Ernest Bates was born July 21, 1878, in Yorkshire, England. As Canada was a promising land, Ernest decided to immigrate, leaving Bradford, Yorkshire, and taking two weeks to cross the atlantic. He came to the prairies on May 3, 1903, just in time to experience the big May snow storm of 1903. At first he worked on the C.P.R. at Coutts, then moving to Lethbridge until homestead land opened up in surrounding district, in 1905.
Ernest then built a house west of Coalhurst on 19-9-22, and started to break the prairie sod for farming. He hauled water in a tank to the drilling crew, during the sinking of the mine shaft at Coalhurst. The drill had to be kept coot as it drilled through the rock. On November 1, 1911 Ernest married Lillian Start, whose father Stephen Start had a homestead in the Coalhurst area to the west. Lillian had come from Bideford, Devon, England in May 1910, with her mother and sister Beatrice, to join her father already here.
Ernest and Lillian had two children: a son and a daughter. They both attended Coalhurst Schools. The worst years were before irrigation came in. The dry summers and grasshoppers made farming almost unbearable. But patience always paid off. The Bates family were always visited by some well-known Indians, Jim Snake and his son, Mike Mountain Horse, who was an R.C.M.P. scout, and served in World War 1. Ernest always kept a lot of cattle and horses- his brand was XG. During the first war Ernest served several terms on the Coathurst School Board.
Ernest remained on the farm he had homesteaded, until his death in 1965, at the age of 87 years.
Lillian passed away in l975 at the age of 89 years.
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