Sunday, March 24, 2019
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Joe Winkler

Section Gang in the 1920's Section Gang in the 1920's


Most people remember Joe Winkler as being synonymous with law and order in Hanna. Joe was born in Texas and the drawl remained throughout his lifetime. Typical of Texans Joe was a big man and in his prime stood straight as a stick. No one carried the blue uniform of Hanna's early police force with greater respect than Joe Winkler.

His Texas birth date is recorded as 1874 and as a young man he fought in the Spanish American War as a member of Teddy Roosevelt's Roughriders. Following recovery from an attack of Malaria he came to Calgary in 1907 on the recommendation of a doctor who advised him to settle in a cool climate.

In 1909 Joe homesteaded on a half section 30 miles southwest of Hanna. He worked on the Bassano Dam construction project when he wasn't farming.

In 1913 Joe first came to Hanna where he soon became well known and his friends included I.F. Shacker, George Burkell, the Parker brothers, Chris German and most of the downtown fraternity.

Times were tough on the homestead and Joe was appointed Hanna's town constable, a job he held until his retirement 36 years later.

At the sound of the fire bell Joe was usually the first on the scene. He found ways and means to assist needy families and he had away with young people who got too rambunctious.

Joe was followed in his job with several other constables until the 1960's when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began providing police service under contract.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald