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HISTORY OF FRANKBURG

by E. L. Anderson

Frankburg is located twelve miles east of High River on section 21-Tp-18 Rg-27-W, 4th. In the electoral division of McLeod Alberta.

Until 1937 it was predominately a Mormon settlement made up of pioneers who emigrated from a small town south of Salt Lake City named Santaquin, Utah.

The town of Cardston had been settled by the Mormon people some years previous. C.H. Frank having friends in Cardston found out that there were homesteads available in Alberta.

In the spring of 1902 Christopher H.Frank with his wife and sons, Christopher E. Heber, David and John and his daughter Tilly, and his daughter Ella, and her husband John C.Robbins came from Santaquin, Utah by covered wagon. They had quite a number of horses and travelling equipment which was most important in the early days.

They first settled in the Latter-Day Saints settlement of Frankburg town of Nanton and there built a livery stable. From there they looked over the country east of High River, and east of the Frankburg Lake. This lake with its thousands of ducks and fish that was in the lake that had come up from the little Bow River was like coming to a new Santaquin, for they had left just such a place behind them.

For each of the new settlers to have 160 acres of their own in this vast wide open country with tall grass and black soil, it looked mighty good to someone who had worked very hard in the mines and lumber camps and other industries for a scanty living.

Before returning to Utah that fall they had picked out their homesteads and made the necessary arrangements required to hold them until they could return in the spring of 1903 and prove up on their homesteads.

In the spring of 1903 with their wives and families, covered wagons, horses, cattle, machinery, provisions and all that they possessed started for Alberta, Canada leaving friends, neighbours, brothers, sisters, and in some cases fathers and mothers, and memories of the place they had lived from their childhood days.

With the company in 1903 came Otto, John, and Nels Anderson. Victor Johnson, Thomas Vanausdale wife and daughter, C.B. Larson wife and one child, Wallace York, and son Wally, and a bachelor Geo. Pickett.

The drive from Santaquin was slow and hard, the first day only covered six miles, and took them more than two months to reach their destination, Frankburg.

In the fall of 1903 Otto, John, and Nels Anderson with Victor Johnson returned to Utah, and in the spring of 1904 arrived in High River on the 1st day of April 1904 (by train).

They were met at High River by friends and relatives; crossed the Frank Lake on the ice, with snow on the ground on a bright sunny day. By this time C. E. Frank had built a two-roomed house, and with their covered wagons and other shacks were able to get along until by fall all were able to have a place of their own.

Within the next few years more people arrived from Utah, Idaho, and other places. There was Horace Layton, Marvin Thornley, Walt & Lee Roberts, Millard Preston, a Mr. Jewel, (Charles & Elias Stout), David Preston, John Burgess, Alex Cambell, Jim Cambell (Stephen, Sanford, and Odd Dudley) Joseph Doney, Charles O'Bray, Geo. Miles, Horace Burgess, Eugene Bushman, (Alvin, John, and Joseph Robbins) and Albert McPhee.

At that time there was no Blackie or Brant as the rail road was not through. There was a small place a couple of miles northeast of the present town of Brant that was called Old Brant.

In the spring of 1904 everyone seemed happy with their new country. There was no one rich and most were poor, but the people who came to Frankburg were real pioneers. They were used to hardships, hard work and willing to take whatever life had to offer.

At that time people had to go around the north end of the lake to get to High River as the lake was full of water running into the Little Bow. Water from the uncultivated land to the north with other small streams that ran into it especially in the spring kept it full. But the lake did not remain full in later years, by 1945 it had dried up and became a flat area of alkali dust: the stocks of two guns were recovered that were lost by two men from High River who were drowned while trying to recover them through the ice some twenty years earlier, planes also used the lake for a landing field.

In 1948 with a heavy snow-fall and a wet spring it filled up again, and again the pike fish came up from the Little Bow River and the lake was filled again to its original banks, and in some cases farmers were marooned on an island where their buildings stood.

When the people from Utah first came to Frankburg they all lived in the village as it was the custom in Santaquin Utah. But as time went on they moved out to their homesteads, except those who did not own land.

A store was built by some people by the name of VanCamps but even before Blackie became a town, the idea of the store was abandoned. The Frankland school district was established Feb.2, 1905, permission to borrow $1,500.00 for the purpose of erecting and equipping the school building was given Mar. 27th 1905 Senior trustee was C. E. Frank, and Walt Roberts treasurer. The school house was about 30x60 with belfrey and a good size bell, and it was used for all the social functions, school and church. In later years the school was moved away and used for a barn, and a new two story building was built with a very nice gym; It burned down soon after it was built, then a large two-roomed bungalow school was erected, and due to the lack of a number of pupils and the government doing away with country schools, it was moved to Cayley, Alberta. After using the first school for several years the church built a large hall approximately 50x70 feet, and it was used for all community functions besides the church, when not in use for dancing and recreation, the floor was covered with a wall to wall tarp. Electric lights were installed coming from a Delco light plant that C. E. Frank had in his house a block away.

From early fall until late spring people came from near and far to the dances that were held at the Frankburg hall. Due to the depression and poor crops and prices, most of the Mormon people had moved away and the hall that had been used for so many pleasures as dancing, basketball, tennis etc. was taken down and the hardwood floor was taken to Calgary and is now used in the recreation hall there. Gordon Seney bought the land joining the Frankburg town site and it is now being used for pasture.

Teachers who taught in the Frankland School were - Mr. McDonald, Jane Roberts, George Carson, Hilda Peterson, Mr. Tonks, Mr. Martin, Dora Simpson, Millicie Kennedy, Mr. Condon, Vernon Coombs, John Payne, Undine McCune, Lorenzo Hatch, Ida Stewart, Edith Knights, Miss Proctor, Helen Burnsdale, Margaret Maguire, Helen Nicol, Ross Gibb, Leona Petersen, Ascel Butler, Cecil McIlvride, Archie Wilcox Margaret Zang, Dorothy Teuksberry, Mary Ann Christofferson and Eunice Green being the last in 1944.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup