Hugh William (Bill) Harper was born August 30, 1874 in Rosemount, Ontario, eldest son of Thomas and Esmy Harper, and a first cousin of Irella Henry. He was in the original line-up when the Del Bonita area was opened for homesteads in 1912.
One of the first pioneers to own a threshing machine, every fall for many years thereafter, Bill, with a crew of approximately eight men, would go from farm to farm threshing the grains which at that time were all cut with a binder drawn by horses and put into stocks. It was hard work from daylight till dark for all concerned, for the men, as well as the farmer's wife, who cooked all the meals for the men. (Hence the saying, "you've got enough there for a threshing crew ").
Of course there were the usual problems and with a quick temper and set in his ways, Bill didn't think twice about telling one of the boys off when trouble struck, but when one got to know him well one realized his bark was worse than his bite.
When we, (the Sharpe Henry family) had the misfortune to lose our home by fire in 1929, Bill was there and offered his home to us; a stay which lasted all fall and winter. I remember well how the good neighbors came and helped put up the shell of the new house, then Dad and Bill worked all winter on it, and we moved into it the following spring, although it was far from being finished inside.
For some years before taking a homestead, Bill worked as a brakeman on the railroad and was in the Crowsnest Pass at the time of the disastrous Frank Slide.
He owned a good railroad watch which was his pride and joy, and as far as he was concerned it kept perfect time, so one never disputed the time of day with him.
Like the majority of folks of that day he too was an avid baseball fan. He was the official scorekeeper for many years for the Del Bonita team, and many youngsters got a blast if they asked what the score was too often, but that was Bill. I guess we all accepted him as he was, a good friend and neighbor to all.
He passed away in September, 1939, at the age of sixty-five years.
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