Transcript:Summach, August. Trip from Ontario Took Eleven Days

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Trip from Ontario Took Eleven Days

By A. Summach
From Saskatchewan Diamond Jubilee 1965 Edition -- Asquith History

Background - not in original article

When August and Fred came West in 1908 with their livestock and lumber, August was 20 and Fred was 18.

(Start of article)

It took my brother, Fred, and me 11 days and nights to come from Killaloe, Ontario to Asquith by freight. Our horses got very tired standing. We had our bunk on the lumber at the other end of the car, and I well remember one night when we were sidetracked, one of the horses fell in its sleep and I awoke suddenly and jumped up so quickly that I nearly knocked out myself by hitting my head on the top of the box car. We had barrels in the car for watering the stock and, when we would come to water along the track, the freight would stop and let us fill our barrels.

We stopped at Saskatoon and were told that we wouldn't get out to Asquith for a week, so I paid an extra $48 to have a locomotive run us out to Asquith, as that was as far as the line had been built by 1907. Gus Picketts was the first man that we met when we landed at Asquith, as he was looking for business for his livery barn.

In the spring of 1906, I came to Regina to work. I had filed on a homestead at Bethune but, when I went to see it, I found that it was very stony. I had had all the stone-picking that I wanted in Ontario so I decided to cancel it.

I worked north of Regina and, in the fall, went back to Ontario.

Brother Fred came out in 1907 to see the country, as the old saying was, "Go west, young man." In the fall, he returned to Ontario and, between the two of us, we convinced our mother to sell the farm down there. She loaned us the money to move out here and start farming in the spring of 1908.

We brought out two carloads of settlers' effects which contained five cows, four horses, and enough lumber for a small house.

We batched during the winter for four years, and our dear mother cooked for us during the summer. The main diet for the first winter was cornmeal.

After making one payment on a binder in the fall of 1908, we had the sum of 10 cents in cash left. The cows were the means of supplying us with groceries, as I used to churn and sell butter to Sandy Currie for 15 cents a pound.

Then I got married and moved west one mile to Jack Beels' homestead, which I purchased. We lived there for four years, then moved back a mile east where we purchased a half section from Kenneth and Justin Cummings. We lived there for 10 years and then moved to the present home farm in 1926.

From then on I began to expand, buying more land. The first land was purchased at $20 an acre -- CPR land -- and from there I went as high as $60 an acre -- the top price I had paid.

Could This Happen Again

We hear a lot of complaints today about hard times when wheat is selling at $1.68 net to the farmer, but I remember the year of 1912 when the harvest was late and the wheat froze.

William Rousell told me that he shipped a carload of wheat to Winnipeg. After threshing it out of the snow, they had to pry it out of the car at Fort William. It didn't pay for the freight.

The railroad company sent him a bill for the balance of the freight. He answered and told them that he had no money, but that he would send then a carload of wheat. We talk about the hungry thirties -- I shipped five carloads of No.1 hard wheat from Juniata and it netted me 19 cents a bushel.

William Pilgrim loaded a carload at Asquith that year. Harvey, my son, was buying track wheat for James Richardson and Sons, and Mr. Pilgrim received 13 cents a bushel of an advance. It graded "smutty". He paid 8 a bushel of threshing and paid Harvey 3 cents a bushel to haul it and put it in the car, when this grade came down to 13 cents a bushel they sold him out. That left Mr. Pilgrim 2 cents net after paying for threshing and hauling.