Saskatchewan Gen Web Project - SASKATCHEWAN AND ITS PEOPLE by JOHN HAWKES Vol 1I 1924




To write in detail of the smaller schemes would need a volume. Some of them had a fair measure of success; others were failures. Some were well-conceived; in others there was a speculative element. For instance there was a colony devoted to temperance and the company appears to have incorporated as a colonization "society" and not nominally as a company. A man named Fairfield put money into it and refused to pay any further sum, on which the society sued him in Ontario courts. Chief Justice Gait in giving judgment for Fairfield said the company had in- duced subscribers to take stock by false representation by saying they had obtained several million acres of land from the Dominion Government in the North West, when as a matter of fact they had got none. He held that the contract had been induced through fraud, misrepresentation and deceit, because the "Society" had been distinctly informed by the Minister of the Interior that they could not have the privileges asked for. He therefore ordered that the contract be set aside, and the defendant receive back the amount he paid in the first instance with costs. Many of these settlements, however, were free from the mercenary element. The great need of most of them for a long time was railroads. For instance the Montreal or Sumner colonists between Whitewood and Yorkton went in expecting a railway in a year or two. The leader of the colony, Mr. James Sumner, one of nature's noblemen, waited sixteen years for the road, and died without seeing it. Those people waited about twenty years instead of one or two. Life in these remote colonies, although not free from hardships, was on the whole pleasant. An excellent idea of life will be found in the interesting accounts given by Mrs. Christina Willey of life at Sumner Colony and Miss Pierce of Cannington Settlement. There was a colony of three or four hundred Dakotans at Sheho in the Beaver Hills which dwindled to a few because of disappointment in the non-arrival of the promised railroad. Some of these people actually brought in scrapers with which to work on the grade. Those who remained did exceedingly well. There was fine timber for buildings and fuel, good grazing for cattle and the only complaint we heard made was that owing to the woods the cows sometimes were not easy to find. Reckless statements were often made to induce immigration and in the long run these misrepresentations lost more immigrants than they gained.

The Colonization Companies undertook as part of the condition on which they earned the lands to place 128 settlers on each township, but after the collapse of the Manitoba boom, immigration went flat, and they found it practically impossible to fulfil this requirement. In addition there was a strong feeling against this disposal of large blocks of land. In the fall of 1884 representatives of most of the defaulting companies met in Toronto, and made certain representations to the Minister of Interior, which resulted in the cancellation of the contracts on terms. An agree- ment was reached under which the Montreal and Western Land Company north of Whitewood received 24,580 acres for sixty-four settlers. It had paid in cash about $17,000 and was entitled to rebates which brought their credit up to nearly $50,000.

The York Farmers Colonization Company, Yorkton, placed 164 set- tlers and received 51,358 acres. The Dominion Lands Company, File Hills, for 143 settlers received 56,672 acres and scrip for $33,586. The Primi- tive Methodist Colony, Crescent Lake, northeast of Broadview, for 104 settlers, got about 36,000 acres. The Temperance Colony, Saskatoon, placed 101 settlers and received 100,000 acres. The Touchwood and Qu'Ap- pelle Company placed 96 settlers and received 48,300 acres. There were a number of other companies which had placed less than fifty settlers, and they received a few thousand acres. Yet other companies had ex- pended money but had not placed any settlers, and they received sums from four to eighteen thousand dollars apiece to recompense them for their actual outlay. Altogether these wretched failures in colonization became (according to Dr. Black, who examined the records at Ottawa) the possessors of 438,000 acres and scrip in addition to the value of $375,518. Bibliography follows:

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