We homesteaded at Ootsa Lake 72 years ago

It’s hard to realized that fall is sneaking up on us. There is a little more bite to the breeze, makes us wonder where has summer gone.

Hugh Neave.

Hugh Neave.

It’s hard to realized that fall is sneaking up on us. There is a little more bite to the breeze, makes us wonder where has summer gone. Wood, hay and the garden have to be taken up. It was a good summer but it still is a bit shorter than we like.

On the prairie we would be combining our threshing, a great time but a busy time. We always looked forward to threshing time. it’s now many years ago when we watched the first combine at work.

Our neighbour Volney York had it working. It was huge compared to the present ones. It was being pulled by 20 head of horses all pulling together. Six head on wagons hauling the grain.

Mrs. York was driving the horses and Volney was on the combine. All the horses were well broke to work. It was very interesting. The combine would do away with the threshing machine, and they did.

Years later at a homecoming, a 35 year celebration, I bumped into one of the York boys and we talking about the combine and the 20 horses pulling it. He started to laugh as he said dad got a tractor, the horses were just too much work and I could understand that.

Our moving to B.C. was the best thing that ever could happen to our family. Although Saskatchewan was our home and it was hard to leave behind. Our box car landed in Burns Lake mid September 1941 so we pastured our horses and cow and calf in Mat Nourse’s pasture and stored all our furniture in his big feed store.

Mat Nourse and Andy Anderson became our wonderful friends for as long as they lived. They more or less took our family under their wing.

They made things much easier for the situation we had got our selves into. Our destination was Marilla on the east end of Ootsa Lake. Dad made a deal to haul our furniture etc. to our new home. Andy Anderson was in the trucking business and would haul it for us.

My dad and Andy talked it over and Andy told dad this was a bad deal something was not right, check things our before you move, thank heavens we did. Early the next morning we loaded the two wagons with the essentials.

Made the ferry the first day, Ootsa Lake the second day out on our journey to Marilla. Rested our horses at Grassy Plains and now on our way. Pulled horse killer hill which is now called Chicken Creek. Watered at Sumit Lake and took off.

Ootsa Lake came into view and what a sight. It was a picture book sight especially to a prairie boy and although he is now over 90 that sight is still in this mind. This was long before the flooding. Dad and I stopped at the Bennette house, what nice folk.

The third day we made the place we were to make our new home. This was a home, a trading post and a small ranch, of course this was before the flooding of Ootsa Lake and it was a beautiful lake, no fooling about that. Mother and brother Peter were already there and met us. Two tired people and five tired horses. It was already dark. The road was a disaster could not have been worse.

The horses were beat. As Andy Anderson had told dad this place was not for us. The owners of the property did not honour their end of the deal so after resting the teams for two days we left with bad feelings. We were told after we were not the only ones who had been mislead. On the way down we left our milk cow and calf at VanTine’s as the road was just too rough.

On the way out we stayed at VanTine’s, they made us so welcome. Then at Bergen’s for a week and then Francois Lake that was to be our home. For our lifetime, and it’s been a wonderful lifetime a story book, Mat Nourse and Andy Anderson never told us “We told you so.” But they did say we are glad to see you back home. We took over the Francois Lake store and post office October the first 1941 and I started a taxi service in 1946.

On that trip we had many trials and tribulations and maybe some day in the near future I will write it up. It ended up a trip of a lifetime as I look back over my life.

How well I remember my first sight of Ootsa Lake, it’s now 72 years in September with almost a lifetime of living.

A three day wagon trip from Burns Lake to Marilla behind a team of horses.

Our dear friend

We had some sad news last week with the passing of one member of our pioneer families, Jimmy Tourond. He leaves his loving wife and family. Jimmy was a guide that had spent his whole life in the Nadina and the head of Francois Lake country.

He was a man who was so well known for his guiding ability. He knew his guiding area like the palm of his hand. Our thoughts go out to his family at this very sad time. May you have happy hunting from your old friend Hugh.

Grand opening

On Saturday last there was called a major face lift to the Trout Creek Hall. There was a large crowd gathered to celebrate the renovation of the Trout Creek Hall. It’s just like new, no doubt the Trout Creek folks will be very proud as it’s had a complete new lease on life for many more years.

There is so much history to this should I say landmark. The hall was built in 1932 so that makes the original building over 80 years young. What stories it could tell. It was built by the members of the finish settlement who made their homes here. They were a great people, so friendly. There were lots of dances held and Christmas concerts and well known for its New Years Eve dances and parties.

I well remember playing for many dances now so long ago but remain fresh in my memory. The folks were so friendly and a pleasure to be with. Some times I would join up with the Cowan brothers and play for their dances. They were great guys to be with.

Always keep in mind whatever the future holds for you.

God loves you and so do I. This is something that is always with us no matter what.