Friday, November 24, 2017
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The Bullpound Country

Bonspiel, 1958 Bonspiel, 1958

 

One of the many tributaries of the Red Deer River is the Bull Pound Creek. The beginning of the creek can be traced back to the north slope of the Hand Hills and from there it meanders through the Watts Flats and on in a southerly direction for about 70 miles and finally empties into the Red Deer River in the vicinity of Hutton. As it passes along the east side of the Hand Hills, the country through which it flows, spreads out in a wide, flat expanse of land which is known as the Bull Pound Flats.

The land was surveyed out in townships in 1885, and shortly after a fellow by the name of George Cowan came in with a bunch of cattle and located his ranch in township 29, range 14. His grazing domain stretched out for miles on each side of the Bull Pound Creek and hundreds of cattle bearing his brand, fanned out from the home corrals which were located in a deep coulee on the east side. The hard winter and deep snow of 1906 and 1907, took its toll and in the spring, dead cattle lay everywhere. Fewer than 100 of the 1,000 head survived and Gowan never rebuilt his herd.

The land had been surveyed in sections in 1906 and the ranchers heard rumors that it would be thrown open for settlement soon. They started liquidating their holdings and by 1909 the homesteaders had taken over. The coulee where the Gowan ranch buildings were located is still called Gowan's Coulee.

A complete list of settlers who filed on land in Township 29, Range 14, includes the following names: Alex Mohl, father of Alex Mohl Jr. and grandfather of the late Clarence Mohl of Hanna; T. Howatt, M. Brandt, E. Teed, N. McLean, J. McFayden, J.W. Gall, father of a number of sons and daughters still living in this vicinity; C. Frakes, who lost an arm in the First World War. There were three Jones' and for identification purposes were nicknamed as follows: J.C. Jones "Casey", E. Jones "Alkali" and T. Jones "Butcher". The latter was the father of Dooley Jones who still lives here. Then there was W. Vokes, the Irish lad who told the census taker when he called in 1912, to take the census that he didn't have any senses to spare; T. Churchill, J. Bolt, E. Eldridge, H. Slingerland and W. McIlvenna, both killed in World War 1; W. Dayton, Olson brothers John and Andrew, Sam Wadsworth who operated one of the first coal mines in the country; O.P. Stringer, Josiah James, father of Marshall, Nathan and Ferg James, who all homesteaded here. R. Crowle well known blacksmith of Hanna; T. Somerville, Jake Tiffin and son Earl; T. Houston, H. Tolton, G. Giler, J. Borodula and sons Alex and Andy; F. Hyslop, J. Egan, W. Zakopyko, the old Russian fellow who filed on his homestead without seeing it, and when he came out in the spring of 1911, it was all covered with water and he had to build his shack on the road allowance. The boys claimed he lived in the water so much that he grew webs between his toes!

Others included Carl Johnston, J. Fordor, alias "Jack Watson", Fred Schmitz, father of Freddie Schmitz, who lived south of Hanna; D. Leight, F. Brocklebank, P. Hornbrook, W. Maxsy, S. Willman, A. South, A. Littleton, J. Russell, A. Flatman, J. Bryson, J. Playut, H. McKenzie, H. Hammel, Shea Bros., Dr. G.H. Wade, Mayor of Hanna for many years, F. Smith and C. Sheely.

The Bullpound School, built in 1912 - first school board, J.W. Gall, Alex Mohl, Jake Weidrich and T.J. Warwick, secretary-treasure. The first teacher was B. Rivers who had a homestead in the district.

The first pupils registered in the Bullpound School were: John Wild family - John Dr., Emelia, Ida, Gus and Fred, John Gall family: Bertha, Edmund and Emma; Gus Eberhardt family: Gustave Jr., Fred, Olga, and Emil; John Borodula family: Andrew, John and Mary; Jake Weidrich family: Sam, Bennie, Martha and Jacob; Michael Gaetz family: Emma, Otto, Elsie and John; Sam Rust family: Tillie, Dave and Gus; Alex Mohl Sr. family: George, Lydia, Adam, John and Albert.

The Olive School built in 1915 - First Board of Trustees George Thomas, Fred Schmidt and T. Howatt, Ferg James, secretary-treasure. The first teacher was Miss Reid who later married the late Dave Harvey.

The early school register contained the names of: Jack Maynes, Alex Maynes, Lloyd Schmitz, Fred Schmitz, Bell Thomas, Audrey Thomas, Olaf Knutson, Ted Churchill, Lucy Churchill, Wm. Churchill, George Howatt, Olive Jones, Fred Jones.
The Red Rose School was built in the summer of 1911. Henry LeBlanc a carpenter who had a homestead in the district was awarded the contract to put up the building. Ferg James laid the foundation and helped build the school.
The first board of trustees was E.A. Portfors, Cal Vowel and T.G. Sanders. The first teacher was Mr. Holbrook. He was the father of Clyde Holbrook who later became a pilot and flew in the First World War.

Some of the first students attending the Red Rose School were: Millie Dryer, Nellie Dryer, Francis Dryer, Clifford Hannah, Earl Hannah, Inex Vowel, Alex Jones, Cora Churchill, Ted Churchill, Earl Howatt, Harvey Howatt, Bill Raugust, Charles Knauft, Florence Knauft, Ella Knauft, George Knauft, and Merle Sanders.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald