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Charles Sylvester McClain and
Clara Belle (Bruner) McClain

Heritage of the High Country
A History of Del Bonita and
surrounding Districts Pages 27 - 28

Charles Sylvester McClain was born in Keokuk, Missouri, and Clara Belle Bruner was born in Exira, lowa. They were married April 26,1896 in Iowa.

Charles and family came to Canada in 1916. They went to Nobleford to J. W. McClain's farm (a brother to Charles) and worked for him. Then in 1917 the family moved to Raymond to work for Uncle Jasper who had bought the Mendenhall farm there.

In the fall of 1918 they moved to the ranch south of Magrath, as Uncle Jasper bought that ranch from Mr. Mendenhall. Grandpa (Charles) was foreman. It consisted of eighteen sections of land and often had ten to twelve hired men. They ran about sixteen hundred head of cattle and one hundred and twenty-five or so of horses. There was a big flowing well on the ranch which had very good water. There was so much water they used to irrigate ten to fifteen acres of alfalfa for hay.

The winter of 1919, their son Lawrence got pneumonia and had a tough fight for his life. John (another son) rode a horse to Magrath, twenty miles away for medicine. The snow was so deep he had to relay horses at Mclntyre's, Heathershaws', Owens', and then on into Magrath and he relayed the horses back the same way. The horses and John were worn out by the time they got back, as the snow had been up to the stomach of the horses nearly all the way to Magrath . Mother McClain never left the ranch for six months that winter. The snow was so deep that often times the boys would pull the old Ford car over to Mclntyre Hill. Then it would be clear sailing to town.

During their stay at the ranch, Charles and Clara befriended many people coming to and from Magrath and other places. The teams were always fed and bedded down and the people were warmed, fed and housed, ready for a new start the next morning.

Zelpha Harris and Doris Head were school teachers at Del Bonita and Rinard. They too rode back and forth from Magrath to the schools. They always stayed overnight at McClain's.

Some of the mothers on their way to Lethbridge to have babies or for other illness, were taken care of by Mother McClain and the men and animals were taken care of by "Mack" or by hired hands.

Charles and Clara had six children. While at the ranch John married Delilah Meldrum and they had a son Jack (now our gas man). He later moved to Magrath to work in a garage. They now live near Medicine Hat.

Lawrence and Berta were married in 1925. The spring of 1926 the ranch was sold to Mr. Geo. Heathershaw and of course they had to find a new home. They now live in Magrath.

LaVita married John Tollestrup and they reside in Magrath.

Lola married Ed Wurzer and they are in Magrath.

Valera (deceased) was married to Levi Emmons.

Harry (deceased) lived in California.

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Correction: Charles Sylvester McClain was born in Keokuk, Lee Co., Iowa. All of his children have now passed away.
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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup