Page 14 - December 21 2015
P. 14

Long-time resident shares
memories of homesteading

to our
to our


Robert and Dawn King celebrate their 60 anniversary and share
memories as homesteaders.
submitted: Robert King Section
Robert King recalls his days as a homesteader in the Edson area.
“Other than some odd jobs, I was about 16 when I went to work. My
first job was working at a saw mill.
The mill was just west of Water Valley, Alberta. I cut down trees,
hauled them to the saw mill and helped in the sawing process. I also
worked on the planner.
During the summers I worked on a number of different farms putting
Peace and Joy
in crops, haying, combining, fixing fences and just about anything else
that needed doing. In the winter I would go back to the saw mills. Peace and Joy
From there I went to Calgary looking for work and ended up working
for Irving Wire Products. I worked on the mesh machine and the wire
of the Christmas
drawing machine. The next spring our second daughter Phylis was born.
After 10 years I left there to go homesteading.
We moved to a place north of Edson that a friend owned and I cleared of the Christmas
some of the land in exchange for rent.
We later moved into the apartment above Collins grocery store. We
used to go every Friday to the Provincial Building in Edson to put our
name in for the homestead draws. You had to be present for the draw. Season
We tried and tried with no luck then on the very last draw that came up
I was away working so Dawn my wife went down and put in her name.
Wouldn't you know it she had her name drawn; 17 guys and one women
and she won!
From management
We could not touch the land until the following spring. The conditions From management
of the sale were that 30 acres of land had to be cleared every year and
the taxes paid for a period of seven years. The land was located roughly
and staff of
two mile west of the Fulham School. Dawn was allowed a half section
as the other quarter was not considered viable farming land. I was and staff of
allowed the north east quarter of the land.
The Weekly Anchor
During this time we moved into a small house just west of the old
drive-in theatre. This is where we lived while we made the farm The Weekly Anchor
habitable. We acquired a bunkhouse and had al McKinnon move it out
Dana, Cindy, Sue-Ann,
to the farm so we had a place to live when we were out there.
We used to haul barrels of water with us when we went out to the farm Dana, Cindy, Sue-Ann,
in case we had to fight fire there. We hired loggers to come in and we
had to pay stumpage fees for any of the trees sold.
Sonia R, Ana,
ARDA (Agricultural and Rural Development Act) came in and for us Sonia R, Ana,
to get any more land we had to meet their conditions. A house and barn
had to be built, and they wanted us to have dairy cattle on the land.
Adrienne, Deanna,
I put up a fight with them. I would not agree to their conditions until Adrienne, Deanna,
there was a proper water supply. A four inch flow, 24 hours a day. We
acquired the southeast quarter for our water supply. It had a good strong
Sonia D, Mikaela, Isabella, and Tom
flowing spring all year round. The northwest quarter came up quite some Sonia D, Mikaela, Isabella, and Tom
time later as a rental purchase.
Once we had moved to the farm I purchased a cat from my brothers
and did some land clearing for some of the neighbours as well as our
I went to work for the Yellowhead School Division as a janitor in the
Parkland High School. My wife Dawn had been helping out the
Richardson's at the Fulham School as Jessie and Bob were unable to do Merry Christmas Everyone!
the heavy work required as a janitor and later when they retired she took
it over and remained there for 20 years.
During this time I went to work on the rigs. It was a rough hard life.
The only time I was ever hurt on the rigs a pipe pulled apart moving the
rig, matting, and all seven inches. I had just tied on my safety harness
and was thrown back and forth. The blocks were going up and down
like yoyos. We put things back together and then I got off the tower. I With all good wishes
had five broken vertebrae.
Working the rigs was a good job as you were busy during the winter to you and your family
months and I was able to farm in the spring and summer. I spent three
years trying to work in the summer but it was not so great when you for health and happiness.
were trying to farm.
Our oldest daughter Shirley married Tim Bernacki from Edson and our
youngest daughter married Murray Barrass from the Shining Bank area. PRAIRIE Bus: 723-5672
Fax: 723-5305
We ended up with five quarters of land. We sold the farm in 1996 and Oilfield Mobile: 723-0672
moved to Edson. Contracting Box 7916,
Dawn and I will be celebrating our 60 wedding anniversary later this (Edson) Ltd. Edson, Alberta
year.” T7E 1V9
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