My grandfather, Otto F. Malmberg, was born in Sweden. Otto and his parents sailed for American in 1863, and travelled by wagon train across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley, arriving the first part of September. Otto had his first birthday on the ocean. A year later the family moved to Santaquin, Utah where Otto grew up and received his education.
In 1879 Otto married Ellen Matilda Anderson, and they became the parents of thirteen children. My father, George Nelson was the second child, born in July 1882.
My mother, Agnes Henrietta Olsen, was also born in Santaquin, Utah in May 1883. Her family had also emigrated to Utah, coming from Norway.
By the time Dad (George) was twelve years old he and his brother Owen were herding sheep on the desert during the winter and in the mountains during the summer. These two young boys would often be left alone for weeks at a time. They had a sheep wagon, a dog, and some flour and beans etc., and a gun which George's father had taught him to use. Even in his late seventies, Dad was an expert marksman.
Dad and Mother were married on July 21, 1903. Their first child, a daughter, was born in Santaquin in November 1904.
In 1902 the bottom fell out of the sheep business, and Otto began looking for a place where he and his boys could work together. They moved first to Oregon and then in the fall they moved to Canada arriving in High River, Alberta. In the spring of 1905, he and his sons Sam, George, Owen and Charles filed homesteads east of Blackie.
In 1918 they bought the Eldredge ranch of 18 sections just south of Spring Coulee. George and his sons ran this operation. Mother and the family moved into High River where the children could go to school, since Dad was spending a lot of his time at the ranch. During the years that Dad managed the ranch, the products were quite diversified. For many years there was a large herd of sheep. There was often a sheep herder hired to help with this operation. It seemed that the lambing always occurred during stormy weather and mostly at night. We had numerous sheep sheds at the ranch, and some very helpful sheep dogs. Coyotes were a real problem with the sheep, so Dad always had many hound dogs. These were to hunt down coyotes, and the older boys spent many hours at this pastime. When the lambs were ready for market they were trailed to Magrath and sold to L. Jenson for many years.
There were hundreds of horses at the ranch when I was growing up, some for our own use and many for the market. The big horse barn had box stalls on each side the full length of the barn and in the spring the big barn was filled with young draft horses to be broke and work, and saddle horses trained to ride. If you were chosen to be the wrangler you were up before the sun so you could ride to the pasture and bring the horses to the barn.
Breakfast was always at 6 a.m. and the horses had to be fed and in their stalls before then. The mixed cattle herds of the 1920's were slowly replaced by Shorthorns and later by Herefords as Dad made improvements. The cattle brand was Vee Anchor Bar left rib, and the horse brand was Mx on the left shoulder.
As time went on some of the livestock operation was phased out as more acres were cultivated for grain farming.
Dad always rode a good horse, and as the boys came along they too had their favorites. Many of the oldtimers in the area will remember the Appaloosa horses on the ranch. There were excellent cattle dogs that gave faithful service in the hot dusty corrals or in the winter snows. These dogs were almost like part of the family.
Some of the hired hands I can remember were Mark Bond, Jimmy Plunet, Ole Olsen, Mike Beimler, Billy Fortner, Ray Albiston, Greg Posy, 'Shorty' and Vivian Williams, and many others. They were not only hired hands but friends as well.
We spent our summers at the ranch until the family had finished their schooling.
In the 1940's Dad and his five sons took over control of the ranch and it was eventually divided amongst them.
In 1956 one son imported the first Charolais cattle into Canada, and in 1966 he brought in the first Purebred Charolais from France. He pioneered the import of "Exotic" breeds in this area.
My father and mother were the parents of eight children, two daughters and 6 sons. My brother Max was killed April 1967 in a tragic accident at his farm. Wayne died in July 1978 and his wife Georgia in 1989. Eloise died in May 1988, her husband Evan J. (Bud) having predeceased her in 1972. A infant son Harold, died soon after birth.
My parents, George and Agnes celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in 1953 with many friends and relatives coming long distances to offer congratulations. Dad died November I,1960. Mother lived alone for the next year, passing away October 6, 1961.
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