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Frank Halla

Heritage of the High Country-
A History of Del Bonita and surrounding Districts
Page 363

Frank Halla came from Czechoslovakia to Chicago and then to San Francisco. He was in San Francisco at the time of the earthquake. He arrived in Lethbridge in time to take up a homestead on the lease. On May 1, 1912 he chose S. E. 13-1-22-W4th as his homestead and the S.W. 13-1-22-W4th as a preemption.

Arol Farries met Frank in the fall of 1912. Everyone knew Frank as Happy. The Mounted Police who used to ride through the area and call in to see how people were getting along, nicknamed him Happy. Happy and Arol Farries were good friends and visited and helped each other with work. When Happy went to the store and post office he usually called in at the Farries home to have dinner and visit a while. They and Bill Newton used to write some of his business letters for him. He was kind hearted and willing to help anyone.

In early days he braided hats from wheat straw for some of the children in the neighborhood. He was clever with his hands and plaited rawhide lariat ropes, bridles, and hackamores for neighbors as well as for men who worked on the oil well. He also plaited beautiful horse hair hat bands, watch chains and ornaments. He was heard to say, " I can sit by the side of the best of plaiters. " Happy never owned a radio. He enjoyed visiting and helping his neighbors. He loved to play poker and spent many a happy hour in winter playing penny-ante with a ten cent limit. Whenever Happy helped to butcher a pig he would cut out the bladder, blow it full of air, and let it dry, then give it to the young boys to use as a punching bag. It was tough and lasted well.

One time when he was expecting a good friend from Chicago for a visit he went to the bank in Magrath and borrowed enough money to buy a good suit of clothes and all the accessories to go with it. His credit was always good. He hadn't had a new suit since he had come to the homestead. He was a handsome man and had excellent taste in clothes. Happy always tried to pay his bills, but had to rely on the bank to help at times. One time when he needed to borrow money he went to the bank manager who greeted him with, "Well Frank, how do you do?" Happy's answer was, 'It's not how I do banker, it's how do you do, I need to borrow some money."

Happy loved to fish and often walked three or four miles to the Milk River to try his luck at catching a trout.

Happy became a British subject and was very proud of his allegiance to the king. He showed his deep loyalty by making the trip to Calgary to see the King and Queen when they made a royal tour in the 30's.

He was a staunch Roman Catholic. It was seldom that a priest came to Del Bonita. When a United Church service was held he always attended. He had a great respect for the church regardless what denomination it was.

Happy always farmed with horses, and exchanged help with neighbors to get his work done. He was a man that was easily satisfied. He didn't live a long life. After a prolonged illness he passed away in 1942 at the age of fifty-six.

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Copyright © 2000
Mary Tollestrup