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Robert Hugo Kallies

Heritage of the High Country
A History of Del Bonita and Surrounding Districts
Page 407
by Hank Graveland

Robert Kallies homesteaded the SE 1/4-17-1-22-W4th.

When he arrived in Canada, and where he came from in Germany, I don't know. He must have been one of the earlier homesteaders, because when my parents arrived in 1912, they lived with him in his shack while he helped my dad build our one room home.

I can't remember him before the accident, but I recall my dad saying he had been a handsome man. It was a miracle that he survived it at all. He had come home late one cold night, and as many of the homesteaders did, when they were in a hurry, he poured kerosene on the kindling. This time it blew up, and his clothing caught fire. By running outside, and rolling in the snow, he managed to extinguish the flames. I think it was Bill Perry who drove him to Cardston. Imagine thirty miles, with team and sleigh, for a man in that condition.

The Robert Kallies we kids knew, was not a pretty sight. Most of his ears were gone, he had no eyebrows, in fact, no hair on his face at all. One eye was gone, just an angry red socket. His hands were so twisted out of shape, that he had trouble holding a knife and fork. Yet, despite his handicap, he was a good carpenter and could fix almost anything. He had one of the first automobiles on the lease, and kept it running. I think our family was perhaps as close to him as anyone. I recall him having Christmas dinner with us, and we often looked after his chores. We were used to his looks, and it didn't bother us, but I think a lot of the kid were scared of him, and he knew it. He told my dad once, it was hard walking down the street in town, knowing people were staring at him.

He was killed in 1931, when one of his horses kicked him. It was then we learned he had named Dad executor of his estate. That fall my brother, Cor, and I earned our first real money when we stocked his crop after Bill Perry cut it with the binder. I think we received twenty-five cents per acre. So if we worked hard, and did ten acres, we received the princely sum of $2.50.

Dad had trouble finding a buyer for the half section, but finally sold it to Jim Felger for ten dollars an acre. After the estate was all settled, and the money sent to his relatives in Germany, I recall how thrilled my dad was when the judge awarded him $400.00 for the executor fees. In 1931, $400.00 was a small fortune.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup