Audio Part 2:
Interviewer: Now, Mrs. Scobie when did you come into the Peace country?
Mrs. Scobie: When did I come in? Well I landed and came right to Edmonton. I stayed in the Prairies for two weeks and then I came from there to Edmonton, the last day of June. That would be in 1922. Then, I met my husband there and then we got married by the Reverend Dr. McQueen. That was on a Friday. We stayed the weekend and then we started out to Peace River. Father had been here in the summer of course, he had been in a year at Rolla and he had things fixed up a little bit and he come out and he had his team and a wagon. So, of course we got, in the stores our groceries of course. Then on Tuesday we started and I think we came in by team, in the wagon to Rolla. That would be, we’d have landed in three days, we landed at Rolla, the homestead.
Interviewer: What was there in Rolla at this time?
Mrs. Scobie: Well, it was really the biggest town. See there was very, very little here, one or two Indian teepees around and in Pouce Coupe, I think they had the government building and a store I think. And at Rolla we had two hotels and a school and the store. That was Mr. Atkinson then, was in the store.
Interviewer: Did you choose Rolla for any particular reason?
Mrs. Scobie: Well, that was where my husband came and homesteaded.
Interviewer: How much land did he have?
Mrs. Scobie: A quarter, that would be 160 acres, and then he farmed his brother’s quarter also, east of ours and he then, I forget now, when he started on some more land.
Interviewer: Well, was the land cleared?
Mrs. Scobie: Oh no. There was none cleared.
Interviewer: None of it?
Mrs. Scobie: Well, he had enough to prove-up before he could get his title.
Interviewer: How was the land cleared, how did you clear it?
Mrs. Scobie: Just by hand and an axe. Those were the days, now I’m telling you!
Interviewer: Well, you were saying you were clearing by hand with an axe. How long would it take you to clear about ten acres that way?
Mrs. Scobie: Well, it must have been; I thought it was seventy or sixty acres they had to clear before they were able to file in the land. Well, that was on the east quarter, the one side of it. Then, he started to cut some more brush, north of the house you see. Of course after we were in, it wasn’t a couple of years or so, we had to get help, and we could get a young fellow and he would come and cut all the bush out. And then, as soon as we got crops, they had to haul them up to Spirit River and that was eighty-five miles.
Interviewer: Just how did they haul the grain, in a wagon?
Mrs. Scobie: Just in a wagon, with a team. They were generally, if everything went right, five and a half days. Five and a half days, or sometimes six, and you had to have a good team at that.
Interviewer: Was there a sort of trail from Rolla to Spirit River?
Mrs. Scobie: No, they had to go east of town, must’ve been seven miles, and then they went down a big bank down toward the river and you see, you had to wait until that was frozen and then cross at the next stopping at this side. They crossed over and then they got to the other side. They always went like, two parties or three and they had to put a team in the other side, four horses to pull up the sleigh.
Interviewer: Do you remember any incidents that happened either tragic or such that you don’t think would happen today under the same circumstances?
Mrs. Scobie: No, I can’t. Well, there was only one that I’d think of. I heard my husband talk about it. It was in the spring and the ice was beginning to go and one ream went across and made it. And there was another team coming when they sent someone out on horseback and he was coming straight across to the other side when a big chunk of ice came down and hit the horses feet and the horse went one way and he went the other. And, of course the men that were on this side, they seen what happened. They ran down of course, with their clothes on and called the horse and they got him out and finally they got the young fellow out too. Otherwise, if they hadn’t been right about at that time, well, I don’t know for the horse, but the young fella would have been drowned.
Interviewer: I imagine that was all they used to do, because he didn’t know how thick the ice was and whatnot and crossing a few horses in ice is almost as bad at the Peace Crossing as it was at the Clayhurst Crossing.
Mrs. Scobie: That was the only one time that I can remember.
Interviewer: Did your husband every start building your own house and whatnot, out of logs?
Mrs. Scobie: Oh yea, the first one was kind of rough, and it was built out of logs and quite a few years after that, we had a lumber one. But, the house that’s now on the homestead, my son, he had it built. The proper people built it, and put the water and everything in it.
Interviewer: What do you recall about the railroad – the fact that Rolla was once the big town, and now Dawson Creek is and all that?
Mrs. Scobie: Well, I think that was during the war you see, and then when I came in, the railway just came to Spirit River or Grande Prairie and then from Grande Prairie to Hythe. It was there for a year or two and then from Hythe up to Dawson. Of course, during the war they had to take the mail in some way, you know with the soldiers and the war and whatnot?
Interviewer: Don’t you think that that the rail maybe should have gone to and made Rolla as the main center?
Mrs. Scobie: Well, once upon a time, I think that was before it started from Grande Prairie to Hythe, they intended to have the railway to come from Spirit River, maybe you don’t know of this. Saskatoon Creek, you know, they’d come down that way. Well, that was where the town was going to be in the early days and the line was laid so far out from Spirit River to there. How they crossed the river and down there by Braden’s, I don’t know, but there must’ve been going to be a railway bridge there. And, whatever happened, I don’t know, I can’t remember. Likely that had been discussed somewhere when the line was lifted, and they just proceeded to come that way from there. But some even think, the old-timers yet, that that would have been more central, north and south.
Interviewer: Spirit River was a big town, practically it was the center of the Peace there, or did they when the railway came in, do you know whatever happened to it, why it sort of died?
Mrs. Scobie: I don’t know. I’ve heard no connections to that.
Interviewer: Do you remember the explosion that took place back in 1943, when the dynamite went off?
Mrs. Scobie: Some things I can remember and other things.. you know I’ll be eighty-five in July.
Interviewer: That’s a long time. And, you say that it’s fifty-one years that you’ve been over. Why did you come over in the first place? What had you heard about the Peace River country?
Mrs. Scobie: Well, my husband was out here ten years before I came up and he came home, we didn’t know him just so well, but his two brothers learned where we were and came to visit us in our village at home.
Interviewer: Do you have anything you feel you regret, the way your life was, and the hardships and the parting occasion and whatnot?
Mrs. Scobie: No, we just had a little shack to start out, but, I don’t know. Of course in those days, things were not to my idea so expensive and you hadn’t the show to put on like what they have to know.
Interviewer: Do you think that the children today are rather fortunate living the way they are.
Mrs. Scobie: No, they were more content, they dinna growl about this and that and the next thing. But, they had to work then, more so than they do now, in the early days. Well, they didn’t have too, the money either. They didn’t have like, nice coats, these fur lined coats and things like that like what they have now and they still had to get out and walk.
Interviewer: Where did you get your clothes then?
Mrs. Scobie: Eaton’s, I think it was, yes, it was sent for from the mail order house, you got a catalogue and you sent out.
Interviewer: How expensive were clothes?
Mrs. Scobie: Well, it wasn’t near so expensive as they are now. Of course, we got lots of things sent over form the old country, such as all my kiddie’s coats.