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Lloyd Holland and
Alta Jane (Ellison) Holland

Pinepound Reflections - A History of
Spring Coulee and District pages 249 - 252
by Beth Holland Barnett

My dad Lloyd Russell Holland was born January 15, 1894 at Brigham City, Utah. He died April 24, 1966 at Welling Alberta.

My mother Alta Jane Ellison was born November 18, 1895 at Aetna, Alberta. She died January 14, 1979 at Cardston.

Dad's family moved from Utah to Cardston where he grew up and met mother. They married and had five children. We lived in Cardston and then moved to Spring Coulee.

The four older children started our schooling in Cardston at the Public School. I was 8 years old when we moved to Spring Coulee and it must have been in the summer when we were out of school. I can remember us older children riding on top of the furniture on the back of a truck.

Dad was hired to be a grain buyer at the R.S. Thompson Elevator, where he worked for six years.

We moved into a three story Hotel and what excitement as it was so big. The first floor had a kitchen, pantry built under the stairway, a big bed room and a dining room, a front hallway going to the 2nd floor, with four bed rooms and big hallway and a 2nd stair going to the 3rd floor and 2 big rooms. The roof had a square top that could be lifted off for roof repairs I guess and the boys would lift it up so we could look out. It was quite scary, it seemed so high and we could see the top of the world. The front had a big porch which we called a shanty, a trap door and stairs into a dirt cellar, not too many cement basements in those days.

Our drinking water was piped from Munroe's flowing well to a cistern at the back door of the Hotel.

There was an old barn 2 or 3 out buildings that went with the hotel and it was all on the corner of Spring Coulee's main street and close to the railroad station, where the train came through twice a day from Lethbridge to Cardston in the late afternoon or evening and back to Lethbridge the next day.

When my family lived alone in the hotel we had a play house on the 3rd floor. During the years we lived in the hotel there were several other families lived in the 2 upstairs rooms.

One family made sourkraut in a wooden barrell and you could smell it all over the house. There was oil drilling in the district and a young couple Lelha and Al Springer from California lived in the top story. Mother kept in touch with her for years until mother passed away. After Lelha left Canada, she would send us a big box of clothes every Xmas and how we looked forward to those clothes to wear or be made over. We would go to the Post Office every night to see if it had arrived.

I can't remember how many years we lived in the Hotel, then we moved over to the Kelley house. It had 7 rooms and a small room that had been a bath room. We had a barn and out houses where we raised our chickens. Uncle Johnny Mather's brother loaned us a milk cow and we had her for many years. She always got lost for a day or so and later had her calf and uncle John would come and take the calf home. When we didn't have a milk cow Mrs. John Thompson gave us milk and many a trip I made walking to their place with a gallon syrup pail to get the milk.

We lived in the Kelley house for a long time and we all went to school. Our teachers were Mr. & Mrs. Pharis, Miss Blackbourne and Norma Chrisie. There were two schools and we called them the little one and the big one. When we got finished in the Little School we crossed the road to the Big School and got as much High School as we could or could afford as we had to pay a few dollars for departmental exams and that was hard to come by.

There was a barn for the horses the country kids came to school on. Some rode a good many miles, or came in buggys or walked in all kinds of weather dressed in layers of clothing and that was pretty scarce for some.

One girl dressed like a man and always had a good horse. Another girl had little clothing and froze her legs till they blistered. I gave her my scarf and helped wrap her legs to get home after she had stayed at school all day and her legs were blisters, boy what she must have gone through.

The twins and I would ride in a one horse buggy or on an old horse, bare back. He didn't care how many were on his back.

Mrs. Anderson always had a table full of good food and always many mouths to feed. When we were too young to go to the dances we spent many hours dressing up in their older sister's cloths and pretending we were grown up enough to go to the dances.

When I was out to the Wood house, which was often, they had good saddle horses and I loved to ride the horse called Jimmy. Then the Wood's could hook up a team of driving horses and we could go to town in the Bennett Buggy.

We were always going to sneak out the bedroom window and go to the dance at the Vernal School house but never did get brave enough.

One of the Boettcher girls would go to her dad's (Paul Boettcher) garage every night after school and he gave her a penny if I was with her. I got a penny too and we would go to Mrs. Jolliffe's Penny Store and get some candy. Every week the Boettchers got the funny papers to be read by others than the family.

We were growing up during the hard years, we didn't have much peer pressure then. If we had hand me down clothes we were very grateful. Mother was a great sewer, quilter and crocheted a lot so could always make our clothes or make over clothing for all of us.

I was 18 when I got my first bought coat and I was really proud as it was quite an achievement. Neighbors helped each other and that was the way of life. I guess we all knew we were living in a depression but didn't worry about it, but I'm sure our parents had lots of worries raising their families.

All the neighborhood kids spent a lot of time in the big coulee west of the town. We did a lot of sleigh riding in the winter and just spent time in the summertime. A creek ran through there too and lots of buildings, two or three houses and corrals. There was a big white two story house that was left with a lot of furniture in it after William Thompson had lived there and moved to California. The TX owned all the land I suppose and buildings and corrals in the coulee. The main road to Cardston went through it. There was a big old car left sitting by the house. In the back seat there were two little seats that folded up or down for extra passengers. We played in it many times pretending we were driving somewhere. Nowaday it would be called trespassing, not then, no one seemed to mind.

I started work at an early age of 9 years, baby sitting the Bishop boys when their parents went to card parties or dances. When I got older I babysat at the Long's and helped with housework. I had two little girls to look after and house work to do after school and on weekends when their parents went to Lethbridge for the day. The house was two miles west of Spring Coulee so I walked many times into a strong west wind or I would have it in my back pushing me. Then I worked for Mrs. R. S. Thompson and learned to do many things and Mrs. Jolliffe at her store. I kept in touch with Mrs. Thompson until her passing a year ago and received a letter from her just before she died and I have such good thoughts of my working years for different neighbors over the years.

We were still living in the Kelley house when another brother and sister came to our family. My sister and I were old enough to help look after them as mother was a busy woman taking care of a family, sewing for us and others to help make a living for her family. She quilted for years for her family and other ladies.

Mother cooked several falls for the R.S. Thompson's big steam outfit. It was called the TX outfit and that was their brand. She was alone on the cook car other than when my sister and I went out after school to help her. She had 25 men to cook for at dinner time including the whole crew and grain haulers. She cooked everything every day and every noon meal. She had both pie and pudding besides the main food of meat, vegetables and lots of bread. They were half starved so it took a lot of food to fill them up.

Jim Godlonton was the separator man, Bud McConnell the steam engineer, Squint-eyed Pete was the water man and Jeff Barnett the flunky. Jeff did everything like hauling coal or wood or food and water as well as men back and forth who had been either hired or fired. He was mother's helper, bringing supplies from Spring Coulee store and R. S. Thompson's basement. He cut all the meat for the days eating and many other chores.

The last thing at night Jeff would let the bed springs down from the ceiling onto the table so we could go to sleep and in the morning we would have to pull them back up again before breakfast. Many a morning Jeff would put me on old Flax, a TX horse or in a grain tank to take me to school. Harvest was a lot of work for everyone and everyone hoped for good dry weather, as there were a lot of TX farms to move to and thresh. There are so many good stories that could be told of how we lived and survived the 30's.

We were all in the same boat, good friends and neighbors and time to help, visit, and have good times. Our dances were a big thing after they built the new hall and everyone danced no matter what age and everyone for miles around came to the Spring Coulee dances.

It was around 1938 my folks moved to Lethbridge and dad worked for the Ellison Mill about a year and then moved to Welling and dad bought grain for the Ellison elevator for 28 years. Three of the children finished their school at Welling and grew up to go on their way.

One son, Ellison, had been away from home for some time and the second world war broke out, so he came home and joined the R.C.A.F and trained as a gunner and got his sergeant stripes. He went overseas and saw active duty. His plane was shot down Sept 18, 1942 over Dusseldorf Germany and he later was reported dead, which was a great sorrow for everyone.

After dad passed away in Welling, mother moved to Cardston and bought her own home and was near her sisters and family. Mother had good health and was able to enjoy living in Cardston and do some travelling. One trip, mother and her sister Mattie went to Europe where they travelled to Clive, Germany and to the cemetery where Ellison was buried after he was killed in the second World War. This was her great desire to be able to go there. She remained in good health until her sudden death in Cardston. She was 83 years old.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup