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Local History Book TOC: Spitzee Days by Bert Sheppard - High River - Foothills

Contributed for use in Alberta Digital Archives by Leslie Yeager


Foreward- pg. 3

The word Spitzee was derived from the Blackfoot word Isptisi meaning high. The Blackfoot called this
section of the country Ispitsi due to the tall Cottonwood or Balm of Gilead trees that grew along the
river bottoms, and the fact that near the present town when the river overflowed its banks, some of the
water ran down the Little Bow.  So it came to pass that the river became known as High River, or
Highwood River, and the town, that was originally referred to as The Crossing, due to the fact that the
Macleod Trail crossed the river at that point, became High River.

The first section of Spitzee Days gives a brief rundown of the High River country, the Stony Indians, the
ranching industry, the growth of the town and the changing countryside due to the great influx of settlers
during some of the early years of the century, also the experiences of Dr. Stanley and Bob Edwards when
they arrived in High River, when it was still an unadulterated "Cow Town".

The second section is made up of short stories of the people that hung around, how they lived, worked and
played; happenings and viewpoints gleaned from early issues of the High River Times and stories of the
advent of the automobile, the airplane, the radio,and the decline of horse power as a mode of transportation,
and motive power. A few of these happenings I saw take place, other events were related to me through the
years by old time residents of the district, people that I knew to be reliable. The illustrations were done by
the budding cowboy artist, Rich Roenisch.  The photographs were obtained from many sources.

The composite of both sections, an insight into a bygone and distant age.

Contents: page 5
Dedication  1
Foreward  3
Introduction  8
High River Pioneers  11
The Stony Indians  12
Early High River  19
The Prairie Fire of 1901  25
May Storm of 1903  25
Doctor Stanley  25
Bob Edwards  27
Reverie  39
The Great Influx  42
Bob Edwards Soliloquizes  53
Life at Cottonwood  53
North West Mounted Police  58
Old Ridge in the River  59
High River Trading Co.  60
Dr. Stanley Reminisces  62
Thomas Baird  67
The Way It Was  69
Chinook Wind Theories  71
The Lineham Lumber Co.  71
The 15th Light Horse  94
The Drag is Fascinated  96
The Drag Salutes the Bloods  99
The Band  99
Trapper Hill  100
The Blacksmith Shops  103
The Fires of 1910  105
Mr. Usher Shot Valuable Dog  110
The High River Club  112
The Old West  116
The First Car  118
Has No Use for Motors  126
The First Speeding Ticket  127
Buying Broncos  127
The 1912 Stampede  128
Wakes Slough  134
Great Dissolution Sale  137
Fun and Games  141
The Circus  141
The Town Herd  143
Sleigh Bells  146
Police Court  146
An Impudent Jap  149
He Should be Punished  152
Pig Tails  152
The Wildcats  153
Polo  156
Herbie Jones  159
Mrs. Rankin  164
Gambling  165
Jack Freeman & His Turkey Shoot  167
History Repeats Itself  170
The Fire Brigade  175
Comet Disappointed Us  178
Dave's Water Tower  178
A Serious Offence  181
The Boy Scouts  181
Mrs. Boole  190
Wybrow Shoots up the Court  191
Murder  191
Several Were Fined  192
The Pest House  194
Getting after the Gypsies  195
The Fish Wardens  199
Prohibition  200
D Company 137th Battalion  C.E.F.  205
The Hard Winter of 1919-20  215
Shakerley's Shires  217
The English Corner  222
Our Neighbour Many Rabbits Brown  223
Edward Prince of Wales  229
St. Aidans  241
High River Airport  249
High River Hockey Club  249
The Appendicitis Epidemic  252
The Rodeo Boys  259
The Threshing Crews  259
High River Agriculture Society  262
The Highwood Trail  277
The Great Changeover  278

Page 8- Introduction

Bert Sheppard was born on a Spitzee Ranch, when cattle ranching was Southern Alberta's main industry.
His parents were early pioneers, and Bert received his early schooling in High River, and his higher education
from the back of a horse.

Spitzee country was peopled with many top cattlemen and horsemen, and at every opportunity young Bert
worked with and for those men, acquiring skills that made him one of the best bronco-busters and cowboys
in the country.

In 1924, he bought some Hereford breeding stock, and soon his fine Herefords were recognized from east to west.

At the time of his father's death in 1934, he bought the Riverbend place. In 1939, along with R.M. Patterson of
the Buffalo Head Ranch and the Bews brothers of the Y Cross Ranch, The TL Ranch on Sullivan Creek was
purchased, Bert acquiring the central part where the buildings were situated.

In 1950 when Kink Roenisch and Bill Ardern bought the OH Ranch, Bert was hired to manage it. In 1957, he sold
the TL and his cattle. 1961 found him as a partner in  the OH, Bert and Doug Kingsford buying out Mr. Roenisch. In
1963, he retired from active management.

A quiet, sensitive person, Bert has made a practice of observing, listening and remembering. He has taken time
from his ranch life to put these stories down on paper, unvarnished and unabridged.

The High River Historical Committee

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