This story about the search for men lost in the bush around Nose Mountain involved mill workers, RCMP, Indian trackers, a Dakota search plane, parachutists, and the first helicopter to land at the Grande Prairie Airport. One man found his own way back to the road, and the other said that he hadn’t been lost at all.
The Teepee Creek news correspondent looked around the neighbourhood and began to wonder if there was something to be said for power farming. The writer appears to have been one who favoured farming with horses, but was beginning to have some doubts. The references to the Wheat Pool seem to hint at dissatisfaction with the organization. Since its founding in 1923, the Pool had had its ups and downs and not all the member farmers agreed with some of its policies and practices.
Researched & written by Kathryn Auger
Photograph description – Arnold Christianson with his discing outfit, a steel wheeled tractor and disc, 1928.
It sounds like Vernon Conners ran into the snowstorm and cold that we talked about in the Thursday File last week. He was taking supplies in to Peter Comeau who was trapping along the Porcupine River, and on his return Vernon recounted the harrowing tale of John Connolly, who had to climb a tree to escape a pack of wolves.
Researched & written by Kathryn Auger
Northern Tribune Nov.21, 1935
Photograph description – #175.035.07, Bruce Fjellner in front of his log cabin with furs from wolf and bear trapped about 1936 or 1937. Bruce was born June 9, 1901 in Sweden and married Selma Soderquist in 1934.
Having just had a card from Smithers, BC take two weeks to get here, I wasn’t feeling to happy with the Post Office, but the old Postie in me reacted with indignation to this article from 1917. Business had quadrupled but the number of staff remained the same. I was also surprised at the quantity of mail coming in this district at that time. 700 sacks of mail a month is a lot; that’s over 23 a day, plus 50 registered letters a day, for the 21 offices in the area that Grande Prairie distributed the mail to.
John Chipman “Chip” Kerr (Grande Prairie Herald, Historical Edition ~1934)
There are several articles about John “Chip” Kerr of Spirit River, who won the Victoria Cross in World War I. This is the first one I saw some time ago, and of course wound up doing more digging until I found his story. I especially like this item; he certainly had a sense of humor. He served again in World War II, becoming a service policeman at Sea Island in BC. He retired in Port Moody, where there is a Legion Auditorium and a park named for him, and his home was declared a Heritage Site. There is also a mountain in Alberta named after him. It is splendid that ten years after the war when he was invited to London for an Armistice Dinner with the Prince of Wales, there was so much support to enable him and his wife to make the trip.
Some material from an account by Al Sholund on the Port Moody website
The opening of the new Grande Prairie High School in 1950 was a milestone for education in the area. It was one of two composite high schools in the province at the time. It was an impressive building, both inside and out. Mr. Kujath, who was the first principal of the new school, was still there when I attended the school in the 1960s. At the same time, Wapiti Lodge, a dorm for County students, was opened.
This story reminds me of the scene in the movie A Christmas Story, when the Bumpus’s dogs have stolen the turkey but the aroma lingers in the air. What happened seems a bit unfair, but I don’t know what the regulations were in those days. It’s curious that it was the cook who was charged, but I think the mistake was having the dinner in a restaurant. It also seems like a bit of a set-up that the police just happened along as the bird was about to be served.
The only Thanksgiving fights at our house were over the drumsticks, but in 1933 Frank Donald sponsored a full card of boxing on Thanksgiving. Many local fighters were featured, as well as an orchestra to play during any gaps. The event was started later for farmers to get to the fights after threshing, and the movies in Mr. Donald’s theater were timed to start after the boxing was over. It’s not what would be considered a traditional Thanksgiving event, but no doubt it was popular.
Jimmy and Peggy Mair of Grande Prairie in the potato garden, 1954
I just dug my potatoes, and I imagine lots of people with gardens are getting theirs done too. It got me thinking about the many items I have noticed in the newspapers about the biggest potatoes, longest vines, most in a hill, weirdest shapes, and anything else that concerned this most important crop for the early settlers. While the sizes and weights varied from year to year, it does seem as though things grew bigger back then. I can hardly imagine potato plants almost 6 feet high, and unless they counted differently in those days too, 385 potatoes in one hill is amazing (unbelievable, but amazing!). To top it all off is a story about a fellow who went out to his potato patch and played his bagpipes to the spuds.
Town councillors, Secretary-Treasurer Keyes, and Mayor P.J.Tooley (1934)
Did the mayor exceed his authority? This question was hotly debated at a town council meeting in September of 1938. The subject was relief payments, which were paid by the town in those days. Some councillors waffled, some chose sides, and one excused himself from the meeting! In the end it was dealt with as these things so often are – they would wait and get a report, then deal with it later.