Audio Part 1:
Audio Part 2:
This is with an old-timer from the Peace Country who is going to relate the experiences he had during the time that he has been up here from 1914 until now.
MR. LOGE: Well, in order to get this in kind of a comprehensive order, I got to start from the beginning I guess.
You know, my brother in old country you know, he wanted to tell me — he wanted to tell about my life here in Canada and the States. I have been both places you know, and I told him I didn’t know anything much about anything. I says I just had an ordinary life you know. And he got a bit huffy and he told me if a life wasn’t worth recording, it wasn’t worth living. So, I took him up on that and I started to writing, and by golly after I once started, I got so gol’darn much you know, I had to send it over there in pieces. And it got a very good reception in the old country, because he told me that there was a lot of that stuff that was printed. Well, I didn’t think that it was supposed to be printed. So, I don’t know, I never seen it in any papers then, but it was very well received, you know. And, I even got one thanks you know. He writes, he writes to here right across the Atlantic and thanks me for that writing. So, it was quite interesting and then I suppose I could start from the beginning.
I didn’t tell you about my niece you know. She asked me, Agnes, she asked me if I knew anything, Any English at all you know. All I know is they used to come back from Montana you know and they said all they could understand was “Yes” and “No.”
Well she says, I know two words she says, and you might just as well get it if they are going to help you any, and she says, that that was “money” and “drunk” you know, and that’s how I started “westward-ho” on “money” and “drunk” and, “Yes” and “No!”
MR. LOGE: So, this was kind of an evening in the last part of March I guess, I don’t know exactly the date.
INTERVIEWER: About what year was it that you came?
MR. LOGE: That was in 1914 that I stood on the quay there, that’s what we call it in the old country, quay, the wharf you know in German. I stood there and said farewell to my niece there, Agnes, and her friend you know and also girlfriends, also my girlfriends for that matter.
INTERVIEWER: You came over on your own passage?
MR. LOGE: And, I went over on the Belgium Steamship Company and we went westward. And that’s the last time I ever went abroad, you know. And we landed, I don’t know how long it took, but when I got to England I got kind of a bit tipsy, because everybody had a bit of whisky you know and they could have two bottles a person you know, but it had to be opened at the customs you know. And so we had quite a bit, and I think that was better than that we throw it into the North Sea for the fishes I guess.
INTERVIEWER: When did you come to the Peace Country?
MR. LOGE: I came to the Peace Country in 1918, in the fall of 1918.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, you came from where, what part of Canada?
MR. LOGE: From North Dakota.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, you went to the States first and then came from Dakota. What made you come here? What had you heard?
MR. LOGE: Well, that’s another story. I always wanted a little farm you know on my own, but I was just working for people down there you see. So I thought, and the land was all taken over there, you see, so I came up here and I couldn’t come up right away because I was drafted for the army in the States. We were supposed to fight the old Kaiser Bill you know, and the funniest part of it, I didn’t have much stomach for that because I knew Kaiser Bill, you know. In fact I got a cigar from him one time — and that’s more than I got from any of the other guys. So, well, they told us anyway that we was needed more in the grain fields than what we would be in the army, because there was a lot of volunteers. Everybody was volunteers, you know, so they could pick the job they wanted. And if you get drafted you had to go, and you got not any say at all.
INTERVIEWER: How old were you then?
MR. LOGE: I guess I was about twenty-three years old, I think.
INTERVIEWER: And you were still on your own?
MR. LOGE: Oh, yes.
INTERVIEWER: How did you come up from Dakota?
MR. LOGE: Well, I got through the immigration business you know and the funniest part of it, I suppose I can tell it anyway because there’s no harm that, in doing that I guess, because I just walked into Canada. There was no…
INTERVIEWER: You just walked in?
MR. LOGE: Yes, I just walked in, through Windygates in Manitoba and there was no customs there at all. But I went back again you see to the States again you know, after I had been up here you know, and filed on my homestead and I came back again through North Portland, and I got through the customs and didn’t come on a wild goose chase.
INTERVIEWER: What place did you come to in the Peace Country? Where did you first settle?
MR. LOGE: In Baytree, Alberta, right across the line from here. And, I had an awful time to coming up from Edmonton. The train was shaking and shaking and shaking and I don’t know how it went, and you looked back on the curve and you could see the ties on the rails lifting up and slapping back again and the mud you know, there was mud all over them. And, you had to go with it or else you could get hurt pretty bad you know. And about three miles from Spirit River the engine jumped the track and went into the muskeg there. And you’re sitting there and I and another guy were trying to hike you know, and there was a conductor standing on the road there and he says, “Come back, you’ve got to stay here” he says, “because there’s ‘flu there” and, we couldn’t get in there anyway. The ‘flu was pretty bad, so, I says we’d fix that, and so we took off in the muskeg and we took a ring around over there and we got into Spirit River and we got in there around noon and the train got in there late afternoon and we beat the train by several hours.
INTERVIEWER: What did you have in the way of supplies? Did you, were you carrying anything with you? Or, did you just come with body and soul?
MR. LOGE: That’s it, I didn’t. I thought I was going to buy some supplies down in Dakota and bring them up and I didn’t have much money and well, I had about two thousand saved up you know and when I came up here and went out there, I thought I was a really rich man you know.
INTERVIEWER: You bet you were!
MR. LOGE: But, no I never made any money, that’s for sure.
INTERVIEWER: Well, did you go, did you go from Spirit River to Baytree, straight away?
MR. LOGE: Yes, we walked in.
INTERVIEWER: You walked, from Spirit River to Baytree?
Mr. LOGE: Yes we sure did.
INTERVIEWER: Yes, well I’ll be darned. That’s a long walk.
MR. LOGE: Well, we started out brisk enough and as soon as we came to the first stopping place, that was Hill’s you know, kind of a friend of mine and by golly, we were kind of tired already and we had to walk the rest of the ways you know, and it took us several days you know, and the only way, the only one that I remember was in the person of Mr. Endicott, but I guess he’s passed on now.
INTERVIEWER: Endicott, I remember a Mr. Endicott in the Gundy area.
MR. LOGE: Yes, well that’s how I got in here and I filed on my homestead and I had a bit of trouble there too. I thought, by golly, I was going to go back to the States because I walked over to the Land Office and you know, when it was down there on Bissette Creek and you know, I seen him sitting there reading a newspaper and smoking a pipe there and I rapped on the door and “Oh” he says, “too late, could you come back tomorrow?” I thought that was kind of funny you know, so I thought, by golly, I’m going to fix that, so I went down to Pouce and stayed there over night and you know, I got there fairly early and the next day I rapped on the door and “Oh”, he says, “too early” he says.
INTERVIEWER: What do you do with a guy like that?
MR. LOGE: After he once let me in, he was nice enough you know, but I guess he was a little rude. Oh well, that’s lots of fun. So, I went back. I stayed around here. I was working for a guy up there north and I didn’t want to, but he tried to get a neighbour there to work for him and he couldn’t do it so I told him I’d go and work for him, Dan Able, a neighbour, an old-timer here. So, we were pitching bundles there you know, and we happened to talk about wages and he says, “What did you get down in Dakota?” “Well, when we were threshing”, I says, “we got six dollars a day.” He put the fork down and says, “I can’t pay you that!” “Well,” I says to him, “I didn’t ask you to pay me anything.” So that was it.
But, there was one thing that happened there, I don’t know what caused it, but it was you see, I got constipated there and you know, and you see I was eating good and when you move from one place to another, it seems like you get a heck of an appetite. But, I did not pay attention to that and I must have gone about fourteen days without anything coming out you know. So, I came back to Edmonton and I went to see a Red Cross guy and he says, “You should be dead by now!” he says, “What the heck is the matter with you, haven’t you got no sense?” “I guess not,” I says, “I haven’t got no sense.” “Well”, He says, “I’ll give you a pill,” he says and there was a little red pill, and he said, “If that doesn’t work, you go to the doctor right away because this is getting serious.” Well, all right, I booked in at the Selkirk Hotel and I didn’t know what was going to happen, and I lay down to sleep there, and pretty soon I had to get up and by gosh, I had that bathroom tied up for pretty near an hour. I kept kind of dumping and dumping and somebody rapped on the door and I said nothing doing, I was busy. And then later on, somebody rapped on the door again, kind of friendly tap you know, and I told him I was busy and nothing doing you know!
INTERVIEWER: How did you start out on your homestead in Baytree? What did you have to start out with? How many acres of land, and what in the way of machinery?
MR. LOGE: Well, you see, I went back to the States you see, in the fall and I came back in the spring again like I told you, I came back through Portland. Well, I was holding one hundred and sixty acres of land you see, that’s all we could do. I was not in the army you see, and the soldiers got a half section you know, but I could only get a quarter section because I didn’t get into the army. So, we started out, and the first thing I had to do was build a cabin and of course I done that myself you know. I got a Frenchman there to help me cut the logs you know, John Hickey. And, he helped me building you know and we built a shack in there in time at all you know after that I was all set. And, as far as getting grub was concerned, I didn’t bother with it all you know. As long as we had a bit of flour and yeast and so son, and rifle and ammunition, and a shot gun you know. If I wanted a meal, all I had to do was open the door, well, there was a hole in the window anyway, and I shot prairie chickens with the rifle and they just shook a bit and the rest of them would sit there, so, I just let it lay there until the rest of them flew away and I picked it up you know. And, that’s what mostly, what we done.
And, I had to clear the whole thing by hand. There was not a foot clear you see. It was all green forest and not much bush. You see there had been a fire in there at some time. And, that was way up you know. It was really nice. There was no road there, and I didn’t know exactly where the line was, so I went and got that straightened out. And, I built it on the place where the snow went off first in the spring you know, so I thought it should be fairly high up because it was very level ground.
INTERVIEWER: About how big was Spirit River? That was the end of steel at the time, was it not?
MR. LOGE: Well, that’s the end of steel from there, but you see it went also to Grande Prairie you see, but from Rycroft like. And, there was at that time, you see, they were building a road, were going to build a road from Spirit River in here you see, and they had bridges and everything all set you know but it never came about you see.
INTERVIEWER: Did you spend much time around Dawson Creek, or were you mainly in the Alberta section around Baytree and like that?
MR. LOGE: Well, when I first came here, there was no Dawson Creek, so I couldn’t visit it anyway. Well, that place across the creek there was called Bullenville and there was only two houses there you know. There was Mr. Bullen and then- oh, I can’t remember the other guy just now, but he had a kind of a barn on the other side you know. And so we didn’t have no Dawson Creek, and now, no Bullenville.
INTERVIEWER: Do you remember when they moved the townsite of Dawson Creek over to where it is now?
MR. LOGE: No. No I don’t.
INTERVIEWER: You weren’t around then hey?
MR. LOGE: Well, I was over there on the Alberta side, but I remember when it was done all right and I remember the first buildings that were ever moved in. It was that Chinese restaurant or hotel there you know. I don’t know what they call it just now you know, but that’s no more either, they tore it down you know.
INTERVIEWER: Do you remember anything about the early Doctors and whatnot in the area. For example, I know a bit about the local area. Now about in Alberta, what was the situation there? There was a Doctor Boyd in Peace River one time. Do you remember what the doctoring situation was at all?
MR. LOGE: Well, yes as far as the doctors were concerned you see, when we first came here, you know, it was the ‘flu here you see in 1918, and people were dying like flies you know, in some places. But we were, I guess we really beat the death here, because we heard that the first one died in here, was the daughter of one of the Pouce Coupe men here, and we started think but we didn’t get away from it here. But, there was no doctor in here in the ‘flu, so we couldn’t do nothing. There was no doctor here in Pouce. The nearest one was I guess, in Grande Prairie. But, we didn’t need no doctor anyway because everybody was healthy and there was no hospital and there was no graves either you know. Miss Baxter, that’s it, that’s the name of the girl that died of ‘flu like you know.
INTERVIEWER: What about the first medical set-up in your area? On the Alberta side of the Peace? What was the town that had the first hospital or the first doctor?
MR. LOGE: Well, now you got me there a bit, because I never paid much attention. But, no I don’t know, but as they eventually got a hospital there in Spirit River, and then I guess they had one in Grande Prairie, but I didn’t know much about it. You see, when I came in here, you know, there was a Pouce Coupe in a way, but it was only two buildings as far as I know. It was the store there and then there was what I call Baxter you know, and he had a livery stable and so on, on the other side of the street like you know, road. Then there was Mr. Laloge. He was there pretty close you know and by the way, he pretty well had the same name as I. Except, he had a “lay” or “la” ahead of that you know, and outside of that, “Loge” – you know, that was according to there you know, Laloge you know, and he used to get letters you know and he would say, “Here’s a letter for you, and I would open it up and you know and start looking at everything and here’s something I no ‘savvy’ you know. So, I got wise after that you know and I looked at it for sure you know, but there was just a La-Loge you know and so now there was no trouble with that any more you know.
INTERVIEWER: What were some of the problems you had when you, what were some of the things that stand out, things that were difficult to get used up in this country?
MR. LOGE: Well, I really don’t know about that, I don’t know. It seems like there was no difficulties much. You know, you were all by yourself. You had to be on your own all together. When I first came there, I didn’t even have a door on the shack. But, I had a weasel there one winter you know, and he used to keep the mice away. It was a big fella you know, and whenever I started to work on the cooking, he’d come right along side of me and trill and them whistle and then he wanted something to eat and I tried to catch him. So, he went back in the hole. And I could hear him running around sometimes over my clothes at night. But, he never bothered me, you know, and in the spring I don’t know that happened, he left me, but I guess I wasn’t very good company.
INTERVIEWER: Well, maybe weasels don’t get used to men. What about farming? What did you first use for farming in the way of machinery and whatnot? How did you plant your crop?
MR. LOGE: Well, yes, that was quite a thing you see at first, you see. We didn’t have much. Well, we had breaking plow of course and then some sort or harrows and somebody’s machinery that we picked up in a sale and so on. Sometimes we bought it new, but we didn’t have much money so we had to take it easy. And, the first year we broadcast the grain by hand and you can broadcast a big band you know. And, there’s one thing I did notice that’s different from now. It seems like when the grain comes up, it comes up, seems like one morning it wasn’t there, and the next morning there was green all over. Just comes up like that you know. I remember I had forty acres – twenty acres that is, around the buildings, and I seeded it to wheat and I got nine hundred and ninety-nine bushels out of that on the tally. And, that would be a little more, you know, because they always get a good weight you know, as a rule. So, there was over a thousand bushels there on the twenty acres.
INTERVIEWER: That’s quite a crop.
MR. LOGE: Yes, that’s quite a crop and you know I had that twice and then some years I didn’t have much of anything you know.
INTERVIEWER: You were saying earlier on about the climate of the area, our Chinooks in February and so on.
MR. LOGE: Yes, well, that’s something of a mystery. You see, when we first came in here, the weather was awful nice and we had what you call Indian Summer. And we had nice, nice weather. And well, I don’t know, but he weather seems to be getting cockeyed lately. I don’t know, I guess it turns around, I believe. Of course, there’s one thing you know, we never got the rain when it should have come, you know, before the summer. You don’t really expect any rain when it comes, until way out in June you know. You have to be prepared for that, but we had more, we didn’t have so much rain as we had, as we have now, but we seemed to get the rain at the wrong time. Yes, well, I think we would do better if we started in again real early.
INTERVIEWER: You have been listening to Mr. Loge, an eighty-three year old pioneer who left his mark on the Peace Country, and now spends his time reminiscing and playing chess.