockyford Hall where they were presented with a set of china.[xxix] On March 30th they moved to the Chestermere Headquarters.[xxx]

The Ross family appear to have maintained their connections in the greater Strathmore area as they were mentioned occasionally in the Strathmore paper. In the summer of 1941, it was reported that Ray Gordon was employed as assistant ditchrider at Chestermere and that Betty had been visited by her sister from Winnipeg.[xxxi] [xxxii] In July 1943, the paper noted that “Mr. and Mrs. Ed Ross of Chestermere have very kindly established a signal system with the [Sea] Cadet Corps by which important telephone messages may be transmitted from their home to Cadets in the Chestermere Lake Camp. This is a kindly service which is greatly appreciated.”[xxxiii] That summer was a busy one as the Rosses had a grandniece from England stay with them in July and August as well as visits from Betty’s sister and a former school friend.[xxxiv]

The drought and depression of the 1930s took its toll and the C.P.R made plans to rid itself of the now unprofitable irrigation system it had developed. In 1935, they reached agreement with landowners in the Eastern Section to take over that part of the operation.  In 1942, C.P.R. announced that it would abandon the Western Section and began to fill in old ditches and remove unused structures. This caused alarm amongst area water users and after lengthy and tenuous negotiations, the two parties reached agreement in March 1944 to transfer the system to the farmer-controlled Western Irrigation District (W.I.D.).[xxxv]

By the time this upheaval was taking place, Ed was nearing 60 years of age. Rather than transfer to the new W.I.D. operation, he opted to remain with C.P.R. and finished his career with them as an accounting clerk in the Department of Natural Resources, retiring in late 1952 or early 1953.[xxxvi] [xxxvii] In September 1953, the Rosses suffered the loss of their daughter Edna Sullivan at age 44.[xxxviii] Edward Ross died in Calgary on 8 June 1956, aged 69 years, and was buried in Queen’s Park Cemetery.[xxxix] He was the last ditchrider employed at Chestermere under the C.P.R.’s ownership. After his death, Betty married William A. Johnston, who operated a saddlery store in Calgary.[xl] William died in 1964.[xli] Betty died on 24 August 1982 and was laid to rest in Queen’s Park.[xlii]

Sincere thanks to Robert Walker, grandson-in-law, and Christine Hegi, great-granddaughter, for their contributions to this biography.

© Eileen E. McElroy and Chestermere Historical Foundation 2020

[i] Edward Ross, Statutory Registers of Births, Parish of Drumoak, County of Aberdeen, 1886, #15, National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

[ii] 1891 Scotland Census, Aberdeen, Drumoak Parish, Alexander Ross household, enumeration district 2, page 3, line 14, index online Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca); citing General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.

[iii] 1901 Scotland Census, Kincardine, Parish of Fetteresso, Alexander Ross household, enumeration district 24, page 1, National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

[iv] Edward Ross – Elizabeth Clark, Statutory Registers of Marriages, Parish of Laurencekirk, County of Kincardine, 1909, #5, National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

[v] Elizabeth Collison Clark, Statutory Registers of Births, Parish of Laurencekirk, County of Kincardine, 1887, #1, National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

[vi] UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012; citing Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Outwards Passenger Lists, BT27, Records of the Commercial, Companies, Labour, Railways and Statistics Departments, Records of the Board of Trade and of successor and related bodies, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.

[vii] Passenger Lists, 1865 -1922, RG 76, Roll T-4760, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/passenger-lists/passenger-lists-1865-1922/Pages/image.aspx?Image=e003556700&URLjpg=http%3a%2f%2fcentral.bac-lac.gc.ca%2f.item%2f%3fid%3de003556700%26op%3dimg%26app%3dpassengerlist&Ecopy=e003556700

[viii] Edna May Ross, Statutory Registers of Births, Parish of Laurencekirk, County of Kincardine, 1909, #22, National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

[ix] UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012; citing Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Outwards Passenger Lists, BT27, Records of the Commercial, Companies, Labour, Railways and Statistics Departments, Records of the Board of Trade and of successor and related bodies, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.

[x]Passenger Lists, 1865 -1922, RG 76, Roll T-4768, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/passenger-lists/passenger-lists-1865-1922/Pages/image.aspx?Image=e003563763&URLjpg=http%3a%2f%2fcentral.bac-lac.gc.ca%2f.item%2f%3fid%3de003563763%26op%3dimg%26app%3dpassengerlist&Ecopy=e003563763

[xi] Ibid.

[xii] Henderson’s Winnipeg city directory, 1909-1910. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/bibliography/921.3.html

[xiii] 1911 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG31, Roll T-20345, Manitoba, Selkirk, subdistrict 51, page 6, family 63, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1911&op=&img&id=e001952025

[xiv] 1916 Census of the Prairie Provinces, Statistics Canada, R233-47-9-E, Roll T-21933, Manitoba, district 14, subdistrict 9, page 20, family 222, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1916&op=&img&id=31228_4363962-00458

[xv] Henderson’s Winnipeg city directory, 1911-1918. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/bibliography/921.3.html

[xvi] “Edward Ross,” Calgary Herald, June 11, 1956, 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481734397/

[xvii] Henderson’s Calgary city directory, 1917-1921. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/bibliography/2961.html

[xviii] 1921 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, RG 31, Alberta, Bow River, subdistrict 21, page 6, family 56, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. https://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1921&op=img&id=e002854420

[xix] “Rockyford,” Strathmore and Bow Valley Standard, March 4, 1925, 7. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1925/03/04/7/Ar00705.html

[xx] John Scheer, “Strathmore Chapter Royal Arch Masons #21,” in Where We Crossed the Creek and Settled, Rockyford and District History Society, 1980, 130-31.

[xxi] “Edward Ross,” Calgary Herald, June 11, 1956, 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481734397/

[xxii] “Baintree,” Strathmore and Bow Valley Standard, March 17, 1926, 6. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1926/03/17/6/Ar00606.html

[xxiii] “Baintree U.F.W.A.,” Strathmore and Bow Valley Standard, December 19, 1928, 5. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1928/12/19/5/Ar00503.html

[xxiv] “Rockyford,” Strathmore Standard, November 21, 1934, 1. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1934/11/21/1/Ar00111.html

[xxv] “Rockyford,” Strathmore Standard, July 26, 1933, 4. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1933/07/26/4/Ar00403.html

[xxvi] Sullivan – Ross marriage registration index entry, Provincial Archives of Alberta, registration no. 63, Calgary, 1928. https://provincialarchives.alberta.ca/sites/default/files/2018-10/brides-ro-1919-1929.pdf

[xxvii] Geraldine Elizabeth Walker obituary, Calgary Herald, October 7, 2009, B10. https://www.newspapers.com/image/487633185/

[xxviii] “Rockyford,” Strathmore Standard, January 19, 1939, 1. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1939/01/19/1/Ar00122.html

[xxix] “Rockyford,” Strathmore Standard, January 26, 1939, 1. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1939/01/26/1/Ar00125.html

[xxx] “Local News Items,” Strathmore Standard, March 30, 1939, 1. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1939/03/30/1/Ar00111.html

[xxxi] “Local News Items,” Strathmore Standard, July 24, 1941, 4. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1941/07/24/4/Ar00407.html

[xxxii] “Local News Items,” Strathmore Standard, September 11, 1941, 4. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1941/09/11/4/Ar00407.html

[xxxiii] “Local News Items,” Strathmore Standard, July 22, 1943, 8. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1943/07/22/8/Ar00802.html

[xxxiv] “Local News Items,” Strathmore Standard, September 23, 1943, 8. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/newspapers/SMS/1943/07/22/8/Ar00802.html

[xxxv] George Freeman, Flow Beyond the Weir, ed. Theo Owel (Western Irrigation District, 1994), 61-72.

[xxxvi] Christine Hegi (great-granddaughter), email to Eileen McElroy, May 13, 2020.

[xxxvii] Henderson’s Calgary city directory, 1952-1953. http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/bibliography/2961.47.html

[xxxviii] Edna May Sullivan obituary, Calgary Herald, September 14, 1953, 16. https://www.newspapers.com/image/480849112/

[xxxix] “Edward Ross,” Calgary Herald, June 11, 1956, 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481734397/

[xl] Christine Hegi (great-granddaughter), email to Eileen McElroy, May 13, 2020.

[xli] “Retired Saddler William Johnston Dies at Age 79,” Calgary Herald, April 25, 1964, 30. https://www.newspapers.com/image/481482415/

[xlii]Elizabeth (Ross) Johnston obituary, Calgary Herald, August 27, 1982, B6.  https://www.newspapers.com/image/483146617/

Edward and Elizabeth Ross 1940
Edward Ross, Member of Strathmore Masons

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