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John Silas (Jack) Guthrie
and Elizabeth Pritchard Guthrie

Heritage of the High Country-
A History of Del Bonita and surrounding Districts
Pages 359-360
written by Norah Langworthy

Jack Guthrie was bom in Enid, Oklahoma, in 1876. He came to Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1907 or 1908. He met and married Elizabeth Pritchard in late 1908. She was a widow who had come from England with two small children, Dennis and Norah. She was working as a midwife when she met Jack.

They moved to Alberta in 1910 and to Del Bonita in 1912 when he filed on a homestead. Jack Guthrie built one of the first homestead shacks in the Del Bonita area as he had worked at Fishbum as handy man and learned a little about carpentry there.

Mr. and Mrs. Guthrie were always busy doing volunteer work in the community, and always helped folks in need. Mrs. Guthrie helped organize the first Women's Institute in the district. Mrs. Allen Sr. was the first president and her daughter, Claire Allen was the first secretary. Mr. and Mrs. Guthrie were members of the F.U.A. and F.W.U.A. when they were first organized.

In 1930 Mrs. Guthrie worked in Lethbridge to bring in some extra money and Jack worked at Fishbum. Norah has memories of going boating on Shanks Lake with Mr. Dimsdale and of going to the island to see the many birds' nests there. Mr. Dimsdale was an avid hunter and he and other hunters made Guthries' home their headquarters when in the area, hunting.

Mr. and Mrs. Guthrie retired and moved to Magrath in 1948. He sold his farm to Ernie Hillmer who had become a close friend and neighbor after buying the Dimsdale homestead nearby in 1940.

Jack was always interested in politics and was a loyal supporter of the Conservative party and John Diefenbaker. He made a trip to Ottawa to meet Mr. Diefenbaker. He was a devout Catholic and volunteered his services in the upkeep of the church in Magrath. He also left a sizeable donation to the church in his will.

They had a family of three, Dennis, Norah, and May. Dennis was born in 1902, married Bernice O'Dell of Spokane, Washington. He died March 5, 1959 at Alameda, California at age fifty-six. Norah, born in 1905, married Roy Langworthy. She now resides in Taber. May, born in 1911, died December 25, 1930 at age nineteen.

The children all attended Shanks Lake School. The first teacher was W. T. Roycroft. The next teacher was Mr. Ora Neilson of Cardston. Classes were held at Roycroft's home until a school was built.

Close neighbors of the Guthries were L. Dimsdale who lived in the rock house he built to the south of Guthrie's on the east shore of the lake. North neighbors were L. Dimsdale's father, and west of him next to the lake, Mr. Roycroft. Mr. Dick Smith lived on the north shore and Bob Lanaway homesteaded west of Dick Smith. He went to war and never returned to the homestead. It was later taken by John Bridge.

Elizabeth Guthrie died at Magrath, June 9, 1952, a month before her eightieth birthday. Jack died March 17, 1959 at Magrath.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup