The men each drove a team of horses pulling a load of household effects. On one of the loads was a box containing our twenty hens and a turkey, and another box held our cat. The two dogs followed the horses . . . .
My sister-in-law and I drove in the buggy with her baby, Aileen, aged nine weeks, our two children, Margaret, then two years old, and Hugh, aged eight weeks. Their little girl Anna, then six years old, came on the load with her father. It was no easy task to drive with Hugh in my arms, especially as the horse persisted in trotting down the hills and wandering over the level prairie to eat grass . . . . We travelled only nine miles that evening.
The days were very warm and the nights, especially the early mornings, very cold. We slept in a tent and ate our meals by the roadside. After our noon meal, while the horses rested, we usually seated ourselves on the sheltered side of a hill and gave the babies their bath.
The second night we camped on a hill, the third in a valley beside a running stream. This was one of the most beautiful spots in the West. There were hills on all sides and tall trees on the banks of the stream. After making preparations for the night, we sat enjoying the twilight and the peacefulness of the scene . . . . The fourth night we spent in a vacant shack . . . . Next day, we crossed the Red Deer River on a ferry . . . .
We forded a winding creek seven times and each time there was a deep bank to go down and up. We never knew whether the horse would come down on his feet, or we on our heads in the water. Often my sister-in-law would wade it, with her baby under one arm and mine under the other, while I put Margaret down at my feet and drove on. Sometimes Margaret and I waded too, leaving the horse and buggy for one of the men to bring across.
Mrs. Tom (Mary) Brown also wrote about the journey. She writes:
We pitched our tent close to a farm house, ate our supper, and slept like logs until we were awakened at daylight by a shrill whistle. Mr. Woods, the farmer, was calling his horses. He very kindly invited us for breakfast . . . .
The weather was beautiful and I shall always think of those two days as a glorious picnic . . . . The sunsets were grand, and each night as the sun went down we were lulled to sleep by the weird strains of the coyotes . . . . The children wanted to know if the coyotes were saying their prayers.
We had to cross the Knee Hill Creek five times - the first crossing was awful, as our unbroken broncs insisted on galloping downhill into it. I held the two babies, and I donít know how I kept from catapulting into the water. I was so much frightened that I decided not to ride through any more of these crossings in that rig, so the next four times we crossed, I removed my shoes and stockings and waded through with a baby under each arm.
For a look at recent photos of the Kneehills Creek valley (89 kb), the valley they traveled into and through, try this file at my Geocities site.
We had gone only a short distance when we came to a hill known as Fox Coulee, near the site of Munson. My husband took Anna off his wagon just before starting up the hill, when half way up, the wagon capsized, and all our belongings rolled down to the bottom of the coulee. Fortunately Tom was able to jump clear just as the horses fell. It took all the forenoon to get our stuff gathered together, and dragged from the bottom of the coulee. My dishes, which I had packed carefully, had not a cracked plate, and only our table and the violin were broken. We started again after dinner on the last lap of our journey.
When within four miles of our destination, we were overtaken by darkness and had the difficult task of finding our way over the prairie as best we could, with little to guide us. When almost there, the buggy broke down and we had to finish the journey on foot. We were most thankful to reach the end of it, to grope our way into our own shack, make ourselves a cup of tea, and lie down to rest.
click to enlarge (92 kb)
This is the homestead about twenty years later.
The part you see is the new addition which was
built onto the front of the original shack.
to next section.