Autobiographical notes, written in October 1973 by Carl Godfrey Muller [born 1873 son of Otto & Emily Muller]
I was born on Dresdner Str. CHEMNITZ, Saxony, GERMANY now called CARL MARX STADT. My earliest recollections are about 1897 when we lived at that address. A fine big house, Colonial style, with a big garden. At the rear was a Junk yard operated by my father, and also a smelter and a brick yard at that time. We lived in a rather grand style then. Two servants and horses and carriage. About 1900 things went bad in the business world and father lost everything in bankruptcy. We moved to Niederlösnitz (Dresden) where father started up again. This time in rubber and tires. I remember us children working on tire valves cleaning them to be renewed and then sold. From that Father advanced to the bicycle business, selling a few second hand machines but soon branched out into new ones. In a short time he was selling 20 machines a day.
Bicycling had become very popular. Part of this boom was the fact that he was selling on credit. To protect himself father hired investigators to see into the creditability of prospective customers. But it turned out that these men were in league with a bunch of crooks and many of the bicycles disappeared across the border into Bohemia, which was only about 30 miles away. So finally the business went bankrupt again. As the business was in mother's name, after the last bankruptcy, most of her bonds etc were used to satisfy the creditors. Mother had inherited a considerable sum of money from Grandfather Russ. So with the help of Grandfather Carl Muller (my father's father), WE EMIGRATED TO CANADA, leaving everything behind except the clothes we wore on our backs.
We sailed from Amsterdam to Harwich, England then by train to Liverpool, sailed on the old Bavarian to Quebec. We were in third class and the rats were very plentiful and as big as a terrier dog. The steerage below us was worse still. On two days the sea was very rough and we were all sick, more or less. We saw icebergs very close to our ship as it was near the end of August and a look-out was on duty day and night to avoid a collision. As we neared the Gulf of St. Laurence we ran into heavy fog. For several days we just inched along and the foghorn blared continually. However we finally landed in Quebec and after a long time, it seemed, got through the immigration department and finally on a train, which consisted of Colonist cars with hard seats to pull out at night to make a crude bed. There also was a stove to cook on. Before leaving the Bavarian Dad had bought a chicken from a steward so that the seven of us could eat. But, when we unwrapped it, it was rotten and we had to throw it overboard. Dad had paid an exorbitant price for that chicken. After about four days we arrived in Winnipeg and then Brandon at 6 am on Sept 5th (Labor Day) 1905. We were sent to the immigration hall which was just newly built but not furnished yet except mattresses on the floor. The next day we started to look for Dad's brother, uncle Carl. We were told that he lived at Lake Clementi, just over the hill, so Dad and I walked up 18th Street looking for that lake. A farmer gave us a ride for about a mile. It turned out that it was 14 miles to the lake. Just before we got there another farmer who knew uncle said he was painting a house on the hill and there we found him. He was a smaller man than my father and did not look well. His family had a shack near the lake which was a restaurant. We met Aunt Amy and the 8 children. She was a very capable woman and was trying to eke out a living for her family. We saw some birds on the lake which Father shot but they turned out to be mud-hens, which taste very strong of fish. However we ate them anyway.
We stayed a couple of days there. One day we could not find Uncle for a long time and feared that he was lost in the bush. When I located him, he was fast asleep in the outdoor toilet. Finally Dad and I walked the 14 miles back to Brandon where Mother was still in the immigration hall with the girls and Brother Bill who was about 6 years old then. Edith was the youngest about 3 years then. There was May 13, Carl ll, Rose l0, Lena 9, Margaret 7. So there were 7 children in our family and 8 in Uncle Carl's. This family moved into Brandon soon after our arrival and we all lived in one house on Louise Ave, near l0th Street. The two brothers started contracting to paint houses. It was late in the fall and they put in a good supply of potatoes to take us over the winter, about 60 bushels. Also a barrel of apples and a quarter of beef and half a pig. Uncle Carl had asthma for years and his condition was bad. His wife Aunt Amy went out nursing maternity cases when available and the eldest girls also got jobs. So Mother was left to look after the needs of about 18 people. I was the only boy of any size so had plenty of outside jobs to do. Splitting wood, carrying water out and ashes and running errands, also painting on houses when the weather permitted. We were not used to such cold temperatures as below zero and I suffered much from chilblains.
Uncle Carl was taken to hospital after Xmas and died in January that first year that we were there, leaving his widow and eight children and no money. There was also a daughter of a few months who died about that time leaving Aunt Amy with three boys and 5 girls to support. Those years very few women went to the hospital to have their babies but had a midwife come into their homes for a couple of weeks or a month until the mother was able to carry on herself. Aunt Amy did that for years and was called to most of Dr. Matheson's cases. As it was too much for all to live in one house grandfather Carl Muller sent Amy some money to buy a house. She bought a shack, one room, about 14 by 20 in size and they all moved in there. It was about two blocks from our house. Unmodern and all water had to be carried from a block away and carried out after using. Mother and Dad helped them out whenever possible with groceries etc. About July l908 my mother was expecting a baby and to our surprise twins were born. Girls Freda and Bertha. It was very hot weather and the babies got dysentery. Bertha died and it took constant care to save Freda. It was very difficult to get reliable cow's milk those days as nothing pasteurized so Dad finally bought a cow. A Red Durham named Bessie. Freda improved and did well. Bessie was such a good milker that we always had a surplus of milk. The neighbors came and bought it at 5˘ a quart. Mother was delighted with the little cash she was getting and so Dad bought another cow. I learned to milk and had to deliver the milk around the neighborhood. That winter Dad bought two more cows and we are really in the Dairy business. Within a year we had 20 or more cows milking and an old man to look after the cattle. Charles and I helped with milking and delivered the milk. The girls washed the bottles and cleaned up the milk house, which we had built annexed to the kitchen. We were the first dairy to bottle milk in Brandon. We could have sold three times the amount if we had it. Then in a year or so we moved the cattle to First Street where Dad had bought a big barn and house as there were too many cattle to keep in the city. I should mention in order to pasture about 50 head, Dad rented about 20 blocks of land close by our house and I spread the manure from the barn on this land in the winter to improve the pasture next year. After the snow had gone I was sent with another man to burn this straw off. Within a few minutes after we lit the fire a wind sprang up and it ran along this straw for blocks as the wind got stronger almost a gale. On the lower end of this field the Manitoba Government had piled thousands of new telephone poles some freshly creosoted and they caught fire. The wind carried chunks of burning poles for 4 or 5 blocks and set the driving shed at the general hospital on fire. The C.N.R. had their fire brigade out and working to keep the roundhouse from burning. They poured so much water on the flat that the water was two feet deep all over it. The Brandon fire brigade kept watch over it all night until it finally died out. The po1ice issued a summons to Dad for making a fire on not his own property and the prosecutor advised the magistrate to fine Dad as heavy as possible. I argued that it was Dad's property while he was paying rent for it. After a long delay the fine was returned and the telephone company was going sue for the loss of their poles, as they had rented a block of this land to pile their poles on but it turned out that the burned poles were on Dad's rented land and as they had only rented one block for their poles the Telephone Co got nothing. They had filled their block and then just kept on piling on our rented land. Later on Dad tried to buy these charred poles but the phone company would not have anything to do with him. So they laid there for some years. Anybody that needed a good fence pole cut himself one and took it home. After about 3 years Dad did buy what was left for $50- and had men cut them up and made about a $1000 out of the deal. Selling charcoal and fence posts.
A land boom was on in Brandon about that time - 1912. Every body was buying land and Dad got wind of forty acres in the south-east city limits owned by Mrs. Sifton, widow of the Hon. Clifford Sifton. He got an option on it for 10,000 dollars. Having no capital of his own Dad formed a syndicate with lawyer Phillips, Cloutier, a farmer and a bank clerk and himself to raise the money. Within two weeks he had sold all this property for 44,000 dollars. I remember the real estate men coming and going at all times of the day and night so at 2 a.m. Just about this time Mother gave birth to another gir1 Dorothy Amy. We were living on College Avenue at the time. A fine big house but not modern. A well was in the milk house adjoining the kitchen. Then just as quickly as the land boom had sprung up it died. J.D.McGregor who was to build a street railway cancelled his agreement with the city of Brandon and that seemed to almost kill Brandon's prospects of becoming a big city. I was still running the dairy and Dad bought a whole herd of cattle from E.J. Foster at Douglas East of Brandon. These cattle had never been milked but had run on the prairie summer and winter where they were born. There were Black Angus and pedigreed Jerseys among them as well as shorthorns and scrubs - 28 in all. Dad and one man and brother Bill drove the cattle the 28 miles or so to Brandon. They were so tired by the time they got to the Experimental farm that they left them there over night and we went out next morning and brought them in. The cattle were herded all the way as trucks were not used for that those days. In fact we did not even have a car.
None of these cows had ever been milked to my knowledge and were as wild as a deer. Most of them had never been handled and were just terrified of a human being. Some of the Black Angus were in fairly good shape and Dad sold them to a Jewish cattle dealer so as to get some ready cash, which he always needed. By this time Charles Tubbs was working and living with us so he and I were elected to rope some of these cattle. Charles being an expert cattleman and rider lassoed a big black heifer. As soon as she felt a noose tighten round her neck she went almost berserk and tore through the pasture with both of us hanging on to the rope until Charles hit a big rock and put his knee out of joint. The beast jumped the 5 strand fence and got away. She ran all the way back to Douglas but was brought back about a week later and driven to a farm Dad had bought 6 miles west of Brandon from Wm. Flaherty. The Jew Flanaky came there to get the heifer and we had her tied up in a barn for him to slaughter. As it was for Jewish consumption he had to cut its throat and dip his hand into the blood. But as he got near the beast it went into one of its tantrums bellowing and trying to get loose. Mr. Jew fled the barn but finally came back when we assured him the beast was securely tied up. I was still running the dairy in town and in the summer we usually had a surplus of milk, due to many people on holidays. So I asked Dad to get me a sow with a litter of young to use up this milk. A short time after that Dad told me 'I got you some sows.' I said 'How many?' 'You'll see' was the reply. Presently 15 sows came, all due to have litters. There were Yorkshires, Tamworths, Berkshires and one breed with a sharp nose, black and a wide belt round the middle. They could go through any fence made. We had a new fence put round the pig pasture, made by Nelson Hyde, an expert fence man, but they would just point their nose under the fence and they were through. The first sow to have her young in a snow storm - at that 11 little belted pigs. After that there were more coming almost every day - at one count I had 180 pigs on the place and nothing much to feed them. If you bought feed for all that bunch there was no money in it. I fed them milk and shorts as best I could. We sold some weaners and also used a lot ourselves but the net result was a lot of stunted pigs. Once a pig is stunted it will never make a proper porker. So, almost every Sunday we had a whole pig roasted for dinner. There were 12 or more of us so that helped some. At this same time Dad had his real estate office in town still as well as the sign painting business. He and Charles Tubbs did that work while all my time was taken up with the dairy. Every day from 4 a.m. until dark. Seven days a week. My salary $5.- a week. Later that summer our cows began to go dry because Dad turned the bull loose and they were all due to calf again in the next spring. So to satisfy the customers we bought milk from the farmers. That did not prove very satisfactory as the farmers would not take the care that is given to milk nowadays. And they were most unreliable missing days if the weather was bad etc. So to get money and meet his obligations Dad sold a cow every so often, generally taking the best cow to get a good price as beef was high then. Much to my consternation!! My sister May married Chas. Tubbs about that time and moved away from home. This was in May 1913. As the dairy had petered out I got a job as teamster with McDermitt [MJH note: or McDiarmid] and Clark, a lumber firm. Was made stable foreman shortly after and then shipper and in charge of the warehouse.
When May and Charles Tubbs married, Dad lost most of his working force as May painted most of the indoor signs right at home, such as showcards and gold lettering on glass, while Chas. and Dad did the outside work. I worked on at McDiarmid and Clark as I was promised good promotions. There was quite a boom on still and they employed about 300 men, so there was much shipping to do. I had two or three helpers in the busy season. During the summer of 1913 I met Mrs. Highgason's daughter Nita, who had just arrived from England. We became engaged and married in Oct. 1914.
While business was good, wages in Brandon were poor as it was a retired farmers' town and there was no competition, if a man got out of work there, except to go to Winnipeg. This firm also had a sash door factory as well as the lumber yard. They had contracts to supply all the doors and windows for all the rail lines of C.N.R. and Grand Trunk. It was my job to ship the correct amount along most of the branch lines to Saskatchewan and Alberta. Chas. Tubbs had applied for a job as POSTMAN and was accepted later that year. So Dad was alone doing a little painting and still running his Real estate office. He had also an agency for E.M.F. cars as they had just come on to the market. Wm. Highgason drove one as it was a new fad. He used it to deliver his orders for meat after his shop closed. I often went with him and then joy riding half the night.
All our girls were still at home except May, of course. They got jobs at various places. Some worked at Patmores and some at A.E. McKenzie's seed house. The wages at the latter were very poor. My cousins Amy and Gerty worked there. They were supposed to put up 5000 packages a day. For $3 a week or handpick weeds out of seed grain for 5˘ a bushel. Such were the wages. I worked at the Brandon Sun as "Printers devil" for $3.- per week, 10 hours a day and 6 days a week. My job was to clean the type and presses, a real dirty job and deliver parcels also.
In August l914 the war broke out in Europe. Most people thought it would be over in a few weeks at most but it dragged on and on. At the factory of McDiarmid and Clark we had huge orders for shell boxes of different sizes and the factory was really humming. But the wages were not any better and Reg McDiarmid who was president of the company at that time pleaded hard times when we asked for more money. At the same time he bought himself the first Cadillac with self starter to come to Brandon. Our first son was born in Sept.22d, Walter. There was much jubilation then as he was my parents first grandchild. Our Aunt Amy was the midwife and stayed with us for about two weeks. This all happened in my sister's house on 19th Street. Chas. Tubbs had enlisted and was stationed at the fairgrounds with the 41st battalion. This unit had the job of guarding the Aliens which had been rounded up at the start of the war and were housed in the winter fair buildings. As the war progressed the feelings ran very high due mostly to war propaganda and life was almost unbearable for many of us. A1though Dad was a naturalized citizen he was subject to much abuse. His business went all to pieces and he seldom went into the city at all. He spent his days at home on First Street looking after the garden and a cow and growing mushrooms, with various success. There was a Scandal sheet of a newspaper called the Searchlight, edited by Fred Cox with whom I had worked at the Brandon Paper some years ago. When the Lusitania was sunk he had an article in his paper saying when the news was put on the bulletin board my father stood there and clapped his hands saying "it was good for them.". There was not a bit of truth in any of that as Dad had not been in town for weeks. We only about this by chance and because a mob of angry men had organized a gang to tar and feather my dad. Chas. Tubbs, who was a corporal by that time, was sent home with his rifle to protect our home on First Street. I went home also with my wife and took my gun along. The police took action too and stopped the mob about 4 blocks from our house on First Street. For many weeks after that a policeman slept in our house at night. Both my Mother and my wife were pregnant at the time. Mother's baby was born on July 4th (Kathleen) and our baby, Walter, on Sept. 22nd. So Aunt Kathy and nephew Walter were 10 weeks apart. They both progressed well.
The war dragged on and as a result Mother did not get the coupons from her bonds as they were City of Berlin 3˝%. There was no communicating with Germany, of course. We had no word from our German relations for years at a time. Grandfather died some time in 1913 and we more or less lost contact with the family until long after the war when Uncle Fritz again wrote to my father and later to me. I am greatly indebted to uncle for the information contained in the first part of the genealogy.
As my family was getting bigger I realised I must have a better paying job than I had with McDermitt and Clark. I had at times railway men working with me and listened to the money they were making and so tried to hire on with the C.N.R. Supt. Culiffe asked me how many children and advised me to stay where I was. This was in 1916 and it was a poor crop year. I did not realize how the work on the railway fluctuated from week to week However I tried again to hire on in 1918 and was accepted. Passed the doctor and sent to Regina to work. This all came about really by a fluke. The chief clerk, who hired me, said "Who in Hell sent you up here". I said Cameroon and Moore so he had me make out applications for a brakeman's job. About a week later they called me at midnight to go to Regina to work. I had only made one trip out of Brandon. On arrival in Regina I got off at the station along with another fellow who was also going to work there. We started to look for the C.N.R. and were told it was two miles up the track. So we ate and then started up to the North Yard. The yardmaster was standing on the platform and asked us if we were the brakemen from Brandon and really blew his top because he had figured we would be on the passenger train #5. Regina to Prince Albert. He had ordered an engine crew and had a conductor waiting to take a train to Kipling and had to cancel these men as they could not go without a full crew. However we got started the next day with Dinty Moore and Red Otterson as my mate. A more cantankerous pair it would be hard to find. We lived right in the caboose and life was anything but pleasant. I missed my family very much by being away from home but there was nothing doing as the Spanish flu was very bad and they were desperately short of men. So I finally sent for Nita and the children to come to North Regina. I had rented a house there, close by the yard. The people there - all railway employees - made us very welcome. Especially so the Babcocks and Timmish's. I made paychecks like I had never seen before. Over a hundred for two weeks whereas the best I had before was $15. for a week at the factory.
I got lots of work due to the shortage of men and the Flu. The pay checks were all good and it was a pleasure to have enough money to go around for all the necessities of the family. That first winter was a tough one as there was a fuel shortage. You had to pay your money two weeks in advance in order to get a half ton of coal. It was a good thing the railway yard was so close because if we ran short we helped ourselves to some of the company coal. Later on my brother Bill and his pal Arnold Charles came to live with us as we had plenty of room in that 2 storey house which I had rented for $10.- a month. There was a standpipe about a ˝ block from our house and all water had to be carried from there. The yardmaster's house was about another half block farther away and there was plenty of steaming hot distilled water there in the winter for the taking. This was very convenient especially on washdays. Brother Bill and Arnold soon found jobs and were good company for Nita and helped with chores when I was away on the road. As the house was situated about 4 blocks from the bus line, it was a hard job to walk that distance in wet weather due to the sticky nature of the soil. Sometime later my Father also came to look for work in Regina and Bill moved out. Dad got a job with Imperial Oil as signpainter and he traveled around the province painting the storage tanks with the Imperial Oil trademark. It was the first time Dad had worked for wages having always been in business for himself, previously. The winter was very severe next time and Dad was caught in a real blizzard at the Imp. Oil plant and could not get home. One of the managers invited him to his house and gave him a meal and even pyjamas to sleep in and made him very welcome. I was out on the road and stuck in the snow at Kipling and did not get home for 4 days. As is usual at this time of year there is a big reduction in crews. So I was put on the spareboard. However I got plenty of work as a switchman and extra man on passenger. The trips to Winnipeg paid about 33.- for a night's work and coming back I deadheaded and slept all the way. Sometimes made three trips in a week. On one occasion I was surprised to be put in the baggage car as expressman and had to handle large amounts of money. This was all because the One-Big-Union was on strike in Wpg. Things were really hectic there with strikers clashing with police. After a lot of argument I was deadheaded home and refused further calls on that run as I did not want to be called a strikebreaker. Yet our union was not officially on strike and there were bulletins from our union not to refuse a call. The strike spread all over the CNR system while the CPR kept working. The result was that there was no work for me. By this time Dad had brought the family to Regina and was doing some painting on his own as he had left the Imp. Oil. Dad had then bought a big house on Rae Str. #1528. He rented part of a garage close by and we painted signs and cars there. Later on that summer work improved and I got a lot of work on work trains. Brother Bill was with the Canadian Oil and was later transferred to Wrayburn. He had married in 1922 at a double wedding with Margaret and Tom Sambrook. Bill's wife was Lily Stone, a very charming lassie. I was not present at the wedding as I was on the road and delayed getting home on account of a snowstorm. Nita however was there with some of the children. We had three by that time and were living at 863 Princess Street, an unmodern house. Our dear mother was fairly well most of the time, but bothered with neuralgia a great deal, especially in the winter.
Business with Dad was very erratic especially in the winter. In his travels he had noticed the huge bunches of jack rabbits running on the prairies. They were in bunches by the thousand and I have seen them running on the fields you would think the whole field was moving. So Dad got the idea he could ship them to Germany as they were always short of meat there and rabbits were a great delicacy. He put an ad in the paper that he would buy any amount at 15˘ each. Within a week they arrived by the hundred and even offered to supply by the carload. Then Dad found out that they had to be shipped in refrigerated holds and ships. So in the long run he was stuck with thousands of jack rabbits and when spring came had to have them hauled away to the incinerator as they thawed out. Later on he opened a filling station on the next corner almost to our house. At that time the gas pumps sat right on the sidewalk and the cars were supplied right there. Business prospered because with every purchase he gave a good cigar. So many just bought one gallon at a time. The gas had to be paid for on delivery but the Imp. Oil brought him barrels of lubrication oil on credit and when time came to pay he did not have the money. So they bankrupted him and he lost everything. I was working at Saskatoon at the time and did not know anything about it until it was all over. The sheriff practically gave things away for a tenth of their value. That went for office furniture and some household articles too. The musical Xmas tree stand went and we have never been able to trace it. So Dad decided to move to Spokane on the advice of Winfield Peters who had married Rose. I bought a lot of the fine silverware which Mother had received as wedding presents also cashed a lot of her German bond coupons hoping to cash them at some future date (I still have some of them). All they are good for is souvenirs and I have given most of them away. The family settled in Spokane but Edith stayed in Regina working at J.I. Case Co. The three girls went to school: Freda, Dorothy and Kathy, later on got jobs of various kinds. Dad bought a nice house overlooking the Spokane River and Mother was very happy in it. My family and I visited them there in the summer of 1927. The next year Mother died of a tumor. I went there again with Nita and Allen for the funeral. Edith married Bryan Lynch about that time in Regina. Later moving to Crane Valley where Bryan bought a law practice. Later moving to Rouleau and then to Regina.
The big depression and drought struck Saskatchewan about 1932. The grasshoppers came by the millions and ate everything green and there was no crop to amount to anything - and no work for me. I took whatever work was available such as painting houses and getting the odd trip on the road. In the fall I went to Biggar to work for a short while, but came home again when that work stopped. So in the spring of 1934 bought a farm at Edenwold so as to feed my family at least. To go on relief was out of the question for me. We moved there in April during a big dust storm so bad we would not see two feet ahead of the car at times. However we got the crop seeded with the good help of neighbor Joe Radmacher. We only had 35 acres in wheat and I paid 1.44 for the seed, got 48˘ in the fall. I had also bought 5 milk cows, hoping to ship milk but the creamery would not take it. Nobody had money to buy it. There also were 5 calves and 4 horses but we had no feed for them. We had lots of milk for the family and made our own butter and cheese. Put in a big garden and planted 5000 cabbages as our grocer said he would buy them later on.
I was most surprised that my wife liked living on the farm. The spring was beautiful there. The house was surrounded by a lilac hedge and large poplar trees. It was like Paradise, but not for long. There was no rain for two months and we had frost in July that froze the potatoes in the ground. We went to town to visit Nita's doctor. He said she was in good shape for an operation and phoned the hospital right away to have a bed ready for her. She needed an operation which had been put off for years. So I had to go home without her. It meant I had to do the housework, cooking and breadmaking as well as farmwork. The boys were not at school them and they all pitched in and helped. The Saskatoons were ripe about that time and we picked lots of them as we had no other fruit. I even dried them for currants. I also made a fruit loaf with them but it was rather blue inside. The boys all loved the bread as it was made with skim milk and tasted like cake. We shot some ducks and prairie chickens to help the meat supply. I traded a 160 lb calf to the local butcher for 40 lbs of beef to take out as needed. There were no frigs those days and it was a problem to keep foodstuff in the hot weather. Nita, my wife, was in hospital 3 weeks and then I finally brought her home by train. The doctor said she could not stand the carriage. I had to hire a woman to look after my wife until she got strong enough to look after herself. The woman got $8.- a month and her board.
One day about that time Geo. Dash drove into our yard and said "How are you doing?" "Pretty tough", I replied. He wanted me to paint his house. I could not see my way clear just then, but went a week later. Nita was getting along fairly well by this time and the boys were doing the chores and the milking. I went to town and talked to the Yardmaster and went to bed in the caboose that was tied. Went to work painting George's house. Mrs Dash was all kindness and gave me my lunch every day. Then one day when I was up on the roof painting the call boy came round looking for me to go to Northgate on an emergency call. I was gone 3 days and made over 80 dollars. What a blessing about that time - CASH which was so scarce on the farm. I'll never forget Geo. and Mrs. Dash's kindness as long as I live. I got several more calls before I finished painting. I used to go home on week-ends and one time brought Allen back to Regina with me. The CNR policeman noticed the light in the caboose and finally invited us over to his place for breakfast. I finished painting the house and earned 50˘ an hour while doing it. That was good wages then.
While Nita was in hospital we visited her every Sunday and one Sunday a big rain-storm broke out while we were away. It filled all sloughs to over flowing. That was the only rain we had in 4 months. At the same time while we were at the hospital the cattle broke through the fence and ate all of the 5000 cabbages. Work on the railway picked up bit by bit and went to Biggar to work as the crop in the North was being harvested. But we had a big snowstorm about 22nd of Sept. (Walter's birthday) which brought everything to a stop. It snowed so heavy that the chickens could not get home and the boys had to go out with a lantern and hunt for them in the snow. They could see their red combs sticking out and got the most of them. There were over a hundred. Later we killed a lot of them and got 35˘ each dressed. There was over a foot of snow. I came back from Biggar and decided to sell the farm, at the end of October, as Walter wanted to go to B.C. to seek his fortune. As there were no boys big enough to handle the farm.
I had rented the big house to a milkman for a year on lease so gave the people in the small Princess Street house notice to move. We were rather crowded but managed and were once more in a modern house. Walter went to B.C. with his pal Geo. King. Charlie and May made the boys very welcome and let them live in their place at Brentwood, batching and enjoying the great outdoors very much.
As the whole land of South Saskatchewan and North Dakota was so hard hit by the drought we got lots of work hauling feed from the North to the South and across the line. It was a bad winter. Much bitter cold and blizzards for days at a time. Winter of 1934-5. When spring came there was no more work to look for until next harvest. So I got a few jobs painting houses again. The 1935 crop looked promising until the black rust hit it. There was lots of straw but no grain in the heads. A lot of farmers moved away. Mostly north with government assistance. The depression was getting worse all the time. Farm products were worst hit by prices. I sold 3 good heifers weighing 800 lbs each for 1˝ ct a lb. They were coming two years old. Real choice. This depression lasted until 1938 when the war was declared then work picked up immediately. There was a visit from the Queen and King and just at that time a big rainstorm broke washing out the tracks in places. But it ended the drought. The following years were much better and I had steady work on the railway. In 1952 I got a job in Vancouver and Nita and I moved there. All the boys were married by this time. My job was on the Super-Continental and I liked the work fine. Nita had a lot of arthritis about 1956 and so I bid back to Regina finally, much to my regret we moved back in April 1957. I worked on the Dayliner between Regina and Saskatoon until October '57 and then asked for my pension. We stayed in Regina 3 years after that but as Nita was getting no better sold the house and moved here to Victoria.
The boys followed us here Allen came in '61 - Sydney about '64 Paddy '65 and Walter about '68. Paddy (Ralph) died in July 1973 of cancer. It was a big blow to me and the others. His family lives here still. About 1965 my brother Bill and wife moved here also. We all were happy to have them here. My sister May also lives quite close to me and we see each other almost daily.
[text transcribed by M J Harte 7 Aug 2001 with changes only to obvious typing errors]