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Thomas Albiston and
Annie Katherine Jensen

Chief Mountain Country
pages 223 - 224

Thomas Albiston was born November 14, 1860 at Staley Bridge, Lancashire, England. He was the son of Joseph Albiston and Mary Ann Clayton.

In 1879 his father went to America to find a place for his family to live. August 29, 1883 Thomas, his brother, Joseph, and his mother set sail on the steamship "Nevada" for America. His ticket cost 17 pounds, six shillings and five pence.

After a long, stormy, rough voyage, Thomas, his mother and brother landed in the U.S.A. and joined his father in Smithfield, Utah.

October 12, 1885 Thomas married Annie Katherine Jensen who was born October 12, 1865 in Solberg, Denmark. She had also immigrated to America with her mother and had settled in Smithfield. They started raising a family, and about this time several families from the Smithfield area moved to the Cardston district. Glowing reports came back of the wide open spaces where grass grew lush and waist high, of clear swift streams and rivers full of fish. This land was open for homesteading. This sounded inviting to Thomas (Tom) and his family so they sold their home and outfitted two covered wagons. They loaded their possessions and family into the wagons and on August 1, 1901 headed north. They arrived in Augusta, Montana September 1, 1901. The next morning they found themselves snowed in and were held up there for almost a week. This made them wonder just what kind of a country they were going to.

Their journey ended September 13, 1901 when they arrived in Taylorville at the home of his brother, William Albiston, who had settled there a year or so earlier.

Tom rented a house from Walter Low which was located on his homestead about two miles east of Taylorville. There they lived for a few months until he could buy a house. It was located next door to Lornin Little in the village of Taylorville and close to the little white schoolhouse which was also used for a church house and all other community activities. They lived there for a year or so.

In the meantime he filed on a homestead two and a half miles southeast of town on the N.E. of 12-1-24. This was a great deal of work. He hauled logs and poles from the mountains, built fences and a log granary, broke land and dug wells.

When this was done he moved their house onto the homestead and built onto it. They were quite comfortable and became involved in the business of farming, raising grain, milking cows, haying and gardening.

One day while cutting hay and not having been out very long, Tom got off to check the mower. He noticed the knife was wet and red as blood. It didn't take him long to find the cause. Hidden in the tall grass was a patch of the biggest juiciest strawberries he had ever seen. No more of those lovely berries went to waste.

It was not all hard work in this new land though. They took time off for celebrations, ballgames and many dances. Tom had a violin and loved to play. When they first moved to Taylorville the ward had just been organized. They didn't have an organist so he played his violin for accompaniment. He and his violin were in great demand all around the area to play for dances. As the boys grew older they often accompanied him on the organ. He also gave violin and a few piano lessons.

Sorrow came to the family September 8, 1912 when Mrs. Albiston (Annie) passed away. Life was harder from then on. This hardship left Edna responsible for the household duties until she was married and moved to her own home.

Their lives were saddened again in 1923 when Joseph passed away in Lethbridge. Years later June 30, 1939, Thomas died quite suddenly, taking another early pioneer of southern Alberta who had lived a useful life of service in his community. This tribute was paid him at his funeral, "Men who meet the test when judged by happiness, friendship, neighborliness, generosity, and virtue, are really worthwhile-Mr. Albiston measured high by this standard."

Children of this family include Lester (married Vicky Lowry), Ernest (married Jennie Pyper), May (married Ben Lowry). Wilford (married Edith Olsen), Edna (married Eugene Berezay), Joseph (married Mable Johnson), Vern (married Martha McEwen.)

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup