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Fredrick Augustus Allen
and Gertrude Welby Allen

Heritage of the High Country
A History of Del Bonita and Surrounding Districts,
Pages 254 - 255

Fredrick Augustus Allen was born March 19, 1866 at Gospel End, Staffordshire, England. In early life Fred was a commercial traveller. In 1912, he and his wife and children, Claire, Constance, and Osmond, homesteaded in Del Bonita, Alberta. He died on a trip back to England in 1952.

Gertrude Welby, daughter of Thomas and Hannah (March) Welby, was born February 29, 1866, in Manchester, England. She died in Cardston Hospital, Alberta, March 20, 1942.

In the spring of 1913, Fred Allen homesteaded SE V4-7-1-20-W4th in Del Bonita. He and Gertrude made many trips throughout the summer from Raymond to the homestead. In November of the same year Os and Connie accompanied them.

On that last trip all went well until they reached Lonely Valley. At that point the team played out. The weather was bitter cold, yet there was nothing they could do but stay there. The Horse Shoe Ranch, which was the next stop on those long trips was still miles away. However, Gertrude had plenty of blankets so they made a bed on the top of the wagon. In the morning they ate frozen chicken and frozen bread before continuing their Journey. The cowboys at the Horse Shoe Ranch were very kind and helped them over the Milk River.

Their shack was similar to a great many more spotted around on the prairie. It consisted of one room topped by a one-sided roof, but it was home. That first winter of 1913-14 was very hard. They had one ton of coal that Fred had hauled from the nearest town, which was thirty miles away. To supplement this, Os and Connie were kept busy gathering and hauling cow chips from the tops of the surrounding hills.

They had good times too. It was nothing to travel ten or twelve miles with team and sleigh to someone's shack. All the furniture would be placed outside and they would dance there all night. They would not return home till daylight since there were no fences to follow.

During the first couple of years they never knew where their mail was. Someone going to town would bring out all the mail and word would be passed along as to where to pick it up. Coal and food had to be purchased for a year at a time since hardly anyone made the trip more than once a year. Strange as it may seem, there was no serious sickness that first year or two.

Fredrick and Gertrude Allen were the parents of three children Claire, Constance, and Osmond.

Claire Gertrude Welby Allen was born August 7, in Glasgow, Lanark County, Scotland. She was a school teacher and never married. She taught at Del Bonita. She died April 14, 1970, in Lethbridge, Alberta, and was buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery in Lethbridge.

Constance Shaw Allen (Connie), was born December 25, 1897, in Glasgow, Lanark County, Scotland. She married Ruben Albert Deglow in Lethbridge, April, 1926. She died in Kalispell, Montana, U.S.A.. To Rube and Connie, were born three children.

Osmond Fredrick Allen, their only son, was born January 1, 1901, at New Castle on Tyne, Northumberland, England. He married Venice Wilma Collet, on July 8, 1933, at Raymond, Alberta. He died May 12, 1943, at Magrath hospital, and was buried May 14, 1943 in Magrath cemetery. Osmond and Venice were the parents of three children.

1, Karma, was four years old when I first remember meeting Grandma and Grandpa Allen. They would have been about sixty-seven years of age then and to me, they were always elderly people. I learned to love them very much, for their kindness and concern for me. I always felt loved and at peace in their home. We grandchildren - both Connie's and Osmond's children, had many good times in our grandparents' home. The upstairs was never finished, and was used for a storage area, and how we loved the times we were allowed to go up there and "explore". There were old books and magazines from England, and keepsakes, that we loved to hear the stories of, over and over again. It was fun to play hide and seek, and adults would join in. In the evenings we loved to open the doors of the coal heater and watch the flames and listen to stories or play games or listen to Daddy sing. It was always a fun time to slip into our nighties and pyjamas and either sit on the rug in front of the fire or curled up on an adult's lap and snuggle close until sleepy time overtook us, and we would make the rounds with good night kisses, prayers and to bed.

I remember Grandma Allen telling us she was only eighteen, because of her birthday being February 29, and she had only celebrated that many birthdays on that date. Birthdays were so important to us, we thought that was terrible. Daddy's birthday was New Year's, and Connie's was Christmas, and Grandpa just missed St. Patrick's.

Claire worked hard in caring for the home of her aging parents. She carried water in buckets from a spring about a quarter of a mile away, down the hill from the house. Later a well was dug beside the house and a windlass was used to draw water. Claire milked the cow. cared for her, and raised a beautiful garden of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Nothing tasted better to me than her homemade jams and jellies. It was fun to sit beside Grandpa and have Rogers syrup on my porridge, as that was the way he liked his. Claire did janitor work for the school, and I walked many a morning with her as she carried water, wood, and coal to prepare the school to be warm when children arrived. How those old stoves did smoke at times!

I stayed at Grandpa's sometimes when the weather was cold, as it was closer than our home. I loved breakfast time, especially in the summer. The table was beside an east window, and outdoors, a beautiful yellow rose bush bloomed - just laden most of the summer. The sun was so nice and bright and warm. We were one big, happy family, playing cylinder records, or trying to play the piano, or just enjoying one another.

Times we didn't like so well as children, were "news" times, and we had to be quiet so Grandpa could sit close to the old battery radio and listen. As I recall, reception wasn't too good at the best of times. Grandpa was interested in every news broadcast and to us it came around all too often.

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Mary Tollestrup