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William Hipp and Kathern Anna Tubbs

Our Treasured Heritage-
A History of Coalhurst and District Pages 367-368
By William Travalia

My grandfather was born November 18, 1864 and my grandmother Kathern Anna Tubbs was born June 20, 1874. They were married on February 1, 1892. The Hipp family migrated to Canada from Sikeston, Missouri, U.S.A. in 1909. Their first born was a son, Willie Hipp, born August 8, 1894. There were seven more children born into the family, however, due to the time, medical knowledge and disease types of that era, they all died in early childhood, with the exception of three daughters.

Bill Hipp, as he was better known to the old timers, homesteaded with his family in the Taber area. Grandfather was very prominent in the life of Taber and district, arriving during the rush of settlement, and lived in the Taber community for many years. The heavy demand for coal around the turn of the century impelled a sudden influx of coal miners and their families from all parts of Canada as well as the U.S.A., to settle the dry land farms and work the mines in Southern Alberta. It was during this time in history that Grandmother's brother Alfred Tubbs and his wife Katie, and their family moved to Canada from South of the border. Al Tubbs was a hoistman and steam engineer for the Bay Mine during the teens and 1920's. His wife passed away in 1929. They had five boys and three girls, and in the early thirty's moved to farm in the Retlaw Vauxhall area. The Hipp family established a home in the Taber area and engaged in farming a few miles north east of Taber town, keeping up their own town house as well as maintaining their farm residence. Grandfather had a large Rumley Steam driven tractor, a light bottom plough for sod busting, and a large threshing machine. He found many an opportunity to expand his operations, and besides farming he embarked into grain threshing and contract hauling. With an increased demand for his services, he employed between 35 and 40 men full time in varied activities, as the Hipp threshing gang ranged far and wide each and every fall for years. There were 16 teams and hayracks, a large cook house mounted on large steel wheels, as well as two large bunk houses mounted for mobility. In the capacity of chief cook and bottle washer, as well as water hauler and cookhouse flunky, was an old gentleman named Perry Balis Williams, better known as Cousin. He emigrated to Taber with the Hipp family from Missouri, His day began at 4:00 a.m. and ended way after sundown, usually seven days a week. He spent his lifetime working for the Hipp generation, and passed away in Coalhurst September 2nd, 1947. Cousin never did get married. He claimed that in his youth he never had the money and time, and in later years nobody would have him.

Slowly the coal mines folded up. The dry land farmers failed to produce, and grandfather packed up and moved to the town of Coalhurst, Alberta, in 1926. He purchased an irrigated farm of 160 acres approximately one and a half miles north of Coalhurst. Rebbeca and Dave Berry and family moved from Taber to Coalhurst with my grandparents, and did most of the farming and chores of the day. In the late 1930's the Berry family moved to a place of their own in the Whitecourt and Westlock area. Myrtle and Paul Pontarolo had their farm adjoining the Hipp farm on the north, and in 1931 Florence and Pete Travalia moved from Taber to a farm owned by a Mr. Whitney, which adjoined grandfather's land on the south.

Grandfather and Grandmother Hipp left Coalhurst on July 18, 1940 to travel to Westlock, Alberta, to visit their youngest daughter Rebecca and family. On the Edmonton trail north of Calgary they were to become the victims of a double tragedy. At 1:30 P.M., July 18, 1940, while crossing the railroad, they were struck by the Chinook passenger train, a fast Calgary-Edmonton train owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, bringing their lives to an end. They left behind a heritage we are proud of.

Part of the heritage and lasting memories of grandfather, are the trees, that still stand in proud majesty throughout Park Lake, that grandfather was instrumental in obtaining and planting within the park area, back in the early 1930's assisted by other old timers from the L.N.I.D. territory.

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Mary Tollestrup