Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Marlow Centennial—100 Years in Canada

Maud, Lena, Winnifred, Dollie and Joseph "Tom" Marlow
about 1910
Courtesy of Deb and Larry S.

It just occurred to me that it was one hundred years in October that my great grandfather, Joseph Marlow, and his son Joseph, always called “Tom”, arrived in Alberta, Canada, and one hundred years in November that Joseph’s wife Anna Belle and the other children followed them. (You will recall that their daughter Lena Sarah Smith stayed behind in Illinois with her husband George Arthur Smith initially). As it happens, Joseph’s daughter, Maud Elizabeth, aged nineteen at the time, wrote an article soon after her arrival for the local newspaper back home in Carlinville, Illinois, a letter to the editor describing the family’s adventures coming “north”. This has come into my possession this month from my cousins Deb and Larry S. in a very timely, and almost spooky way. Thank you, Deb and Larry. So exactly one hundred years later, I am presenting my great aunt Maud and her family’s story. I believe this is an example of "genealogical serendipity".

As I did not give the details earlier of the Marlow family’s arrival in Canada, as I referred the reader to the book available on line, Verdant Valleys In and Around Lougheed, I am taking the opportunity to do it here. I am combining the narrative in Verdant Valleys, written by my great uncle George’s wife, Sadie Gordon, with the one written by Sadie and my great aunt Zella Marlow Craig in Cambridge School District Memories.

Joseph and his son, Tom, aged eighteen, left Carlinville, Illinois in October 1912 by freight car, which they had loaded with “six horses, fifty chickens, machinery and furniture”. As only one person was allowed to ride in a freight car, Tom stowed away by hiding in the corn, which they brought to feed the horses, every time the train stopped. They safely crossed the border at Portal, North Dakota into North Portal, Saskatchewan, and arrived in Cluny, Alberta, near Calgary. They could have purchased a C.P.R. farm here, but did not find it satisfactory. Joseph then left Tom to look after their possessions while he went on to Lougheed, Alberta. While in Cluny, Tom paid his expenses, such as meals and the livery barn for the horses, by selling popping corn grown back home in Illinois. When Joseph had found a suitable place for them in Lougheed, he sent for Tom to join him in Wetaskiwin, where they ate a “delicious steak dinner” for twenty five cents, which turned out to be horse meat.

The ready-made farm that Joseph purchased from the C.P.R. was located eleven miles south of the village of Lougheed on the north shore of Goose Lake. (Among their closest neighbours were my great grandfather, Melvin J. Hart, and my grandfather, George Hart, and their family, who had homesteaded in the area in 1905). The quarter section farm had a house, a barn, and a good soft water well, as well as fifty pre-planted acres of wheat, oats and barley. Anna Belle, my great grandmother, and the children, Winnifred, Maud, William, Dolly,George, Fred, and Zella, left Carlinville on November 5, 1912 and arrived a few days later. (Oddly, Winnifred is not listed among them in the November 7th  border crossing record). By December 1st, Joseph and the boys had threshed 1500 bushels of grain. The price of wheat at the time was about fifty cents a bushel, and after Joseph had made his payment for the land, they only had $250.00 dollars left to get them through the winter. An early frost ruined the potato crop planted by the C.P.R., so they had to make due with one bag provided by a neighbour. Through the winter the Marlow family diet consisted of rabbit, beans, homemade bread and hot biscuits. The Marlow boys started out by shooting the rabbits with a .22 shell shotgun, with a “one shell one rabbit” policy, but sometimes missed, and started snaring them with snare wire. When Joseph found out about this, no more shells were used.

On December 1, 1912, the following is published in the Carlinville, Illinois Democrat:

Miss Maud Marlow Describes Incidents of Journey from Plainview to Lougheed, Canada


Editor, DEMOCRAT: This is in compliance with my promise to you as well as to my many friends in Carlinville and vicinity to write about our journey to the north. Our family left our home near Plainview on Tuesday, November 5th, and started on our long trip. We travelled over the C. and A. to Chicago, thence to St. Paul, and from there to North Portal. At the latter place, we changed to mountain time, which is one hour later. The greater part of our journey was in the night, so in that way we missed seeing much of the country through which we travelled.

At North Portal we boarded a Canadian Pacific train for Calgary and travelled through Southern Saskatchewan and we noticed nearly all of the farmers were threshing wheat. On our trip from North Portal we passed through the cities of Moose Jaw and Medicine Hat, the latter being in the gas belt. We arrived in Calgary at about 6:15 in the morning. It is a one large city on the Bow River. Leaving Calgary at  8 o’clock we went by train to our destination and reached there some hours later. On this last run of our trip we were in sight of the Rocky Mountains for about one hundred miles. My father met us at our destination and started in vehicles for our home. A light snow was falling when we left but it had stopped after we had gone a few miles. Our new home is ten miles from town and it seemed a long distance before we finally arrived at our destination. We have had nice weather up till this time and it has been as cold as ten below zero. There is no snow, however. Father has just finished threshing and he has 1,500 bushels of grain, wheat, oats and barley, all off of 50 acres. There is still much threshing to be done in this vicinity.

Cornering on my father’s farm is a good sized body of water called Goose Lake. When we first came here there was quite a good deal of duck shooting. Now people come from miles around to skate, and it surely makes a fine place for the sport for the lake is one mile across and six miles long. We have a school house just one mile and a half from our home. My father bought what is called a ready made farm which he purchased from the C. P. railroad. It is in the Sedgwick colony, and has a new house and a barn and good well. The water is as soft as rainwater, yet it does not taste like cistern water. We are well pleased with the country up here.

Yours very truly,
Maud E. Marlow

(The “C. and A.” she describes is the Chicago and Alton Railroad). Maud was to marry Joseph Henry Galloway only two months later on February 10, 1913, with whom she had ten children.  It seems she must have met him in Alberta since he does not appear to have been from Illinois. It is possible that an incentive for leaving home was the small size of the C.P.R. ready-made farmhouses, as the standard house had only a kitchen, a living room, and two bedrooms. Maud Galloway, born February 16, 1893 in Scott, Illinois, died on March 22, 1977 in White Rock, British Columbia. Her husband, born the same year on December 17th in Sherman, Ferry, Washington (now a ghost town), had predeceased her on July 5, 1970.


Grant Davis said...

You said so much is available online. It's amazing really. I recently posted on something I found. It was "An Early Christmas Gift: for me. Yes is it is a new world. Welcome to GeneaBloggers.

Jacqi Stevens said...

Sherry, what a great opportunity you have with this newspaper article about your family! There is so much detail in both the article and your own narrative--except, maybe, ugh! the horse meat.

I found your blog today, thanks to GeneaBloggers. Best wishes to you as you continue your blogging journey.

Jim (Hidden Genealogy Nuggets Blog) said...

Welcome to Geneabloggers.

Regards, Jim
Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

Sherry said...

Thank you, Grant, Jacqui and Jim for your kind words of welcome.

Best of the season, Sherry.

barbara morse said...

Wow you have a gift for writing. God Bless You For doing this. We sure have a very interesting family history.