By 1911 the Government opened a large territory of land in Saskatchewan. 320 acres of open prairie land could be had for the sum of $5.00 with provisions that a small house be built, a few acres broken each year and a minimum of three months living on the land each year for three years. After that they could apply for another 350 acres for the same price.
This looked like a fantastic deal to my parents so with high hopes they travelled on an immigrant train to the west. They stopped over in Winnipeg and were warmly received by friends from Lewis and felt much happier about the journey ahead.
My father settled the family in a small house in Gull Lake, then quite a thriving little town, and went to see what he could do about building a shack on his new homestead. He took a job in the local livery stable. There were two such in the town and they did a lively business.
No cars those days! He was able to borrow horses and a wagon and hauled supplies out to the farm. There wasn’t even a road out there so it was a long drive, ten miles, over rough places. He finally put up a small shack of lumber and covered on the outside with heavy, black tar paper which was attached to the wall with flat round metal discs and a sharp nail. Some tedious job getting that lot done.
Anyway, came the day to move the family out for their three months stay. With the three young ones, my sister Annabelle wasn’t quite a year old and my mother was pregnant with Johnnie. They didn’t have much to take out, just the bare necessities and it was a very windy day.