Seven Persons - Once Hundred Sixty Acres and a Dream
The Amos family (James and Nellie) lived northeast of the school, on section 26-11-7-4, in a big unfinished, two-storied house. They interested me when they told me their house had a buttery. Of course they referred to their pantry, but it was an unfamiliar term to me. The house was rather bare and had many rooms. The farmyard had a large barn and a long granary. Originally, the Amos folk had come from New York State and then more lately from "the Dakotas". Times seemed very hard for this family as they were grain farmers and didn't have livestock to supplement their income when wheat did not grow. They tried their luck by moving to Innisfail, but found conditions no better there, so returned to Seven Persons in 1921. Mr. Amos wore a long beard and long hair, when the current style for men was to be short-haired and clean shaven, so children held him in awe. Mrs. Amos was a gentle soul, one who moved about slowly and spoke quietly, one who wore long full skirts. This couple had six children: Martha, Minnie, Mary, James, Helen and Ailsa. Martha died in 1910, when she was a young child, shortly after her family arrived in Canada. She was buried in a small marked grave on the Amos farm. The Amos children were, as I remember them, very quiet, gentle, clever children. Mary won a special scroll and the Governor General's medal for her grade eight achievements in 1921. At that time all grade eight students wrote departmental examinations in all subjects taken. Daily newspapers published the lists of successful candidates, and the weekly papers copied the names that concerned the people of their area. Thousands of children, parents and teachers scanned the newspaper lists for the all-important names. Later on, the successful students received a diploma from the Department of Education. In addition to the Governor General's medal, there were thirty-six bronze medals given for competition in this grade, and they were awarded to the candidates taking the highest aggregate in each inspectorate. Miss McNichol was the teacher during that term. Other grade eight students were: Mary's sister, Minnie; Peter and Gunster Bruins; Bill, Claud, George and Mary Edwards; and Violet Jackson. Minnie and Helen became teachers. Minnie became Mrs. W. Warner; Mary, Mrs. H. Naismith, and Ailsa, Mrs. Mosher. Jim served in the Armed Forces in World War II in Italy and Holland, and worked for the Department of Highways at Grande Prairie for many years. He died in 1977. During James Amos' lifetime, Mr. Amos donated a site of land on the northwest corner of his farm for a Presbyterian church. An inscribed cornerstone was put into the building to commemorate Martha. He donated money, too, for the building and operation of this church. I remember one of the teachers holding the school Christmas concert at the church. It wasn't a good idea, for although the building had a stage and ample room for a large audience, it was a mile and a half from the school, a long distance on foot or with horse-drawn rigs, and the church had a poor heating system. The night of the concert was greeted by very cold weather; it must have been 25 below zero. The furnace sent up little heat and much smoke. We performers had to wear our coats and overshoes up on the stage even if we wanted to show off our Christmas dresses and suits. The journey home was very uncomfortable in bobsleighs. Some children suffered from frost bites. I remember going to a more pleasant musical performance there one summer evening. A piano store from Medicine Hat brought out a beautiful big piano for this occasion. The church has since been sold and torn down. There is little left to mark its site.
Pioneers starting with "A"