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Mathew Farries and
Anne Jamieson Farries

Heritage of the High Country-
A History of Del Bonita and surrounding Districts
Pages 328
by Anne Farries

Our mother, Anne Jamieson, daughter of John and Margaret (Scott) Jamieson became the bride of Mathew Farries, son of John and Jean (Scott) Farries in December, 1886 in Ontario. There were seven children born to this union: Margaret, Mabel Mae, Malcolm Collin Cameron, John Mathew Jamieson, Arol, Grant, and Elizabeth Annabell.

After being ill for eleven years with diabetes, our father, Mathew Farries, passed away May 7, 1907. In those days there was no insulin and not much knowledge of diet. Under those circumstances it was amazing that he lived for eleven years.

Two years later Margaret, Mabel and Cameron left for Alberta and went to Grassy Lake. They made their headquarters with Aunt Mary and Uncle Bob Farries and the family, till such time as they could find work.

In 1911 when Mother decided to migrate from Lucknow, Huron County, Ontario to Alberta she packed all her belongings. A neighbor who was going to Alberta at the same time agreed to pick up her furniture and load it in the same railway car with his.

We came west on a harvester's excursion. What must have been a nightmare to Mother, was a wonderful adventure for the four younger members of the family.

The colonist cars that made up the train had bunks without mattresses and we had our own bedding. There were slat seats. There was a small stove at one end of the car. We brought our own food and could warm it up and make tea or coffee. We were four days and nights on the trip.

We arrived at Grassy Lake in the middle of the night. Just before we reached our destination the train ran off the track. However there was no damage done and we just got off the train there instead of at the station.

We were weary of that railway car long before we reached Grassy Lake, where we were met by our Uncle Bob Farries, our sister Margaret and a friend.

It was harvest time. Jack and Arol worked on a threshing outfit. Grant and I helped Mother as she cooked on a cook car for a threshing crew. After threshing we all went to Lethbridge and rented a house at 1001 - 3rd Avenue South. Mother, Margaret and Mabel were going to run a boarding house and were partly organized when they decided to work at the Y.M.C.A. They were in charge of the Y.M.C.A. boarding club, a group of twenty-five business men, doctors and lawyers. Grant and I went to school.

In the early spring of 1912 the McIntyre lease was to be opened for homesteading. Mother and Jack decided to file, and were among the first twenty in the line up that extended to the comer, and around the comer for a whole city block. There were some chilly days and nights and they either had to be in their places, or have someone to hold their places for them.

To the group from Ontario our place was home, and our large coffee pot was in great demand day and night. It made a great many trips to the lineup at the land office. A month before they were to file on the land people had makeshift tents along the fence. For safety and sanitary reasons the city officials had them all move out and each person was alloted an eighteen inch square on the sidewalk. Each person paid a dollar and had a number to correspond with his own square of sidewalk. This freed people from the hardship of staying in line for another month. They filed on their homesteads on the first of May, 1912.

1wonder if they would have been so enthusiastic had they known of the privations and hardships ahead. Most of them were practically out of funds and some were hard put to get enough to pay the ten dollars initial payment on their homestead. Many of them filed on a pre-emption at the same time. Consequently there was a family or bachelor on every half section.

Our immediate neighbors included Harry Orcutt, Steve Atwood, George Weatherley, Buck Hayes, Harry Bowen and Bert Campbell. There was an open Hudson Bay Company section to the east. Later this section was bought by Henry Sirrell who was from England.

My first trip to the lease was in July, 1913. It was time for the summer holidays. Mother and Mrs. Katie Lucky hitched her horse and one of our horses to a democrat and drove to Lethbridge. At that time it was a sixty-five mile trip.

They arrived in Lethbridge and stayed over night. We got an early start in the morning, and we were almost to Magrath, when Babe, our horse, went lame and we took her to the blacksmith shop. The blacksmith said it was a sprained fetlock. We had to wrap it with bandages soaked in vinegar.

When we got through doctoring the horse we went to the Kirby restaurant and had a steak supper. In those days the steak covered a platter about twelve by eight inches. The vegetables were served in little side dishes. There was dessert and tea or coffee, all for forty cents. Katie was a big woman with a big appetite, but I was amazed when she ordered another steak. As soon as the waitress left her she spread her linen napkin, flipped the steak onto it, and rolled it up and she said, "There's my lunch for tomorrow". She calmly tucked it inside the front of her dress.

Grant Farries enlisted in the armed services during World War 1. He obtained land through the Soldiers' grant and lived in the district till his death June 7, 1935, at age 36. Arol Farries enlisted at the same time as Grant did, but owing to ill health he was released just before the war ended. Both Grant and Arol enlisted with the Mounted Police.

We sold our land to Louis Secretan. Mother passed away on June 26, 1954 at the age of eightyseven years.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup