Leon (Louis) Arsene came to Medicine Hat in 1903-1904 from the German Army and still had his Kaiser's moustache. Working at various jobs throughout Alberta he finally came to Coalhurst around 1910. During his mining years he purchased lots in Calgary where the Hudson Bay is today.
On September 17, 1917 he got married, and the night will always be remembered. McDermott's store burned down. Mr. and Mrs. Arsene made their home in Wigan and later Coalhurst, in a new house they built behind the hotel in 1924. In 1926 he purchased land from J. I. McDermott, 40 acres and he 1926 he purchased land from J. 1. McDermott, 40 acres and he bought another 18 acres from Sobora (Tedesco). He kept farming and mining and in 1930 he bought another 90 acres from Bob McCulloch and the Bank of Montreal. In 1930 the family was milking about 30 cows and paid for the farm in one year, $1478.00 and was given a rebate of $300 because the bank never thought it would be paid.
Two sons were born, William and George. Bill delivered milk to the miners' houses in Coalhurst by bicycle and horse and wagon. Once while delivering milk, John Walker was on the back of the horse, and it slipped on the ice, milk all over the place, Bill with a broken leg and Walker a broken collar bone.
During the depression days, Louis gave all the miners who wanted a small piece of land to grow vegetables on. Beautiful gardens were raised and the water supply came from the L.N.I.D. canal. This way many a miner fed his family with enough vegetables for the winter.
On Sunday afternoons the Arsene home was open to all the children from Coalhurst and Mrs. Arsene often had to make two full batches of ice cream to feed them. They all left with full stomachs. Everyone helped to turn the machine to make the ice cream.
Father Violet lived between the Arsene home and the Bublick home. Many a home cooked meal was handed over the fence. He grew lovely sunflowers which the kids liked to steal.
After the closing of the mine, Louis went to Shaughnessy mine for a while and then spent all his time on the farm, Bill working with him. After 1935, Mr. Arsene purchased all the land west of the ditch, north of main street, and south of the C. P.R. and east of McDermott's house, where the present day trailer court is. There were 33 acres in all. This land was all fenced and the people kept cutting the fence so the land was given back to the mining co. and later purchased by McDermott. Louis then purchased 70 acres from Douglas Adams for #3000. Louis farmed until 1949 and then moved to Lethbridge where they lived until Louis passed away July, 1956. Mrs. Arsene still resides in Lethbridge in the Blue Sky Lodge at the nice young age of eighty six.
Return Individual Histories