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John Flett Bews and
Alice Sweeney Bews

Tales and Trails - A History of Longview
and Surrounding Area
Page 32 - 33
by Philip Bews

John Flett Bews was born in Orkney Island in June 1883 and came to Canada to join his brothers Malcom, James and William at Longview in March 1906. He worked for James Rooney until fall when he decided to go to B. C. to work in the Hard-rock mines at Moyie. His first job was hauling powder with a six-horse tearn and as it was a Sunday morning, he wondered what his mother would think if she knew. He later went to work in the mines and made many life long friends especially James Finall and Paddy Bonnar, the head driller.

After two and one half years they all moved to Helena, Mont. as the pay was higher, but living conditions were so poor and the camp was stricken with Typhoid fever; hospital accommodation was poor and all work was stopped. Jack was very sick, but the Finall family came and took him to their home and nursed him back to health. The doctor advised against him returning to the mine work, so he decided to quit mining and work in the open air; he went to Washington to work in the harvest and as he was an excellent horseman, got a job driving a 40-mule team on a combine. Then back to brothers Jim and Bill on Bill's farm.

The year 1910 was very dry so Jack decided to take work with the Highway crews, mostly bridge work, and with his experience it was an easy step to road construction when the old wagon road south from Calgary to Macleod was up-graded as far as Okotoks. After some years he bought 1/2 section south of the Highwood River in the Pekisko area, but as water was a problem he sold and bought a farm in the Highwood district, NW '/4-36-18-Rl-W5, later adding two more adjoining quarters, which he farmed until his death.

On April 25, 1914 Jack married Alice Sweeney, who was born in Tipperary, Ireland, and who had come to help her aunt Mrs. Jarnes Bews in 1907. The following article was taken from the High River Times describing the shower held in her honor, the first to have been held in the district:

"A very pleasant event took place on Wed. April 22nd at the home of Mrs. C. Hoggan when the ladies of Longview united in giving a shower for Miss Alice Sweeney, whose marriage took place on Saturday April 25th to Mr. Jack Bews. The ladies spent a very pleasant hour together and then Miss Sweeney was called upon to, unpack the "shower" which was packed in a tub. She was provided with a clothes pin apron, pins and a line and a very merry time ensued as she unpacked the various parcels and pinned them on the line. The following is a partial list: Mrs. James Bews, a clock; Messrs C. and J. Hoggan and Mrs. C. Hoggan, dinner knives and forks; Mrs. James Hoggan, gold ry spoon; Miss Miller, silver spoons; Miss Sue hmond, silver butter knife, Miss Dorothy Richmond, ver sugar shell; Mrs. McBee, pair of towels and glass cher; Mrs. Watt, five o'clock tea cloth; Mrs. Camps, centre piece; Mrs. Bischoff, a cushion top; Mrs. Shaw Mrs. Weidenharnmer pair lace curtains and cushion and towels.. Mrs. Allan, salad bowl and servers. Miss Sweeney made an appropriate speech and Mrs. G. Hoggan served lunch."

The following years were busy ones for Alice and Jack; he took haying contracts for the OH Ranch. This was all horse work, but Jack raised good horses, so he had plenty of power; good horses brought good prices in those days, but when prices dropped, raising horses became a hobby with Jack.

In 1920 before Calgary Power came Jack hauled coal to High River from the Longview mines, 22 miles, which was cold, hard work in the winter, but when the power took over he went back to road construction.

He was a member of the Highwood School Board, and he with Harry Cascadden, and Robert Primrose organized the Mutual Telephone Company in our area when the Government turned it over to the farmers.

Jack and Alice had two sons. Jack passed away in 1930. Mrs. Bews was in poor health which confined Jack to his farming.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup