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Origin of the Name Seven Persons

Seven Persons - Once Hundred Sixty Acres and a Dream
As the Story was Told

Chapter 1

(Please note: The Personal Histories in this chapter have been deleted and placed under Alberta Pioneer Histories on this website.)

Seven Persons, a hamlet and a community of southern Alberta, is located about fifteen miles south-west of Medicine Hat, off the Number Three Highway and the Canadian Pacific Railway and on Section 4, Township I1, Range 7, West of the 4th Meridian. It has borne its intriguing name for nearly a century. Most Alberta maps still rank it a place.

The Canadian Pacific Railway Company completed its railroad, linking the territory between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean in 1885. Its route touched Winnipeg, Regina, Maple Creek, Medicine Hat, Brooks and Calgary, but did not fill the need of transportation for the area to the south of the South Saskatchewan River to the United States border. A few years later, probably in 1891 another company, American owned, built a railway line, connecting Minniapolis to Spokane. It was known as the Soo Spokane Flier and it went by way of Portal, (the American - Canadian port of entry), Maple Creek, Dauntless,Lethbridge and the Crow's Nest Pass. This pass was chosen because it was the most natural one through the Rocky Mountains, not requiring much extra or expensive construction.

It was the construction crew of this railway who named this section. Not far from the site, they had come upon seven rough graves, but of white men or Indians was not recalled or established. A decision was made. This would be Seven Persons. It became the name of the hamlet and of the surrounding area.

Throughout the years, especially with bus drivers and train conductors, such jokes have been:"If you are from Seven Persons how are the other six?""How can you have a baseball team from there? There are only seven."I see two of you so the place must be called Five Persons to-day."

What fun those who named the rail sections must have had in trying to choose appropriate titles.

"Let's call this one Maple Creek. I'm sure those are maple trees along that creek bank."

"Grassy Lake is a good handle for this one. It could be a lake here, but I see only a sea of grass."

"I saw an island in the river, the Bow River. How about Bow Island?"

"Dunmore is good enough for this division, Boss. We done more work to-day than on any day since we started."

There is another story concerning the name's derivation. A Blood Indian band, led by it's chief, Calf-Shirt, was travelling through the area, and encountered and did battle with a band of Cree Indians near a creek in south-eastern Alberta. Seven Crees were killed and their medicine pipe taken. The place was called Kitsuki-a-tapi, which could be interpreted to mean seven persons.

Seven Persons

"An odd name Seven Persons"
I heard a traveller say,
As the train pulled into the station
One pleasant autumn day.

He glanced back at the signboard
That bore the village name,
An odd name, - most peculiar,
I wonder whence it came."

"Years ago," I told him,
E'er first homesteads were filed,
Where Indians and buffalo
O'er all the land ran wild.

Some brave and bold explorers
Came riding o'er the plains
And near the site of the village
They found the last remains.

Of seven murdered victims
Of an Indian massacre
Lying there on the prairies,
And after that you see

They named most localities
By incidents, in main,
The creek is "Seven Persons"
In memory of the slain.

Then when they named the village
That near the creek bank grew,
They called it like the waters,
So it's Seven Persons, too.

Newspaper Clippings

One of the popular young ladies of the district undertook the rose strewn path of married life on Saturday last when Miss Mattie Nesting became the bride of Mr. Thomas Dunn of Winnifred. Mrs. Dunn had been attending Normal, but evidently thought marriage a great advantage over a life like that. Mr. and Mrs. Dunn will reside on his farm near Winnifred, where the good wishes for a happy life in this district will reach them.

MAY 4,1923
The community was surprised to hear of the marriage of Miss Mary Tonberg, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C.Tonberg, to Mr. Everett Amos, younger son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Amos, of north of town, on Friday, May 4th, in Medicine Hat. The happy couple returned to the bride's home on Friday and will reside there for awhile. The community join in wishing them much happiness and a long wedded life.

NOVEMBER 19,1923
A well known young couple from this district were married last Tuesday afternoon - Miss Annie Tonberg and Eric Edler. Everyone heartily wishes them the best of luck and happiness in their married life. Mr. and Mrs. Tonberg are giving a big dinner to their friends on Saturday night.

The neighbors and friends of Mr. Henry Schnee were surprised to learn he entered the state of wedlock when Thursday, February 14th, Mr. Schnee and Miss Lila Scully were united in marriage. The ceremony was performed by Rev. J.W. Morrow, of Medicine Hat, in the presence of a few friends. The bride was charmingly attired in a travelling gown and carried a bouquet of roses. After the ceremony a delicious buffet refreshment was partaken of. The bride is very popular and well known in this district, having just finished as a graduate from Calgary Normal College. Congratulations to the newly-weds, who recently embarked on the voyage of matrimonial bliss, is extended from the entire community to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Schnee. Word is being passed around of a discordant musical charivari party to take place soon by their many friends.

JANUARY 29,1924
Kate Meyer, one of our popular young ladies, was quietly married to Mr. Fred Schmidek of Dunmore. We all wish Kate the very best wishes and a long and prosperous married life. Our loss is Dunmore's gain, as Miss Meyer was always a willing worker in the Welfare League and had the true community spirit.

The Cowboy's Prayer

0 Lord, I've never lived where churches grow
I've loved creation better as it stood
That day you finished it, so long ago
And looked upon your work and called it good.

Just let me live my life as I've begun
And give me work that's open to the sky
Make me a partner of the wind and sun
And I won't ask a life that's soft and high.

Make me as big and open as the plains
As honest as the horse between my knees
Clean as the wind that blows behind the rains
Free as the hawk that circles down the breeze.

Just keep an eye on all that's done and said
Just right me sometime when I turn aside
And guide me on the long dim trail ahead
That stretches upward towards the Great Divide.

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Cities, Towns, Villages, Hamlets
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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup