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Leduc household celebrates one hundredth anniversary of wagon that introduced their household to Canada

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Lowell Ross was 12 years previous when he first heard the story of his household’s five-month journey from Spokane, Wash., to Leduc in 1923.

On Saturday, family members got here collectively to rejoice the one hundredth yr anniversary on the Leduc West Vintage Society’s annual exposition parade the place they showcased the wagon that introduced his household to Canada.

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The story of his grandmother Maud Calloway’s journey together with his two teenage aunts, his mom Gwendolyn Calloway Ross — who was solely three on the time, 25 cattle and a wagon has been a narrative informed many instances at household gatherings.

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In 1922 Maud Calloway mentioned to her husband, P.B. Calloway., they need to transfer their household to Alberta for a contemporary begin. Whereas in Washington the household had a house, indoor plumbing and a farm however Maud Calloway had grow to be entranced by the greenery in Thorsby when her and her husband visited.

That winter P.B. Calloway transformed a farm wagon right into a prairie schooner — fastening iron hoops throughout the highest to help the canvas cowl. The wagon was geared up with a single bunk and a cream separator was mounted within the entrance nook together with a compact wooden range for cooking.

“The wagon field was constructed out over the wheels to maximise ground area and each spare inch was used for storage,” mentioned Edith Clouston, Maud’s daughter, in a letter.

Whereas her husband was away tending his final crop earlier than the transfer to Leduc, Maud Calloway determined to get a head begin and made the choice to journey to Leduc earlier than him. In June 1923 she, her two teenage daughters Helen and Edith — who rode on horseback — and her three-year-old daughter Gwendolyn started their arduous five-month journey to their new dwelling.

I believe among the fundamental challenges is simply this tedium,” mentioned Ross. “The factor I decide up on is that these teenage ladies, despite the fact that robust and decided as they have been, I believe after a month of travelling as a result of this was a brand new expertise for them, they appeared sort of burned out.

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Alongside the best way, the cows needed to be milked twice a day and the cream was both used to barter for meals and lodging or generally shipped again to Spokane. Within the evenings the mosquitoes have been mentioned to be horrible, particularly in northern Idaho. Generally the cattle would take off, stampeding away for some reprieve. Ross mentioned his aunts must struggle to get the cows again on the highway.

“The worst day they’d was a few nine-mile stretch and so they mentioned, “Properly not too unhealthy for a 39-year-old mom and teenage ladies and cattle,” mentioned Ross.

The ultimate a part of the journey from Kingsgate to Leduc was by prepare with the wagon, cattle and different belongings loaded onto rail automobiles. They arrived many weeks later in Leduc the place they stayed with their uncle. On Halloween evening 1923, the Calloways have been reunited with P.B. Calloway who was coming in from Spokane together with Helen Calloway, who had returned to her father partway by means of the journey to assist with the harvest.

For years the wagon sat on the Calloway property in Leduc. Ross mentioned it was a “dilapidated playhouse for the children.” Through the years the wagon started to deteriorate till the early 2000s when his mom determined to fund the restoration.

On Saturday, 28 members of the Calloway household got here to rejoice their historical past throughout the parade. As a part of the one hundredth yr anniversary, the household learn out an account of the story informed by Edith and Gwendolyn, Ross’s late aunt and mom.

“The parade was fulfilling as a result of if mother was alive she would have been more than happy that we continued the household custom and that we had the respect for this historical past,” mentioned Ross. 

I believe it’s fulfilling to know that we put some effort into it so the subsequent technology will notice this can be a important factor.”

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