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The Community Of Beazer

by Elva Beazer
"Chief Mountain Country" pages 56-59

The first known white man to live here was William Lee, a fur trapper who came here about 1867 from Fort Benton, Montana. He built trapper's cabins on land owned today by Charles W. Ivins. lt was for him that Lee Creek was named.

Next came W. S. Shirley from Oregon where he was known as the "Cattle King of Oregon". He started a cattle ranch on section 11, and branded his cattle with a big "44". For years the ranch was called the "44 Ranch" by the early pioneers. When he left he sold out to the Cochrane Ranch Co. who operated the ranch for several years. When they left, the house was sold to George E. Peterson who moved it to his homestead where it is still standing (1977), and has the distinction of being the first house built in Beazer.

Mark E. Beazer from Kaysville, Utah, was the first permanent homesteader, arriving in Cardston with his wife and four children by "prairie schooner", June 7, 1890 after seven weeks of travel.

Thc next two settlers were Jasper Head and Samuel Buck. These three families had the country to themselves until 1899 and 1900 when over sixty land-hungry homesteaders swarmed in and took up all the remaining homesteads.

Mr. Beazer requested the Territorial Land Department to survey a townsite on his property, which they did. He offered lots for sale, but donated one for a church and another for a school.

On July 8, 1900 an L.D.S. Branch was organized with Mark E. Beazer as the Branch President and Elizer Chapman as the Superintendent of the Sunday School. Six months later, due to increased membership, a Ward was organized on December 9, 1900. Mark E. Beazer was chosen Bishop, with James M. Broadhead and James B. Wright as Counselors. James Prince was the Ward Clerk, and May Wright Wynder the Ward Organist. In effecting the organization, Stake President Charles Ora Card announced that the ward would be named "Beazer" after the first permanent settler. A relief Society was organized August 25, 1901 with Sarah Jane Wright as President, Ellen Beazer and Amelia Chapman as Counselors, and Fanny Peterson, Secretary.

In 1902 a church house was erected by a building committee headed by carpenter James B. Wright. It was built of logs brought from the mountains, and served the the religious and social needs of the community for upwards of sixty-five years. Previous to 1902, meetings, dances and socials were held in the homes of members of the community.

Dance music was furnished by James M. Broadhead on the organ; later by Victor Wynder on the violin, and John Wright chording; and still later with the Broadhead brothers - Parley Broadhead on the violin, Grant - Broadhead brothers furnished music for dances for years at all surrounding communities.

When the church house was extended to provide a stage, Samuel Cox organized the Beazer Dramatic Co. that produced one and three-act plays each year, and exchanged these with other wards that did likewise.

The school district was established in 1903, and school was held in the church house for four years until a school house was built. W. A. Day from Owen Sound, Ontario, was the first teacher. He was still living at Fort Macleod in 1976. After Mr. W. A. Day, the following teachers taught in Beazer until 1928:-George Chipman, J. C. Campbell, J. H. Weatherilt, Charlie Ring, D. R. Redmond, Robert McNish, William A. Davis, Mr. McDonald, A. E. Langley, Mary Smith, Sarah Spence Hilda Peterson, Miss Hartley, Orson Daines.

Baseball and basketball teams were organized in the early days, and games played against teams from the surrounding districts. Players included such prominent names as the Wrights, Olsens, Ockeys, Broadheads, Wynders, Princes, and Beazers, to name a few. Del Beazer was perhaps the outstanding baseball pitcher produced in southern Alberta.

Celebration days included May Day, Dominion Day Pioneer Day, Christmas and New Years. Dances were held nearly every Friday night; and in winter time, sleigh riding parties were popular any time.

The Beazer Post Office was established in 1903 with Mark E. Beazer the first Post Master. W. O. Lee of Cardston brought the mail to Beazer by team and buggy if roads permitted; otherwise he came with pack horses. Succeeding Post Masters were George Duce, Richard Bradshaw, and Roy Beazer who held this position for 38 years.

For fuel, the first settlers all burned wood, which was plentiful after the green trees were killed by a forest fire in the mountains. But a good quality of coal was found on the Frank May ranch about 1918. The succeeding owners of the ranch continued to operate the mine for several years. The softer veins were used by the power houses in Cardston; but the harder grades of coal were used by the ranchers of Beazer, Leavitt and Mountain View.

Saw mills were eventually set up to provide lumber for the roofs and floors of houses and other buildings. The first of these was called the "Card Mill". Others were operated by Joseph Wray, and Johnny Archibald.

Besides raising livestock, ranchers also grew oats, barley, and fall wheat. The "Lagoda W" variety of soft fall wheat, if planted in July or August, would ripen before the first frosts the following fall.

The first plowing was done with a hand plow. Later the four-horse sulky with a single bottom and a seat for the driver took over. Home-made harrows served at first, then the disk harrow came into use. At first the seed was broadcast by hand and harrowed to cover it up. But in time the horse-drawn grain drill was used.

The first threshing machines were the horse-powered rigs. Usually two or more farmers would share the cost of these, and then do custom work after their own grain was threshed. Mark Beazer, George Peterson, and Ernest Wynder owned such an outfit; as did also Ellsworth Shipley and Mid Rose. Charles B. Ockey and Sons owned the last one of these, before the steam engine and the gasoline engine replaced the horse-powered threshers.

Prairie grass for winter feed was cut with a mower, raked into bunches, hauled to stacks, and fenced for protection. It was mostly handled with pitch forks.

Vegetables were stored in a "root cellar" at some distance from the house, since basements were literally unknown in the early days. But the ingenuity of the pioneers overcame most all obstacles, and people lived happily together in spite of their lack of modern conveniences.


A Beazer School District No. 694 was formed by the Dept. of Education in 1903. A local school board of trustees was elected.

School began in the first log church house in Beazer just previously built and was held there for the following four years. The first teacher was W. A. Day of Owen Sound, Ontario.

In the year 1907 the first new public school house was established on lot No. 3 donated to the school district by Mark E. Beazer. The erection of this building was supervised by Mark E. Beazer and Samuel Cox who spent most of their own time working on it.

In the year 19--, Chairman Jesse Broadhead and the other trustees, May Wynder and Elva Beazer were instrumental in promoting a High School. This is the way they went about it. The first year they hired the public school teacher, Athol Cooper to teach an extra grade 9 and this kept the pupils in the district. The next year they hired Verda Beazer to teach the first few grades and Athol Cooper to teach some public grades and also grades 9 and 10. Mrs. Verda Beazer's grades were taught in the teacherage and in a spare room of Mrs. J. M. Broadhead. There were now enough pupils in the district to warrant a new high school room grade 12. The following year a new large High School room was added to the public school building and that year grades 9, 10 and 11 were taught, and for some years to follow.

After several years of struggling to build up a High School in Beazer, the vanning of high school pupils to Mt. View began. This was the beginning of the breaking up of our community. Finally the sad thing happened. Our public school children were vanned to Cardston and our beloved school was closed.

Beazer began to die a little from the time the high school left. The Post Office went next and then on Sept. 1, 1969 the ward was closed forever.

At present the first trustees are not known but the following trustees were James M. Broadhead, Mark E. Beazer, Charles Ockey, George Peterson, Leon Wright! Fred Wright, Jesse Broadhead, May Wynder, Harr Jenkins, Elva Beazer, Gane Olsen and others.

Van drivers were Leland Prince, Cliff Johnson, Rayo Wright, Earl Woodward, Clarice Broadhead, Glen Broadhead, Robert Woodward.

The Public School Teachers through the years sponsored some wonderful Christmas programs consisting of school choruses, recitations, songs, dialogues, stories drills, marches and plays, etc.

Years later the high school also carried out some excellent entertainments consisting of solos, part singing instrumentals, plays, skits, concerts, contests, comic stunts and Christmas parties.

Here are some of the games your children played at school: Fox and Geese, Run Sheep Run, Steal Sticks Baseball, Softball, Tag, Mumble Peg, Dare Base, Kick the Can, Hide and Seek, Danish Ball, Rounders, Anti-I Over, Leap Frog, Red Light, Marbles.

Mrs. Mark E. Beazer boarded teachers for 20 years. Mrs. May Wynder also boarded many teachers.

Secretaries and Treasurers of the Beazer School District were: Gane Olsen, Elva Beazer, Leon Wright and others.

Now for a list of the school teachers but they cannot be given in the order of the years they taught:

First school teacher in 1903. William A. Day - Owen Sound. He was a football player.
George F. Chipman -was a boxer and baseball player-other interests, music.
J. C. Campbell-
J. H. Weatherilt-was musical, taught songs, also a baseball player.
Charlie King-good singer.
Mr. D. R. Redmond-from Calgary, Alta.-a foot racer.
Robert McNish-from New Brunswick-good skater.
William A. Davis-baseball player.
Mr. McDonald Mr. A. E. Langley Mr. Calvin Chadsey-very good pianist.
Miss Mary Smith-from Mt. View.
Miss Sarah Spence-from Leavitt.
Miss Hilda Peterson-Cardston.
Miss Hartley
Orson Daines-from Cardston-a very good bass singer.
Miss Kate Maughn-pianist.
Neil Richards - from Cardston, dance teacher
taught dances for the operetta.
J. M. McMillan-good harmonica player.
Miss Viola Bevans-from Hillspring.
Samuel Earl-from Mt. View.
Mrs. Mostyn
Miss Laura Duce-from Cardston.
Miss Amy Beazer - Basketball player - from Beazer.
Mrs. Madeline King-gave each pupil a book a
Mormon when she left.
Nephi Head-from Leavitt.
Miss Beth Briggs-from Magrath.
James Alred-from Hillspring.
Miss Hilda Van Winkle-from Cardston.
Miss Vera Anderson - from Cardston - piano player.
Miss Lorna Jacobs-Caldwell.
Athol Cooper-from Raymond.
Miss lla Zemp-from Cardston.
Miss Peggy Carruthers-from Grassy Lake.
Mrs. Elva Broadhead-Beazer.
Mrs. Verda Beazer-Beazen
Miss Norma Litchfield-Raymond.
Mrs. Annie Dawson-Seddon.
Rex Forsyth-Cardston.
Lester Inman --Spring Coulee.
Miss Irene Redd-from Raymond, piano player.
Miss Gwen Broadhead - from Beazer - piano player.
Ray Pilling-from Leavitt.
M. D. Dowdle-Cardston.

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Mary Tollestrup