MARY'S GENEALOGY TREASURES
In 1910 a freight train leaving Lethbridge with a
passenger coach attached took four hours to reach Raley.
(God must have made this train as He made everything
"that creepeth on the face of the earth"). That spring a
post office was opened in a farrn house. Southwest of
Raley was an area known as "Gumbo Flats" where there
were several sections of pasture land used for sheep graz-
ing during these summers. Badgers were plentiful and
farmers killed many.
A Presbyterian minister rode horseback from
Cardston and held services in a farm house sitting room
on Sunday afternoons. Different denominations took
part. One Sunday it had to be held in a kitchen. A
thunder storm came up and the hail made such a noise on
the roof the service had to be cut short.
People drove over frozen lakes during winter in
home-made cutters with heated rocks wrapped in
blankets to keep their feet from freezing.
Men used horses for field work and some wives drove
to Cardston to get the plough shares sharpened. Farmers
did not have many granaries to store grain. Any empty
space in the home was used. One home had wheat in a
room and when seeding time came the fanning mill was
put through the window and the seed cleaned in the
During World War 1, farm help was difficult to get
and sometimes as many as five different nationalities
were working on the same farm. People did not have
cars, radios, or telephones. It was a luxury to have a
Some of the people hauled water for their homes in a
barrel covered with a sack kept in place by a metal band.
The following is a brief sketch of a few of the families
in the early Raley district. Oscar Carlson was born
August 21, 1902. Oscar and his mother Anna Charlotta
Carlson immigrated to Raley, Alberta in 1905. They
came to Spring Coulee station on the A.R. & I narrow
track railway train, (Alberta Railway & Irrigation Co.)
later taken over by the C.P.R. The end of the line was at
the St. Mary River's edge northeast of Cardston. Later a
railway bridge was built there. Passengers were taken
from that point to Cardston by coach.
Mrs. Anna Carlson had a job housekeeping and
cooking for L. H. Jelliff and hired help. Mr. Jelliff, who
settled on section 15, acquired and had interest in some
6 sections of land. Later in the 1920's he became the
U.F.A. member of parliament at Ottawa, and served in
this capacity for 12 years.
The Raley school No. 2099 was built about 1910.
Sam Carson did a great deal of the construction work.
The school was built on the corner of the Earl Church
land. N.W. I/4 9 T. 4 R. 24 W4-just east of the Raley
elevators. The first pupils in the school were Elwood
Church, Oscar Carlson, Florence Church, Marion Flock,
Bernice Flock, Frances Cooper, and two other boys. The
first teacher was Miss Annie Rooney. She was Irish and
some of the students had trouble understanding her Irish
Alf Darby and his wife Fanny Kemp settled here in
1907. His sister Amy was here also. Alf and Fanny had
two sons, Louis and Ralph.
There was Carl "Charlie" Clasen and his wife Emma.
They started farming in 1911. They had two daughters,
Lillian and Alberta.
Then there was the Robertson ranch. Doctor Robert-
son came from southern U.S.A. and settled some 3 miles
west of Raley close to the St. Mary River. He had one
son who died during World War 1. Dr. Robertson raised
many cattle and had quite an operation there. The
Hutterites came up from the Dakotas in 1915 or 16 and
bought his ranch. They named their holdings the West
Mr. Bob Latelife was on the trail of 1898 and carried
a 200 pound pack on his back up to Yukon and Alaska.
He struck gold there and collected considerable money.
He took a boat that sailed down the coast and went to
A family by the name of Church built and developed
a nice farmstead in Raley. They were Presbyterians and
raised a nice religious family-Elwood, Florence, Cecil
and Clarence. One of the two younger boys, Cecil, ate
some poison berries in the pasture and died. Mr.
Church in time got his leg caught in a grain binder (about
1918 or 19) and died in the hospital.
Mr. and Mrs. H. J. "Butch" Flock and family-
Marion, Bernice, Alberta, Stacia, Donald and Margaret
were very religious Catholics. They farmed in Raley from
1909 to 1930. They were highly interested in community
affairs. They later sold out and moved to Lethbridge.
H. A. Walter settled in Raley district in the early
days. His family were: Herbert, Lloyd, Kenneth, Doris,
Joe Workman farmed in Raley district and also
played the violin at the old time dances. He was called
"fiddler Joe". He had three children-Oral, Geneva,
Then there was the Milligan Bros. who settled close
to Raley-Bill, Maurice, Jim and Mike. They were big,
huskey, hard-working fellows. They settled "Slabtown"
called that because of the type of house construction in
those days for low priced housing. Later on, this location
was called Raley Farming Company.
Harry Sykes and his wife had a farm two or three
miles west of Raley. They had one daughter.
Arthur Sykes and his wife lived a few miles southwest
of Harry's place closer to Cardston, on the farm where
Don McKay has lived since 1924 to date (1978).
Horace Brandham and wife and two boys-Roy and
Merlin-lived on a farm close to the Harry Sykes locali-
In 1913-14 a Messina Sykes cooked and kept house
for L. H. Jelliff and later had a millinery shop in
Alex Dower Sr. built a small house and lived there for
a short time. Alex and Sam Carson were brothers. Alex
was killed in World War 1.