Water Works Wonders
A History of the White, Wilson, McMahon,
River Junction School Districts Pages 374 - 375
by Vina (MacLean) Alexander
My father, Francis Orton MacLean was born in Catarague, near Kingston, on May 25, 1884. His father was Dan MacLean and his mother was Grace Hutton.
My mother was born at Ganonazie on Feb. 2, 1883. Her parents were Mary and Francis Hutton. Mother and Dad were married on Jan. 30, 1906, in her parents' home.
Mother and Dad had the good fortune to move into a new home built on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. It was a stone house with hardwood floors upstairs and down, and completely furnished by her parents. Five years ago, when I had the good fortune to visit my birth home, my grandfather's farm was declared historic property. I could hardly believe the wonderful condition it stands in today. Even the barns. My grandfather had a cheese factory. Five sons and not one of them was interested in a cheese factory.
After six years on the farm, my father wanted to sell the farm and move west. Mother had six brothers in the West and they seemed to be doing fine. By this time there were three children to care for. We moved in to Kingston for a year or so. Then the family moved to Redcliff, Alberta. A cyclone hit Redcliff in 1914. It did quite a bit of damage that year. We endured several that did some damage - mostly broken windows.
My dad was supposed to be quite well off with his $6,000. He decided to build houses to rent, then retire and live off the rent. He did build three and one for mother, but, by the time this was done, rents had melted down to $5 a month. There were several factories built - brick plants, rolling mills, glass factory. This made employment for the people. This went along fine until the war closed down so many of them. My father worked in the rolling mill. His job was well paid but dangerous. He had to wear a fine wire mask over his face to protect his eyes, as well as a large apron to cover the rest of his body. It would be very hot when the rails came rolling through a blazing mass. My father would try to grab them and send them on to a vat of cold water.
On Feb, 7, 1920, another boy joined our family. That made 2 boys and two girls. I remember that winter was very cold with lots of snow. However we were comfortable with gas heaters and gas lights.
My father always said "Where there is a cow, there will be food on the table". He had heard of a man who had a lovely herd of cattle but was unable to feed them and so he had some of them up for sale. Dad bought six of them at first and eventually bought the whole herd. The dairy was started shortly after. In a few short years, it meant expanding the operation or selling. It seems they did not like the idea of either solution. It was during this time that Aunt Nettie (Hutton) and Uncle Dave (D.J. Whitney) decided to pay us a visit. They wanted us to take over the farm at Lethbridge. In 1929 we moved to the Ideal Farm along with the herd of cattle my dad had built up in Redcliff.
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