My Father was born in Quebec on Lac St. Jean and he came out west with the C.P.R. and he stopped and stayed on at Moose Jaw for a year and he took the Moose Jaw flats for a homestead. Then, the gophers in July pushed his potatoes out of the ground that he had planted, so he quit the homestead and he went west and worked with the C.P.R. and then got as far as Golden and then he worked on construction. He was a good axe man, he was a very good axe man. He could get fuel or he could make anything with an axe, so he built the counters for the saloons in Golden and they were the first counters in Golden.
From Golden he moved to Kamloops and there he started ranching in the Nicola Valley and they also had a roadhouse in the early days and the cowboys and everybody used to congregate there and that’s where I was born. My oldest brother and I were both born there at Mamit [?] Lake where they had this place.
Then in 1898 they got the Gold Rush fever, so we got in with a bunch of people who were going mining or going to Alaska. So they got about seventy houses — pack horses — and they started for Alaska. But when they got to McLeod Lake they were told that the people were coming back from Alaska. Then they took the other way and came out to Dawson’s Prairie and turned off before Dawson’s Prairie into Moberly Lake and there they wintered their horses on the Indian Reserve, north of the lake. In the spring they split up and some others went back to Kamloops, but my Dad and Mr. Bissette stayed on and they worked down the Peace.
They went down the Peace to Dunvegan and I don’t know whether they took land up there or not for sure. But they stayed there around Dunvegan and Spirit River and Hay Lake –we used to call it Hay Lake — for two years I guess and they travelled from there to Grande Prairie and all around this district and they settled here on account of their horses. They used to bring the horses down here to feed in the wintertime down here on the Pouce flats and outside there. In 1904 and 1905 they built the cabin down on the river and then made that their headquarters from then on. But they used to trap up at Chetwynd now, and Bissette Creek and down along the Pine to Little Prairie and Rocky Mountain Lake. They trapped all that country back in there. They had it pretty well all to themselves because the Indian thought there was a Windigo in there and they didn’t like to go in there. So, they had the whole country to themselves and they used to do very well trapping. From that time on he just trapped in the wintertime and then they used to just travel around the country after that, and make hay.
He made hay just north of Dunvegan at Hay Lake and he used to haul it to Spirit River. That’s where they were staying. There were quite a few people there and they all had stock. Charlie Bremner, he was running a big ranch out there for a man named Peter Gunn, another old timer from there. He had come into the country before, he never stayed though. But, Charlie Bremner was supposed to ranch for him you know, but he never got anything out of the country. Charlie fed most of this beef to the Indians you know. Charlie Bermner was married to an Indian woman and they had the whole tribe, this whole Spirit River bunch, they were living there most of the time so he used to butcher these animals. When Mr. Gunn came up in the fall to look at his stock, Bremner would take him out in the back woods and show him the moose tracks and tell him how big steers he had and everything like this. There was never anything there to see, and that’s a fact. They often told us about these things you know.
But you know he was just travelling from one place to another. Grande Prairie or at Bear Lake, you know. He stayed there. He was going to take a homestead up there, but he didn’t. He gradually worked himself back up here [the Pouce Coupe area]. He used to come up here every winter and bring his horses and he’d look after the Indian horses too.
There was a lot of wolves in them days and they used to kill the horses. They used to gather up the horses, the Indians would bring them in, and Mr. Bissette he would have a camp out here where Angus MacDonald’s place is just over the hump here and he used to trap the wolves and poison the wolves in the wintertime.
In the winter of 1907, I think that was the last, there was only about five or six wolves left in the district. And they must have got about thirty or forty of them, you know the wolves anyway, but I know after we got back here, we often went through there and we’d see all the forms they had for pressing the wolf hides and things like that. You know, they were right there. They used to make them you know, and make them up. So, they cleaned the wolves out pretty well. They never bothered the horses again. Before that they were killing the horses all off. Half the Indian horses were chewed up, big strips of hide were taken off their backs and things like that. But, finally as I say, they got rid of them all — all but five or six and they stayed around here for a few years and gradually got killed off too. Mr. Batchelor, Tom Batchelor got the last of them.
The last of the wolves, one of them, came back here after it would be about 1910 or 1909, it was pretty severe weather and one of them came up the river from down below. There were two trappers down there and they used to trap mice in their cabin. The mice were thick then and they used to poison them. They would throw these mice out the door and the wolf that came up the river ate these things you know, because he was so old, he could hardly get anything to eat and they sickened him and he came up on the river and laid on our manure mound in with the stock. He was an old one, snow white, and very thin when he died. When we got him and picked him up and skinned him he covered the whole wall, he was that large, the skin was after it was stretched. In the center part of our house we had a big fireplace and then we had one wall and tacked him up there so the skin would dry. So, he was up there for four or five years, you know, and everybody used to admire him and look at it and then wonder where we got this big wolf, you know, and my Dad would tell them a big story about it.
In the winter of 1907 there were three trappers — well, men, I don’t know whether they were trappers or not — but, you know they came up from the American side and they took a place up at Coleman Creek. They built a cabin there and they used to come down to my Dad’s place and get their grub and everything. My Dad had a little trading place then and he used to deal with the Indians and he always had quite a bit of stock on hand. They stayed quite a bit with my Dad and when they went back up in the wintertime they had their cabin built. I guess they got quarreling or something and one of them got — or I couldn’t say exactly what happened — but they found Mr. Coleman frozen, sitting up in the fireplace, practically burnt. They come down and they told my Dad about it and he sent an Indian down to Peace River Crossing to get Sergeant Brian Anderson. He was the only policeman in this district, in fact in all the west part of the Peace. And, they loaded him [Coleman] up and they started out with the body, but they couldn’t handle the body because it was frozen into a sitting position with it’s arms straight out. So, the policeman thought maybe if they took just the head in it would be all right. But, when they got to the Peace River Crossing, they decided they’d have to have the whole body, so they had to come back and get the body and with it’s arms frozen sticking out, they had an awful time trying to get it out. They had to go down on the Pouce Coupe River to the Peace and down the Peace with a dog sled to take him — well to take him to Lesser Slave Lake, I guess, with the dog sled and from then on they could go by sleigh. They had to go down across the Lakes and down the Little Slave to the Athabasca and out to Edmonton. And, my Dad had to go out as a witness because he was the one that really found the body after the other fellows had told him about it, and they didn’t want to go back up there you see, or get blamed for it, or something like that. And, when the police took them in and arrested them — one of them and took him down to Clinton — and they had trial and that’s the year that my Dad came to get us.
We were in school in New Westminster. We’d been there from 1904 to 1908 and, so he brought us all out back to Kamloops and we stayed there until the middle of May and then we went to Edmonton on the C.P.R. There was no C.N.R. then, just the C.P.R. and it went to Edmonton. Then in Edmonton, we got a team of horses and a team of oxen and two wagons and we started for the Peace River. We came up to Athabasca and two Ukrainians, you know, came with us. There were a lot of Ukrainians who come through there and we had a nice trip, you know, it was nice weather in the summertime, the month of June, the beginning of June, May and June, and then we took the boat up to Athabasca. Mr. Jim Cornwall ran the Northern Transportation Company. He was in charge of that and he took us from Athabasca to Mirror Landing and there we forded the seventeen miles to the Little Slave River. We took another boat there and it was — I don’t know whether it belonged to the Mission or to Cornwall, anyway, they took us to the head of the river up to Slave Lake, Lesser Slave Lake we used to call it in them days. It’s Grouard now. And then when we got to Grouard, there was no school. Well, there was at Peace River Crossing there was a school there, and it was during the holidays then. They left two of us boys and my oldest brother and my Mother and my Dad and another guy, Locale, I think it was, came on with the wagon and we stayed in the school there with the Indians. There were no Indians there during the holidays because all of the Indians left the school, just us three white boys in the whole school. And then my Mother and Dad came on and Israel and then they got to Spirit River. They had this pack train there and he got the Indians to bring the horses out and then they took the pack train from Spirit River to Pouce Coupe and Mother had to ride a horse and she had a cat and she had to take it along and they took everything but the wagons and the harness and a few other things that were heavy. They left them back in Spirit River.
So, that winter, we stayed in Grouard and went to school until the following holidays, the next year 1909, and then they sent an Indian down with a democrat to pick us up and take us home. And, coming by the Peace River Crossing, we stayed there at the mission there for one night like, and then the next morning we stopped and Sergeant Anderson, he was stationed there just about at the mission, so we stopped and shook hands with Mr. Anderson and he introduced himself. And, we talked quite a bit there, and we of course were just young fellas and that was the only time I ever seen Mr. Anderson, that was the first and only time. And, then we went on to Spirit River and my Dad was waiting for us. He had the horses, pack horses, and we stayed there. They always had a sports day there in July and that was for the whole district, the whole country, and everybody was there from all around the country for the sports day. They had races and baseball and everything, just like they do now and after that we took the horses and came up to Pouce Coupe. It took us two days to come, with packhorses from Spirit River to Pouce Coupe.
Then, that would be in the summer of 1909 and the haying. We’d cut the hay with a scythe and my Dad done the cutting. We’d get up about four o’clock in the morning and he’d go out there and cut and then we’d get out there with the oxen and the sleigh, and we had this sleigh and we’d make it to my place there, it wasn’t very far, just about three-quarters of a mile from the old place. So, we’d go up there and with the oxen and we’d pile all the hay and we had a good stack there. There was a spring there so we made the stack right in case of fire, we’d have some protection you know, we’d be able to save the hay. So, we’d make a big stack. We were just school kids, and we done about all we could, but we couldn’t do much. And, we’d get up pretty late and get on down there in the morning with the oxen and the old man would work early and by the time we’d get up there he’d give us a hand to pile the hay. We couldn’t do very much in a day. It was all wild Rye grass and Red Top. So, after the hay was cut, we had some hay.
We didn’t have all that many cattle that year. Mother had one cow I think, that’s all she brought, a cow, when they came up the year before , but that’s all we had, that and a team of horses and the oxen. We had quite a few horses, but they wouldn’t have pastured in the winter, it takes lots of feed to feed them.
And then in the end of July, the old man wanted to go and get the wagon from Spirit River and his harness and there was no road in them days out of Spirit River. There was a road from Spirit River to Grande Prairie and so we went to Spirit River with packhorses and four horses and took the harness and wagons. We left the rig at Charlie Bremner’s and we went from Spirit River to Grande Prairie one day to see the priest there. We wanted to get the priest to baptize my older sister. We stayed overnight at Alex Monkman’s stopping place at Kelishkin Lake. There wasn’t a building in Grande Prairie at least, I never seen any. There was just a little log cabin church on one side of Bear Creek, you know just a bit before you get into Grande Prairie, so we didn’t get to see the priest, he’d gone to some other place. So, we went up to Lake Saskatoon. In them days that was the only Hudson Bay Post south of the Peace River and then we stayed there a couple of days, and then headed west.
The year before, a bull outfit came into the country and they cut a trail from Lake Saskatoon to Beaverlodge and then they settled all around Beaverlodge there between Beaverlodge and Hythe, so we followed their trail until we got to Hythe. And from Hythe, there was no more road. So, my Dad got a couple of the Indians and they started out and went ahead and I drove the team and we came to Horse Lake and there we had quite a bit of trouble getting through the muskeg there. The frost was just about gone from under the moss and we had to put some skids under the wagons and then get the horses across and then pull them across with chains. It was mostly burn country around there at Horse Lake, and we kept up on the hills and there was grass there, and it wasn’t too bad until we got to Swan Lake. There was a man there, he came up from the coast and took that for a homestead and we stayed with him two or three days. Then we went out and we headed this way you see, and cut a road up through here where I have the cabin today. The road was just twenty feet from where my cabin is now and we just went up by Tate Creek, we used to call it. I don’t know whether it’s called that now. There we had to build a log bridge across the creek as the water was too deep to get the wagon across. We had some salt and sugar and flour in the wagon, so we had to build this little pole bridge. We hauled some logs up from the flat there and put logs on and then we crossed logs on it again. It didn’t take very long and then we went up to where, around Tomslake, and there was one bad spot in there too. We had a kind of muskeg to go through there and we had an awful job getting through there, but we finally made it. And the winter before, my Dad came, and he took a couple of Indians with him and they came as far as Canyon Creek and they cut the road from Pouce, you know, they used to go home at night and after they cut that road, it was all right. Coming down that Canyon Creek Hill it was bad, you had to come north and then turn west and it was right straight down. And they had to put roughlocks on and drag a timber as well as hold the two brakes on, to hold the wagon and it was just a little narrow place there for the river to run through. But it was dark and we had to load it full of logs and stumps to get across and from then on the road was made so it didn’t take us long to get home and that’s where I first seen my homestead. The homestead that I took afterwards, it’s on Canyon Creek Hill. I was at the same spot yesterday and I told Jim that’s where I first seen my homestead. I didn’t have it as a homestead until two years later, but, it sort of stayed with me then, that picture.
That patch of green was winter wheat my Dad had sown in 1908 and the crop was very thin. It was winter-killed and of course it didn’t have much of chance because all we had was a plow and a little A-frame made with a few iron pins and that’s the only harrows we had. So in the fall when we cut this grain there wasn’t very much to it. We didn’t have a mower in them days or anything like that. There wasn’t enough there to cut with a scythe, so, my Dad gave us each a pair of scissors and a sack and told us to go ahead and cut the grain. And so we went ahead and cut the heads off clean and put them in the sack and took the sacks up and put them in the rack on the sleigh pulled by the oxen, and got them home and put them in the shed. That winter, my Dad and I and my oldest brother got some logs out and flattened them with a broad axe on two faces and we struck the lines with charcoal sticks and the logs and my Dad was on top with a whip saw and we sawed all the lumber for the granary that fall. The granary we made then was twelve feet wide and the floor was thirty feet long. In the wintertime we’d spread the heads of wheat on the granary floor and we’d just beat the grain out by flailing it.
The problem was in that same fall in 1909 the government sent us — that is the previous year — the government sent us along with this here winter wheat a sample of barley and a sample of oats and a sample of wheat — Rescue wheat. They asked us to plant them and keep a record of the time it was seeded and on what type of land and everything, so they’d have a record. And so my Dad did that. And so, in the fall we cut this here grain with a scythe when it was ripe and put it all into piles and then we hauled it down. During that winter of 1909 and 1910, we had enough grain and barley and in 1910, we planted that grain up on the hill, you know, towards Pouce Coupe, from where the homestead was. We had a field of barley and a field of oats, but no wheat, we didn’t plant any. So, we cut that with scythes and piled it up and we even cleaned it by hand. We went out into the field with rakes, small rakes, and we had to go through and pick up the heads that were left and put them all in piles. Then we hauled it down the hill with the sleigh to the granary and got it all in the granary and then in the wintertime, when it turned cold, we threshed it.
And, that year my brother had to go and get some supplies from Edmonton. That was in the fall of the year we made a baler and we baled some hay. We didn’t have no strings to tie it with. We just used willow pegs and bored holes and cross members and we drove some wedges in the ends of the pegs to hold the wheat tight. We loaded all we could on the sleighs. And the grain, we threshed the grain for the horses and loaded it on the sleigh in sacks and loaded all the feed so we could have feed on our way back from Edmonton. I didn’t go, but, my oldest brother and Mr. Laraviere, he was with us then, and they took the team down. They each took a team and cached all their hay on the way down, so they would have feed when they came back. They started out .
Well, it was the end of September, the beginning of October and they didn’t get back until March. It was all rivers going up to Edmonton and they had to go around by Lesser Slave Lake and across the lake there and down the Athabasca and the Little Slave River and then to Edmonton from the Athabasca.
In the spring of 1911 — that’s the year of the survey — they surveyed the Block, six townships of the Block. And a lot of the settlers came in that year, and all that was thrown open was six townships. The Block was surveyed in 1904 or 1905, that is, the boundaries were. There was no other way of getting the land. You had to wait until it was surveyed before you could even file or proxy or anything like that, until the survey was made. So, that summer there was quite a bit of activity throughout the country with people coming through, but there was nobody could take the land, they could look the land over to find out just where they would settle or file, where they wanted to file on the land. The Block was land that the Government of B.C. had to give to the C.P.R. and it was eighty miles west and eighty miles north and there was two and a half million acres. And this Block the government had to give in place of land that the C.P.R. wanted on both sides of the railroad. They didn’t want the land in the mountains, they wanted prairie land like they had in Alberta and Saskatchewan, so instead of the government giving the land, they paid them money for the land they took and the money from the land came from B.C. It took three and a half million dollars. I was confused there, between the B.C. and the Dominion governments. I should have said the Dominion government instead of B.C.
In them days they had what they called South African War Scrips and the veterans all had scrips coming to them. We thought we’d be able to have scrips in the Block too, you know, but they didn’t give any scrips here. They were going to give us a grant, but then they changed their minds again, and weren’t giving any grants in this district either. So, then we had to take each a quarter section, the boys and my Dad and myself. The ones that had these scrips over in Alberta, in Grande Prairie, there was I think Mr. Erlake and Mr. Marion there, and there was quite a few down there, but I don’t remember all of their names and some of them kept them and others sold them, for a bottle of whisky or whatever they could get. They just sold their scrips, and some of the people took advantage of that and get quite a bit of land together.
The surveyors, surveyed the Block — that is the [first] six townships of the Block, and the fall after they left, my Dad filed a proxy for me because I wasn’t of age yet and then the land didn’t get thrown open until February 12th, 1912. And, there was half a dozen people staying with us at the old stopping place, and they all went down together because the land office was in Grande Prairie them days, so we all had to get busy. Then, they went down and filed. There was Ed Laraviere, and Joe Dewetter, and Mr. Normark and Joe Joson and Israel Tremblay and Paul Gauthier. They all went down together and they were the first ones to file on their land in the whole of the Block and I didn’t get to file on my property until the following July. That was the first of the settlers and the first filings in the district. That summer the people started coming in hordes and I lost track of a lot of the names from then on. There was a lot of old-timers — the Millers and Frank Palmer and the Barkers and the Pipers. There was a lot of people came in that year and settled. They practically took up all of two townships, north and south of here. Mr. Solway was our first government agent. He had a place down on the Dawson Creek, just where the crossing is into Rolla and he had his little office there in his shack. He had just a little pole shack built by himself, and we helped him to put the roof on the winter before. Then he got this post with the agency the next summer like, and everybody had to walk from our place up to Salway’s to get to file on the land. There wasn’t any more filing on the land in Grande Prairie like there was before. And then, Mr. Salway took care of it all. He was the agent, for I don’t know how long, a couple of years I guess, and then they moved the office to Pouce Coupe and I think that was during the war or after the war, I’m not quite certain. Mr. Jamieson finally was the Government Agent in Pouce Coupe.
Mr. Gordon Duncan was our policeman. He first come in the country from B.C. They were the Provincial Police. They weren’t Mounties. And he stayed at Fort St. John south of the river on the flat there for I don’t know how long and then he moved to Mr. Palmer’s — Frank Palmer’s — place on Saskatoon Creek. And then when he left he was called to some other place in B.C. And then, they sent another policeman and they stationed him in Pouce Coupe, and that’s where they stayed, until they left this district.
The first Post Office was at our place down on the riverbank at the old homestead and Mother was the Postmistress. She looked after all the mail. The mail used to go to Grande Prairie to be taken out, and I used to take it down sometimes, There was no real mailman. Everybody would bring the mail up from Grande Prairie. I don’t know just when they started to have contracts with the mail. I know we used to haul it. We had quite a few things that year. When Mr. Atkinson and Mr. Haskins, they started the store in 1912 in Pouce Coupe, and the telegraph line was also built in that year. It was built down towards the old homestead, but Mr. Haskins and Mr. Hasler finally got the government to move it to Pouce.
That was the year of the election I think in B.C., and had Mr. Oliver and Mr. Bowser, both on the platform at the same time. The B.C. government had spent ten million dollars. There was about thirty or forty of them on the stand there and we had quite an argument. And they were chewing about it between themselves about the government spending ten million dollars. I’ll never forget that.
There were no churches at all or anything like that. There were preachers who used to come to our house. We had ministers who used to come and they used to stop at our little old place there and hold services. I don’t know just when they started to build the church up on my place there on the hill, but, I don’t recall when it was, if it was just after the war or before the end of the war.
The first saw mill that came into the district, Mr. Hunt and Mr. Trelle — Herman Trelle’s father, the Wheat King — started. He came down to our place and started a mill there on the banks of the river. And they logged up the river and put all the logs in the water and in the spring of the year, they put the booms in, but the boom wouldn’t hold the logs. The river was too swift and they lost practically all of their logs. Mr. Trelle was German you know, and [he and my Dad] they used to get the telegraph man to come down and bring the news, you see, every day or so, and my Dad would be sitting down on one side of the table and Mr. Trelle would be sitting on the other side. And Mr. Trelle, if the news was that the Germans were pushing the Allies back, Mr. Trelle would say, “You see”, he says, “tomorrow,” he says, “they’ll be all the way back.” And, my Dad would say, “Tomorrow”, they’ll all be the other way.” And this way they’d quarrel about the war, but this was all in fun you know.
Then, when the logs would start going down the river, we’d go to the bank of the river and he’d say “Mein Gott, Mein Gott”. And his logs were going under the boom and he was trying to catch them all the time with ropes and the water would stretch them. And, finally he’d saved enough anyway and he got them to the saw mill and made some lumber. He built a big place there my Dad was going to build a hotel there on the flat and he got quite a bit of lumber and I think that’s when they got the lumber for the church on my place. I know we hauled the logs from out west of Dawson Creek there from the mill that was started. There was no mill there then, but afterwards, Olinger’s mill was in there. It was in other hands, before Mr. Olinger had it. So, I think that’s the year that the church was built, either in 1914 or 1915. We all got together and peeled the logs. Mr. Patenaude and Mr. Marion and Mr. Olinger, oh, they was quite a few of the people got together and put it up and then we had a steady preacher then. The other churches throughout the country, I don’t remember, I don’t know much about them. I think it was Father Hautin, was our first priest I think. I know we had this father, a priest by the name of Croise, he used to come up from Spirit River, and he used to run it, I think, and he even baptized my sisters.
1912, that was the year that most of the settlers came in, that is around our district. There was six townships I think was surveyed that year, or the previous year and they were thrown open in 1912. The settlers came in hordes that year and they took land all over the district, and I don’t know just when the rest of the townships were thrown open, but I guess it must have been in the mid-summer sometime. There were people waiting all the time for this land, you know, to be thrown open, and I can’t remember how they… [section missing?]
The Edson Trail was opened in 1912 — back in the winter of 1912, or 1913 — and that’s when most of the people came in. They were staying all around the district because there was a lot of land, but they wanted to get some of the choice pieces of land, and some of them had to wait until they threw the balance of it open and surveyed it.
In 1912, we had a binder and a drill brought in from Edson. We sent two teams out to Edson to get some machinery and goods and everything and the fellows we sent out, when they got to Edson, they went on a spree and forgot whose money they were spending. But, they managed to get the binder and drill and sugar and flour and stuff like that, that you couldn’t get very handy up here. When they got that back, they had a big bill, and they were a long time paying for it.
In 1915, we put a lot of the crops in. The proof wheat that they had to have to prove the land on, a lot of the people, the settlers, they were bachelors and they had to go out to work, and you know still had to prove up their land. And they didn’t have no use for the grain, they couldn’t sell it, so we had quite a few men around our district that didn’t have no work. There was no money around, you know, so they used to help my Dad, you know, and they used to help him seed up the land. He did the seeding, lots of land, so that the people could prove up. And, then we had lots of grain that fall. What happened was that year we had a bumper crop. We had oats, and we couldn’t plant them all the first year, we had a stack of them and we didn’t have any granaries to hold all the grain because there was but very little lumber in the country. So, we just left the grain in the stacks and as it happened, the following year, we had a complete freeze-out, and we didn’t have no grain. There wasn’t a bit of grain to last over the winter to feed the stock and we sold it to the homesteaders as they were coming in, those that were here and had the stock and didn’t have no grain to feed them. There was a little grain, little fed to the stock, but there was lots of hay.
It puts me in mind of 1911 when my Dad had a mower and a rake and he had a big crew. They were mostly all homesteaders that had filed on the land or they were filing on the land. He went out from O’Callaghan’s Lake and Saskatoon Lake and Normark’s Lake and we took all the hay that we could, to cut for that winter, everything we could get and anyway we had it all stacked up.
The year that we — it was 1915 or 1914 — we made hay all over the district, that year, from Dawson Creek to Pouce to our place and at the lakes north of our place, that year, we cut the slough grass. Boy, we had stacks of it and then it was a very dry fall and fire got started in the black moss and the peat. So we had to go to work and dig a four foot deep trench all around these stacks. And then the wind during the night some time or the day when the fire got up close it was burning awful close to the stacks and sometimes the sparks would jump this trench. So we had to have about four men there all the time watching the sparks because they would light on the opposite side of the trench and then someone would have to put them out. There was always somebody walking around watching the fire and they’d stay right there. They would camp under the stacks to watch the fire and they’d stay right there, to see that the fire didn’t jump the trench. And that was our hay, the only hay we had for our stock that winter.
It was all slough grass, and it wasn’t very good but we lost about forty head of cattle that winter too and I know I lost some of my own. My Dad give me a heifer and a calf two years before and I had quite a bunch of cattle that winter too, and I lost some of them. Bob, my brother, he lost the only ones he had and then my Dad wouldn’t give him any more to start with. There was no such thing as your market. We didn’t get any cattle to market until I was about eighteen. The only ones we’d sell it to, our cattle, was the local people coming in and we’d sell our cattle, our cows and our calves to them, the milk cows for their family and things like that. And, we sold a lot of cattle that way. And a lot of the time after the people would get this land they’d want to return back to where they came from. And my Dad would buy the stock back and sometimes the whole — all of their equipment — and we’d keep it then and sell it to some other settlers that’d be coming in. We’d keep trading all the time like that. We were doing pretty well at it too. Some of them were hard up too.