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Richard De'ath

Heritage of the High Country
A History of Del Bonita and Surrounding Districts
Pages 312 - 313 - by Albert Robinson

Richard De'ath was born in England, and came to Canada in 1909. He worked in the International Nickel Smelter, at Coppercliff, Ontario.

In 1919 Richard, better known as Uncle Dick, came to Alberta. His nephew Dick, wife, and three children came with him. They settled in the Hacke district where he bought the S.E.-!/4-21-1-20-W4th. He had been told he had to buy land before he would be eligible for a homestead. He then filed on a homestead N.W. V4-20-1-20-W4th. He worked with horses while on the farm.

The farmers sometimes burnt the stubble to make land easier to work. On one occasion when Uncle Dick was burning stubble the wind came up setting the grass on fire. There was no fire guard. The neighbors saw the fire and came to help him. He was dressed in white clothes and when Bill and Albert Robinson arrived, they discovered that the white suit was his underwear; he had taken off his pants to fight the fire with. After the fire was put out it took some time to find his watch and other belongings.

He built a nice house, sixteen by twenty-eight with an upstairs. Entertainment in the district was held in the homes and his house was often used for dancing and parties. Uncle Dick played the violin which was the main source of music. He would play the Virginia Reel and the French Minuet. They were both lovely dances and were interesting to watch.

He liked to play cribbage which he took very seriously. If he would lose he would say, "If you don't get the cards, you can't play them," but if he won he would say, "That's good playing."

The house still stands on the same land it was built on, serving as the first home of the three Robinson boys and their families. At times it was used as the United Church.

He rented his land and later sold it to Albert Robinson Jr. Arrangements were made by Sharpe Henry for him to move to the old folks' home in Gleichen. He passed away in 1949.

We, his friends, were saddened when the news arrived of his passing and burial. We hadn't had a chance to bid farewell to a friend that had played such an important part in our lives.

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Mary Tollestrup