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Harry Bowen and
Lily Latham Bowen

Heritage of the High Country
A History of Del Bonita and
Surrounding Districts, Pages 278 - 279

I was born in England in 1883. 1 apprenticed for seven years learning the barber trade, and then I came to Canada in 1904 and barbered in Montreal, Toronto, and Niagara Falls. The fall of 1907 I went back to England for the winter, coming back to Canada in the spring.

During the next few years I barbered at various places in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Cochrane. While at Cochrane I took five cars of cattle to Vancouver, receiving a free pass back, but I sold it and stayed there for the summer.

I came back to Alberta, bought a barber shop and poolroom at Airdrie and later at Cayley. While I was there the McIntyre Lease was opened up.

I filed on my homestead May 1, 1912, then took another trip back to England. There I met my future wife. Alas, my roaming days were over.

I came back to Canada in October, and Bert Campbell and I went to the homestead together. He had a tent, in which we lived that winter. In the spring when we began to size things up, he found that his tent was on my land by about two hundred yards. It didn't take him long to move it.

It was quite common in those days for people to get lost. I was digging a basement for my house, and I happened to be sleeping that night at Dad Woods' because we were going to town the next day. Well, I had come over on a wagon running gear to dig at my basement, and at night when I quit, I could just see Dad Woods' when I started out, but before I got half way there I couldn't see it any more. Well I kept going for quite a while. I thought it was funny I wasn't there. Then I hit a fence. Well I turned my horses around, and got my bearings and started off again. I hadn't gone very far this time when I hit the south fence again. Well I didn't know what to do. I stayed there for a while and looked around. At last I could see a light, so off I went and headed for the light. Woods had put a light out for me.

In the fall my future wife came out to Lethbridge. We were married in Knox Church in Lethbridge the end of October, 1913. George Weatherley and Jack Woods were there. I think we were the first to be married on the Lease.

It used to be quite a puzzle to Old Man McIntyre. Whenever he would see us go by he used to say "I can't understand those homesteaders. They always go in to town empty, and come back loaded."

We had some pretty hard times in those days. However we managed to make out all right.

Our son was born in Lethbridge, May 1915, and our daughter was born in Magrath, 8th September, 1922. We all went to England in 1927. It was the first time my wife had been back since we were married.

We farmed at Del Bonita until we retired in June, 1951, and went to Magrath.

(Continued by Latham and Linnea Bowen)

When Harry and Lily Bowen were first married, their house was close to the U.S. border. There were several large ranches across the line. Three of the bigger ones were Lytle's, Van Sanden's, and Wren's. Many times when help was needed on these ranches, Harry would go over to help, and Lily often helped with the cooking. As the ranchers always did their own butchering, they were often given meat to take home. Fresh meat was hard to come by in those days.

Harry was a barber by trade. Whenever a dance was held at the Lens or Del Bonita schools, the Lyties, DuBray, and Wren boys and others from the ranches across the line would stop for a hair cut on the way to the dance. If it was after pay day, they would give him fifty cents or a dollar, and if they were short of cash they got a trim anyway, even if it was by the light of an old fashioned kerosene lamp.

Lily often told about gathering sheep's wool off the barbed wire fence. She would card this, along with the wool fleeces which the U.S. ranchers gave her, and make it up into quilts.

In 1951 Harry and Lily moved to Magrath. Lily had not been very well, and seven months later on January 8th, 1952, she passed away.

Harry moved into the Senior Citizen's Lodge in Raymond in 1964. During his stay there, he did a bit of barbering, usually for the folks who were unable to get out.

In April of 1966 Harry passed away at the Lodge, at the age of 83 years. Harry and Lily had two children. Their son now resides on the original farm homestead.

Harry and Lily Bowen had seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

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Mary Tollestrup