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A Day Trip To See Family Roots

JULY 13, 2009

The last few days have been busy for me. On Friday, I went to Moose Jaw with my sister Thelma Poirier. Thelma organized and was the editor of my recent book, Grasses and Grain. She has written and helped to get many books published over the past years.

On Friday, we picked up 11,000 copies from the Grand Valley Press in Moose Jaw. Then, we rushed back to the Wood Mountain Regional Park where the Little Britches Rodeo was being held. Ryan and Carla’s four kids were there competing in barrel racing and other events. The four kids all placed in various events and made us all proud with their horsemanship. Carla and Ryan’s children are all good riders and help on the round ups at the Big Muddy Ranch.

The next day, Saturday, with Thelma and other people’s help, I launched my book to the public. Members of the Rodeo Ranch Museum supplied some coffee and cookies while I said a few words about the book and Thelma read a few short stories. We had lunch and sold a number of books.

Shortly after the book launching, a large crowd gathered at the grandstand where 15 saddle horses were sold. The horses seemed to be well broken and several sold in the $4,500 price range. A well-attended rodeo took place at six o’clock and after the rodeo I was quite satisfied to get back to Glentworth and call it a day. Sunday was another day of visiting and watching the rodeo events. Thelma continued to sell my book and I signed several books at the grandstand while the rodeo was on.

JULY 20, 2009

Yesterday, I returned from a family reunion held at the Cypress Hills Park south of Maple Creek. This reunion was held for members of the Howe and Landers families who were pioneers in Wood Mountain area. There were many families that showed up for the reunion and by the Saturday evening there were over 100 people attending. The people came from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and one family from the United States was there.

Cypress Hills was an excellent site for the reunion. Good camping facilities, water and food were available. I stayed overnight with Ronald Froshaug at his very nice cabin in the Park. After Ronald finished high school, he worked on the ranch for us for over a year. He then worked at a lumberyard, finally having his own business at Shaunavon. He has since retired and has a permanent home in the Park.

I went over to the reunion with Lloyd and Nyla. I thought the crops and grass were quite good. The hay crop looked a little light, much like ours. Lloyd is still busy with the haying. We have been having rains. The hay crop is below average but our grass and field crops are doing very well.

JULY 28, 2009

My niece, Starla, is visiting with us here around Glentworth and Fir Mountain. Starla is my older brother’s second girl— Dr. Laurence Ernest Anderson. Starla has spent her lifetime teaching. She has now retired and lives in Victoria on Vancouver Island. Starla spent much time in our area visiting with aunts, uncles and cousins. She looks upon this area as her roots.

While here, Starla wanted to go to Glasgow, Montana and look up the gravesite of her Aunt Ruth. So, yesterday, with Thelma driving, the three of us took off for Glasgow. We drove down to the custom officers on the No. 2 Highway, crossed over the border and drove on to Opheim. Like many of our Saskatchewan towns Opheim does not have too much any more.

Starla was interested in the little town because a member of her mother’s family had gone to school there. My brother, Cliff, also had taken three years of high school at Opheim. At the south end of town, Thelma turned and went on a country road. We had decided to go the Glasgow by way of a country road. We followed this road, which went for 30 miles and the further west we drove, the browner and more desolate the prairies became. At the end of about 30 miles, we came to what had been a town. This little old town was called Theony and had been sitting on the banks of Rock Creek. Rock Creek starts from the side of a hill very near where my dad, Leonard Anderson, homesteaded. As further historical interest to us were the remains of an old ranch (Hunter’s Ranch) nearby. There were only a few broken-down corral posts remaining here.

The reason all of this was interesting to us was because Thelma’s and my mother, Aquina Price, taught school here when she was just 16. She had passed an exam at Hinsdale and qualified as a teacher for the state of Montana. She had come from South Dakota with her parents, Abe and Lula Price. They homesteaded on Rock Creek on the south side of the Wood Mountain.

After leaving the old townsite of Theony, we drove south for about 50 miles and watched where Rock Creek flowed into the Milk River. Then, we went on to Glasgow where we located the gravesite of Starla’s Aunt Ruth. We continued on our trip north to Canada and home to Glentworth.

When my dad, Leonard Anderson, first homesteaded on Rock Creek, there was a wagon trail called the Wood Mountain-Theony-Hinsdale Trail. Many Canadian homesteaders went and followed this trail down to Hinsdale where they could buy farm supplies or could even sell grain. This trail is still visible in our pasture and is just one quarter of a mile from Lloyd and Nyla’s house.

This trip that we made yesterday was very satisfying. I have always wanted to see where my mother had taught school before she was married. Many times over the years, I rode horseback over the border to bring back stray cattle and horses, but this was the first time I had got down as far as Theony.

It is interesting to note that hay was being grown by irrigation on the Milk River before Saskatchewan and Alberta were provinces. The Milk River starts in western Montana, flows north into Alberta and in an easterly direction until it flows south again into Montana. The Frenchman River with Rock Creek joins with the Milk River near Hinsdale and then they flow together and join up with the mighty Missouri River east of Glasgow.

If anyone reading Cattleman’s Corner would like one of my new books, just send me $15 by letter and you will receive one. My address is Boyd Anderson, Box 7, Glentworth, Saskatchewan, S0H 1V0.

Boyd Anderson is a mostly retired rancher from Glentworth, Sask. and has been a columnist for Grainews for many years.

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