Origins of the Name: Fairlight, Saskatchewan, Canada. The relationship to Fairlight, East Sussex, England.

Origins of the Name: Fairlight, Saskatchewan, Canada

The relationship to Fairlight, East Sussex, England

Fairlight UK and the links with other Fairlights in Australia, New Zealand and Canada by Haydon Luke. (Part 1)

Fairlight, Saskatchewan, Canada is located south of Saskatchewan Highway 48 and west of Saskatchewan Highway 8 situated east of the capital city of Regina by about 250 kilometers (150 miles), north east of the city of Weyburn (194 km, 120 mi) and 187 km (116 mi) south of the city of Yorkton. Moose Mountain Provincial Park is to the south west, the provincial boundary between Manitoba and Saskatchewan is to the west and Cannington Manor Provincial Historic Park are south of Fairlight. Geographically, the area is part of the Saskatchewan Plains Region, specifically the Gainsborough Plain noted for its prairie potholes or kettles, moraines and glacial till left behind by a glacial lake, Lake Agassiz. Rich loamy black soils make for a fertile and abundant agricultural land in this aspen parkland. To the north of Fairlight is Pipestone Creek, Little Pipestone Creek and Stoney Creek, to the south is Gainsborough Creek.

Though the 2011 census places the village of Fairlight population at 40 residents, Fairlight reached over 200 at one time. The community of Fairlight is situated on 2.71 square kilometers (1.0463 mi2, 271ha )

Into this fruitful and proliferant land lived the Saulteaux First Nation who were joined by immigrants entranced by the new land ripe and luxuriant. Fairlight received its first postmaster, Henry (Harry) Hyde who hailed from Fairlight, Sussex, England. Hyde graced the post office with a name in honour of his home town according to Bill Barry in Geographic Names of Saskatchewan.

Views of Fairlight, Saskatchewan
Click on image for larger view
Courtesy British Library, a "Picturing Canada" project

The Canadian North West Land Company, land colonization firm, arose in late 1883 and did extensive advertising in England as well as Scotland. Settlements sprang up from entrepreneurs in the area near Fairlight, Saskatchewan - the Lady Cathcart settlers from Scotland (1882), Baroness Burdett-Coutts settlers from London, England, and Cannington Manor from Manchester, England (1882). The New Jerusalem Jewish colony arose in 1882, Hepner, Klenman and Barish Jewish settled near Wapella starting in 1886, St. Andrews and Benbecula Scottish colonies arose near Moosomin in 1883, and the East London Artisan English Colony arose in 1884 north of Moosomin.

A major red river cart trail was the Moose Mountain Trail which also went by the name "Coach Trail" and "Winnipeg Trail". Moose Mountain Trail connected Fort Ellice, Manitoba (east) and Wood Mountain (south west). A major trail to the north of the community was the Fort Ellice - Fort Qu'Appelle trail. These trails existed until the early 1900s conveying fur traders, and first nations to Hudson Bay Company and North West Trading Company trading posts, the economy of the nineteenth century. (These same trails were later used by the early immigrants in search of their homestead travelling beyond the end of the rail line.) Moose Mountain trading post was established in 1860 (south west of Fairlight), and there were several along both banks of the Qu'Appelle River north of Fairlight. The trading posts faded away completely by 1920 as villages and settlements sprang up with their own general stores and rail lines opened up improvements in commerce.

On arrival to the plains, early adventurers made a trip of exploration which might have taken several weeks to find proper surroundings to establish where he might live. Hence, he would make application at the nearest provincial land titles office a homestead. Then, the next step would be to travel back the site of the land they listed on the application. Government surveyors dug holes at the corner of a section of land. The dirt from these dug outs was piled into a mound into which an iron stake was pounded which bore the number of the section of land. After finding these stakes settlers needed to measure out one half mile from the stakes and mark the edges of their quarter section or 160 acre farm. The stakes were no higher than the surrounding grass on the plains, which was akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. The homestead filing fee was $10.00 for males (British subjects) over eighteen years of age or for widows who were the sole head of her family. Additionally those arriving from Europe needed to purchase tools, implements and supplies upon arrival in the North West Territories and secure horse and wagon or ox and cart to pull agricultural implements, pick up supplies, and transport grain to market.

Map of Fairlight and Heather, Saskatchewan
School District maps and Rand McNally map
Click on map for larger view.

Shelter was a definite pre-requisite to survival on arrival before autumn. The cold, snowy months of winter arrived in late September, early October and lasted until end of April, beginning of May. Soddies or clay houses were the first buildings raised before a frame or stone building could be constructed. These "Bachelor shacks" may be also home to married men who had left family and loved ones back home. Once a suitable home was built, then a letter was dispatched to his wife calling his family to the new country.

There is fruit from the orchard and corn from the field,
For old mother earth gives a bountiful yield;
There is light in the kitchen and fire on the hearth,
The Homestead is ready for feasting and mirth.
The Old Homestead by Ann S. Stephens.

Early land surveyors described the agricultural area as having a dark sandy loam soil with a subsoil layer of clay. Gentle rolling prairie is broken by aspen groves (Populus tremula). In the late 1800s, the land was covered with numerous boulders. The creek valleys provided woody vegetation along the northern slopes such as black poplar, birch, elm, maple, ash, burr oak, along with pincherry, chokecherry, saskatoon berry, cranberry and hazel-nut shrubbery. Pipestone Creek was reported as 20 feet across at its width, and between one to three feet deep.

Homestead records show that Harry applied for a homestead June 18, 1884, and had built a home by March of 1885. Harry Hyde who lacked "farm experience became the basis of several good-humoured tales" such as the one about digging a well. It was acknowledged that Harry certainly took care of his home and land like a gentleman, an honorable man, with gentlemanly habits, integrity and intelligence; his redeeming feature in this respect. It was later in 1884 that Harry completed a stone house, which was valued at $500.00 at the time. It is estimated that currency of a value of $500 in 1885 would have purchasing power of $12,974.75 in 2014. Another estimate places the relative value of $500.00 from 1885 in price ranges from $11,400.00 to $716,000.00 in 2013.

Having formed a principal meridian with its corresponding base line, for a district of country, the next operation of the surveyor is to divide this into tracts of six miles square, called "townships."
In numbering the townships east or west from a principal meridian, they are called "ranges," meaning a range of townships; but in numbering north or south from a base line, they are called "townships." Thus a tract of land is said to be situated in township four north in range three east, from the third principal meridian; or as the case may be.
Townships are subdivided into square miles, or tracts of 640 acres each, called "sections." If near timber, trees are marked and numbered with the section, township, and range, near each sectional corner. If in a large prairie, a mound is raised to designate the corner, and a billet of charred wood buried, if no rock is near. Sections are divided into halves by a line north and south, and into quarters by a transverse line. "
A New Guide for Emigrants to the West, by J. M. Peck

Quarter section applied for by Henry Hyde (called Harry)
NW quarter of section 28 township 11 range 31 West of the 1st meridian
Map of the Henry Hyde homestead location
Henry Hyde pre-emption
SW 28 11 31 W1
Lydia Hyde applied for the NE 32 11 31 W1 on March 14, 1889.

The book, Legacy of Stone - Saskatchewan's Stone Buildings written by Margaret Hryniuk, recounts the early experiences of settlers transporting stones, and constructing stone buildings. Co-author, Frank Korvemaker, noted that construction materials were not easy to come by as the communities were not connected by rail in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The large stones laying about in the fields made readily available free construction materials. Traditionally, a stone boat was used to transport hay bales and stones, towed by horse or oxen.

George Hyde came to live with his brother Harry in October of 1885 and stayed for at least five years. It was this year, that the North West Rebellion (March 26 – June 3, 1885) occurred in the Provisional District of Saskatchewan, NWT. General Sir Frederick Middleton assembled 3,000 troops and headed west through Winnipeg to QuAppelle (just west of Fairlight 202 km, 126 mi) via the Canadian Pacific Railway and then trekking north 410 km (254 mi) to the theatre of battle near Batoche and Fort Carlton. The skirmish took place north west (605 km, 380 mi) of the Fairlight district, (provisional district of East Assiniboia), however tensions were high.

The first meeting of the Pipestone Cricket Club was held June 3, 1887, they met on Saturday afternoons to practice, and H. Hyde was one of the members. A mixed community they were, drawn from many corners, but they were filled with enthusiasm, with resourcefulness, an indomitable determination to face and overcome all obstacles enjoying the full prosperity of the settlement in comraderie and friendship.

There is something frank and joyous and young in the open face of the country. It gives itself ungrudgingly to the moods of the season, holding nothing back. Like the plains of North-West, it seems to rise a little to meet the sun. The air and the earth are curiously mated and intermingled, as if the one were the breath of the other. You feel in the atmosphere the same tonic, puissant quality that is in the tilth, the same strength and resoluteness. O Pioneers!, by Willa Cather

Summer prairie fires, set alight by lightning or rail spark, raged across the grasslands devouring all in sight spread out by the wind thirty, fifty, seventy miles long. These fires leaping high into the air could be seen on the horizon approaching settlements, and instilled fear and panic. Winter snowstorms and blizzards with white out conditions resulted in lost livestock and pioneers. A think blizzard would take the life of a settler venturing out in their farm yard between barn and house without a rope for a guideline or disorient students walking to or from school. Early autumn frosts destroyed crops, spring floods caused the Souris River, and creeks to break their banks swamping farms, mosquitoes and flies, loneliness, cyclones, and drought were hardships endured by the early settler. ( Two manmade dams on Pipestone Creek creating the Pipestone Lake and Moosomin Lake have waylaid some of the spring flooding.)

It was a life of hard, persistent work - of loneliness, privation, and hardship. But it was also a life of courage, of health, of resourcefulness, of a wild, exhilarating freedom found only in God's open spaces. The Homesteaders, by Robert J. C. Stead

The climate is characterized as cold continental, dry sub-humid according to the Atlas of Saskatchewan. These means that the average July temperature is between 60 to 66 degrees Farenheit (15.5-19 Celsius), and the coldest month, January averages between plus four and minus five degrees Farenheit (-15.5 to -20.5 Celsius). The growing season averages 80 to 100 days, and farmers can expect 16 - 18 inches (420 millimeters) of precipitation annually.

The North-West Territories government passed an Ordinance in 1887 to establish Statute Labour Districts and Fire Districts, Statute Labour Districts No. 302 and 158 began in the following year dealing with road work, bridges and prairie fires. A suspension bridge was built across the Pipestone Creek north of Maryfield (northeast of Fairlight) for foot travellers.

It was in 1888, that Harry aged 27 applied for his dominion land grant patent after successfully proving up his land. (Gives an approximate birth year of 1861) Five years later (1893) he applied for a pre-emption on the southwest quarter of the same section, and was able to successfully prove it by 1900.

Land needed to be proved in order to receive land titles. Over a three year period, pioneers needed to show six months residence upon the land, distributed over the time span. A house of a $300 value needed to be raised, as well, improvements were needed such as fencing, outbuildings. Thirty acres of land were to be cultivated before the end of the three year period.

So the threshing season wore on. ... Although the work was hard and dirty it was the sort of dirt that is neither offensive nor unhealthful, and there was a certain reckless good-fellowship among the gang that made the time pass pleasantly enough... At nights the prairie was lit up with the orange-red glow of burning straw piles, their fan-shaped reflections thrust high in the heavens, while the jingle of trace-chains, the rumble of wagons, and the plaintive steam whistles which came through the gloaming from other outfits than our own brought a strange sense of the worthiness of work well done. Tired and prodigiously hungry we would attack the cook-car, and then presently crawl to our bunks and to sleep.Neighbours, by Robert Stead

The 1891 census of Canada enumerates Henry age 29 (makes a birthdate of 1862) in the same household as Lydia age 64 widowed Library and Archives 1891 census. The only George Hyde listed on the 1891 census for the North West Territories at Family Search was George A.E. Hyde aged 32 (b 1859), farmer, and operator of the General Store and is listed with five employees.

Harry Hyde's mother, Lydia, died December 27, 1893 of complications arising from Bronchitis. Lydia left as next of kin; William Hyde of Burnside shore near Guildford, Surrey, England aged 43, George Hyde, artist and cashier, of Crockett, Contra Costa County, California, U.S.A. aged 41, and Henry Hyde of Fairlight, Assiniboia, North-West Territories. (Using a birthdate of 1861, Henry was 32, and 1862 makes him 31 years of age.) According to the local historians, Hyde's wife Eva (photo) and three children arrived in 1895. It is here believed from further research and records which have come online since the publication of the book, Across border and valley : the story of Maryfield & Fairlight & surrounding districts that the photo of Eva is that of Hyde's daughter Eva. The family as it appears on the 1901 census in the appendix.

When I read of the hard times among the Denver poor, I feel like urging them every one to get out and file on land. I am very enthusiastic about women homesteading. It really requires less strength and labor to raise plenty to satisfy a large family than it does to go out to wash, with the added satisfaction of knowing that their job will not be lost to them if they care to keep it. ..To me, homesteading is the solution of all poverty's problems, but I realize that temperament has much to do with success in any undertaking, and persons afraid of coyotes and work and loneliness had better let ranching alone. At the same time, any woman who can stand her own company, can see the beauty of the sunset, loves growing things, and is willing to put in as much time at careful labor as she does over the washtub, will certainly succeed; will have independence, plenty to eat all the time, and a home of her own in the end. Letters of a Woman Homesteader, by Elinore Pruitt Stewart

Fairlight school No. 282 organised June 15, 1893. Classes began in a shack on Sec. 24-11-32 W1 until the school was built. In 1895, Harry Hyde was listed as a school trustee. A field stone school was raised by Harry Hyde in 1900, and became known locally as the Stone School. On an early school map, Harry Hyde is shown to have two children of school age. The rural school district extended in length (northern to southern boundaries) by five miles (8 km), and in breadth six miles (9.7 km). When the schoolhouse was centrally located on SE Sec. 20- Twp. 11- Rge. 31- W1, children who lived in the district would need only traipse at the most three miles (4.8 km) to school. In 1939 Fairlight School 282 changed names to Hyde School No. 282 relinquishing the name Fairlight for the school built in the village. The village school began under the name Novar School District 1630 changing names to Fairlight School No. 1630.

Presently he was talking of England; easing, perhaps the homesickness in his heart by calling up scenes of leafy lanes and misty sun-shot landscapes linking deeply into his life. He had tales of London as well; tales of art treasures and music and theatres all alight with life and beauty; tales of grave-stones marking the great of a nation with a history reaching back into the early obscurity of Western civilization. Something about the pride he showed in the great deeds of the past seemed to strike us strangely—we of a country whose history was still so much in the future and whose greatest deeds were still to be done. Neighbours, by Robert Stead

An early Rifle Association was formed in Eastern Assiniboia with Mr. Henry Hyde as president to obtain a Government Grant for rifles. There was plenty of game and food for the settlers on the plains. It was an era when the wildlife in the area was changing. The bison disappeared around 1881. Wapita (Elk), black bear, grizzly bear, mountain lion, cougar, white tailed deer populations which used to wander the water way valleys, declined in the southern areas of the province. Pronghorn antelope, mule deer, white-tailed jack rabbit, coyote, red and swift foxes, variety of fish and aquatic fauna, badger, ground squirrel, a variety of passerine birds and waterfowl, sharp-tailed grouse, partridge, Hungarian partridge, ring-necked pheasant, ruffed grouse, geese ducks, greater prairie chicken, muskrat, beaver, mink, blue heron, sandhill and whooping cranes, hawks, golden and bald eagles, ravens and turkey vultures were plentiful. Moose Mountain Provincial Park is now refuge to many of the once abundant wildlife populations. Hunting, the drought of the 1930s and the infilling of wetlands, sloughs, and diversion of waterways from dams have altered the present day natural vegetation from the late 1800s.

Map of Fairlight, Saskatchewan 1904-1907 Dominion of Canada Map
Click on map for larger view.

The nearest rail line points for homesteaders were to the north at Moosomin, Fleming or Elkhorn. The Antler - Redvers line became established in the south later (1900-1902). The Canadian Pacific Railway reached Arcola in 1899, disembarking, travellers could then venture north to the Fairlight area. A rail line connected Winnipeg to Calgary through Moosomin. Moosomin received its rails in June of 1882. An early homesteader, Henry (Harry) Hyde arrived in 1885 according to J.F. (Jack) Cawood and Hyde established the Fairlight post office July 1, 1892. It was to these rail points, the early post master needed to travel to pick up and drop off the mail. In the book, Moosomin Century One: Town and Country page 495 a note is made that Harry Hyde's farm happened to be situated "on a trail leading to the Moose Mountains and connecting with the trail to Moosomin, where he picked up the mail." A map is shown of his land and the trail. Hyde would travel into Moosomin once or twice a week to pick up and deliver the post. Moosomin was a distance of about 32 km or 20 mi to the north of Fairlight. According to The Long Riders Guild Academic Foundation a trip by horseback depends on the weather, land conditions and many other factors. However, on average 15 to 25 miles a day may be travelled, without a load, under good conditions.

Their description of the great plains, where one might look as far as the eye could carry in every direction without seeing house or tree or any obstruction of the vision, fell with all the wonder of the Arabian Nights upon the eager company. Stories of the trail, of Red River cart and ox-team, of duck shooting by the prairie sloughs, the whiff of black powder from their muzzle-loaders and the whistle of sharp wings against the sky; of the clatter of wild geese which made sleep impossible, and the yelp of prairie wolves snapping up through the darkness; of thunder and lightning, of tempest and rain, of storm and blizzard and snow and cold ~ cold that crackled in the empty heavens like breaking glass and withered the cheek like fire; of Indians, none too certain, slipping like moccasined ghosts down the twilight, or peering unexpectedly through cabin windows; of hardship and privation and strength and courage and possibilities beyond the measure of the imagination ` these fell from the lips of the favoured old-timers, punctuated with jest and prophecy and nicely-timed intervals of silence. The Homesteaders, by Robert J. C. Stead

Statute Labour Districts No. 302 and 158 evolved, and changed names to Council District 6-A-1 (also known as Local Improvement District 6-A-1) and Council District 5-A-1 respectively in 1904. The railway did not arrive until 1906. Transportation to obtain supplies or to deliver agriculture grain to market was by horse and wagon or cart and bull over prairie grass trails fording sloughs and creeks along the way. Pioneers could venture to the mills at Arcola if they needed their grain ground to flour. (Arcola to Fairlight was 69 km (43 mi) as the crow flies.) Grain distribution elevators were first established at the rail stations of Moosomin or Fleming.

Map of Fairlight, Heather Saskatchewan 1924 Rand McNally Map
Click on map for larger view.

The Province of Saskatchewan was established in 1905 out of area from the North-West Territories, and in 1909 the Local Improvement Districts were organized into Rural Municipalities and thus the Rural Municipality Maryfield No. 91 came into being for the district surrounding Fairlight. On the 2011 census, it was shown that the R.M. covers 759.63 square km (293.29 mi2, 75963 ha) with a population of 319 in 2011 distributed over the agricultural farming land around Fairlight.

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) arrived in the autumn of 1905 with the building of the Reston-Wolseley branch line. The name adopted by the railway for a rail station was that of the nearest post office in the area - Fairlight - which was operated out of the home of Henry (Harry) Hyde on the north west quarter of section 28 township 11 range 31 west of the first meridian about six miles to the north of the location of the new Fairlight Station. After the name Fairlight was used on the rail line, the rural post office changed its name to Heather.

It is interesting to note, the first baby born in the village of Fairlight, June of 1906 was named Ralph Fairlight Styker. In 1906 and 1907, the Canadian National Railway (CNR) arrived connecting Brandon, Manitoba to Regina, Saskatchewan. Now Fairlight Station was situated on the junction of these two rail lines the CPR and the CNR. The village of Fairlight Station incorporated in 1910. According to Ka-iu Fung editor of the Atlas of Saskatchewan, a locality could incorporate as a village with over 100 residents. The provincial government started Provincial Highway 16 (now named Saskatchewan Highway 48) in 1922. In March of 1955 the village name changed from Fairlight Station to Fairlight. In 1961, the Reston-Wolseley branch of the CPR closed.

"I tell is a wonderful thing to have a share in the foundation work of a nation that is going on to-day on these prairies. It's a wonderful thing to lay corner-stones of empire."... "We're getting to be quite a community. Do you ever think of the day when all this wilderness of prairie will be plowed, every foot of it; all bearing something for the world's needs, with prosperous farm houses at every corner, schools, churches~ ~"Neighbours, by Robert Stead

Researchers Ann Norgan and Freida Adamson (Book Title Across Border and Valley : the story of Maryfield & Fairlight & surrounding districts. Volume 2 page 794) say that in 1901 Robert Irwin bought up the Harry's pre-emption(SW 28), took over the post office, and purchased Harry's homestead (NW 28) about the same time. Robert Irwin filed for a homestead NE 16 11 31 in July of 1899. Irwin took over Fairlight post office north in the summer of 1901. It was reported that Hyde sold his farm to the Stewarts in around 1907 and then he moved away according to the Moosomin Century One : Town and Country local history book. The Harry Hyde homestead and location of the first post office later became the home for Alex Stewart and then Walter Skilmoski.

In the Stewart family write up from page 1087 Across Border and Valley : the story of Maryfield & Fairlight & surrounding districts. Volume 2; "Alex Stewart's dream of owning his own farm was realized when in the spring of 1920, he bought the Harry Hyde farm (28-11-31) north of Fairlight. The house was an English design cottage, built of field stone about 1890, set in beautiful groves of trees and flower beds. The farm had been sold to a Mr. Irwin who rented it out. When the Stewarts moved there, the trees planted and cared for by Mr. Hyde had reached their full growth. Many a neighbour starting out on a bare prairie farm, came there for maple, carragana, poplar, willow and lilac seedlings. The first school, two miles south, was also built by Mr. Hyde, of the same type of stone as his cottage in 1900." George Duke bought the western half of 28-11-31 in 1938 which had been the first Fairlight Post Office. Walter Skilmoski (1906-1957) married Mary Pich farmed land north of Fairlight, (land owned by Alex Stewart and his Uncle Joe) and in 1953 bought the Fairlight cafe.

Now with each opening day, each newborn hour,
The farm advances in attractive power.

... The fields are clear'd, the harvest oft has brought
That surest lesson by experience taught!
And wheat-crops sown, and plough'd the stubble land,
Teams from the farm are more at your command.
To build new homesteads, or new-roof the old,
To raise afield the hovel, or the fold,
To form the barrier 'gainst encroaching floods,
To warp the meadow, or enlarge your woods,
For each, for all, this fitting time embrace
And help the old hereditary place!
A debt of love each generation owes,
One sweet alike to feel, and to impose.
The English Country Gentleman, and Other Poems By John Lloyd

Using a birth year of 1861 for Harry Hyde, he was 40 years of age when he retired from acting as post master in 1901 and 59 years old when Alex Stewart purchased the Harry Hyde farm. Harry applied for his homestead at the age of 23 in 1884, his mother, brother, and wife joined him. He raised a family of three children and constructed two amazing fieldstone buildings. Thereafter, it is thought that Henry (Harry) Hyde retired to California according to research done by Morgan and Adamson, but there are no indications in the United States Social Security Death Index in that regard.

Who was this indefatigable person, who reclaimed the marshes in south east Saskatchewan? Who was this farmer who sowed wheat and other grains into this unknown world? Although this inquiry deals mainly with the naming of Fairlight and its origin in Fairlight, East Sussex, England, what were the poetic and magnanimous ideas of this settler who raised two magnificent field stone buildings? It was a gamble, in a country where the agricultural possibilities had not been established, where the land may only be adapted to buffalo and First Nation people.

There are no indications why Harry left England in 1884. His mother, Lydia was 62 years of age when she applied for her homestead in 1889, was listed as a widow two years later on the census in 1891 and passed away at aged 66 in 1893. What did she see in the new country? Did she think it would be a splendid undertaking to leave her country, and go further into the unknown, into the golden west of a new life? Was her family now in Canada with no ties left in England? It seems almost profane to think of her in the lonely life of a homesteader on the bleak, unsettled plains~to see her in the monotony and drudgery of the pioneer life. Whereas Harry may perhaps have steeled himself for the ordeal; schooling himself with arguments; fortressing his resolve, unconsciously, perhaps, with the picture of his own heroism in braving the unknown. Harry built his home in the wilderness, building up the land, and working towards the greatest good of his family. His home far exceeded anything on both sides of Pipestone Creek. What caused Harry to sell his homestead, retire from the post office, sell his home, and leave Fairlight?

Thoughts were with the old home, with the ideals they had cherished when they founded it, with the hardships and the sorrow, and the sickness and the pain, and the joy that had hallowed it as no other spot in all the universe ~ the place where their first love had nursed them in its tenderness, where they had sat hand in hand in the gathering dusk, drinking the ripple of the water and the whirr of the wild duck's wing; where they had gone down into the valley of the shadow and their little children had come into their arms. And it was gone. He had sold it. The Homesteaders, by Robert J. C. Stead

Fairlight, East Sussex left an indelible footprint on the soul of Harry, who honoured the memory of his birthplace when he opened the post office in the new country. With high praise and honour, the name Fairlight lived on, Harry made that evident when he bestowed it upon the beginnings of the post office, the roots of this little settlement in East Assiniboia, North-West Territories. Fairlight continued on becoming the namesake of the first railway station for these pioneers on the Canadian Pacific Railway, a name considered worthy to characterize the station house, a beacon towards a bright future for the pioneers. Here it is told, that this Canadian prairie grassland, these gently rolling hills were visited by a true gentleman from the banks of England who was not afraid of a good, honest days work enriching the new Country with many treasures which would live on long after he departed. What strikes us at once about Fairlight, East Assiniboia, North-West Territories is that it was a purely English home and post office that first rose upon the face the Canadian prairies with dignity, grace and charm.

Saskatchewan Hyde Homesteads A collection of homestead files for the province of Saskatchewan pertaining to the HYDE surname. The files online for G.A.E. Hyde are incomplete, as they were very, very large files.

Pull immigration factors, and passenger list and ship information. Beginning to search for the ship/s Henry Hyde, Lydia and George may have sailed on.


To follow up on how the Hyde family arrived to Canada, it is suggested by Joanna, that Lydia aged 45 (b. 1840) may have arrived in 1885 without family, arriving on the vessel Sarmatian September 21, 1885, with a destination of Moosomin.

Another possible passenger list to follow up on would be for Hy Hyde, age 22 (b. 1862) traveling aboard the Polynesian arriving May 29, 1884 with a destination given of Winnipeg.

Joanna finishes with possiblity of finding the family in the passenger list for the S.S. Peruvian where George Hyde age 25 (b. 1860) arriving March 22, 1885.

From the passing of Lydia, brother William Hyde remained in Shere, Surrey, England, where he married Kate Rogers. William Hyde, studied at the Slade School of Art, and they have a plethora of records online, with a lengthy family tree given for Kate Rogers. Joanna mentions that Henry Hyde traveled several times back to visit William in England, so appears on more than one passenger record.

William Hyde (October 2, 1857 Greenwich - August 28, 1925) was a notable English artist Project Gutenberg has three books online illustrated by William Hyde: EBook of London Impressions, by Alice Meynell, EBook of The Old Road, by Hilaire Belloc, and EBook of The Spanish Jade, by Maurice Hewlett. Now then, William's wife Kate Rogers, was a notable artist in her own right as well. On the web site; The Woodcarver's Children, which goes into the ancestry of William Gibbs Rogers and wife Mary Johnson, of whom Kate Rogers (b.August 24, 1861 Wimbledon, Surrey, England) is the grandchild. William and Kate Hyde had three children Sydney Rogers, Lydia (Bay), and Mary Elizabeth according to this web site given previously.

From the 1901 census a Henry Hyde is listed. The wife of this family is not Eva, but May, so more follow up is needed to determine if it is the same family on the 1901 Canada Census subdistrict Spring Creek, Assiniboia East, NWT. On collaboration with Joanna Waugh, it is felt that the photo is of the daughter Eva, and that Henry married Mary, and marriage records to this effect may be found in the Anglican church archives. The wife's name appears on subsequent documents as "Mary." Spring Creek post office shows up on the 1924 Rand McNally map as located at SE 22-12-32-W1. It is interesting to note that a daughter in the family has the name Eva after the wife's name recorded in the history book Across border and valley : the story of Maryfield & Fairlight & surrounding districts, and another child is named Lydia possibly after Henry's mother if this be the right family. This family would also have three children of school age for the school opening in 1900, as listed in the above local history book. Henry Hyde is listed as arriving in 1884. The following record shows wife May as born in Ont. therefore with no date of immigration to Canada for travel and the three children are listed as born in Assiniboia which means May would need to arrive in Assiniboia before 1890 when daughter Eva Stocker was born. Also it is intriguing why Eva, the eldest daughter, has a surname of Stocker, a query could be made if the wife's surname was Stocker and another query could be made if May was nicknamed Eva or if a second given name was Eva, or if the wife Eva mentioned in the local history book passed away resulting in the lapse of birthdates between siblings. Another possibility proposed by Joanna would be that the photo in the local history book of Eva would be of the daughter. Upon correspondence with Joanna, a point has been raised that Henry Hyde married Mary Hannah Farr who was a widow of Thomas Stalker. Therefore the surname on the 1901 census for the daughter Eva is spelled phonetically on the census as "Stocker", and she would be the daughter of Mary Hannah (Harriet) Farr and Thomas Stalker, and Eva was raised in the family of Henry Hyde and Mary.
Hyde Henry Male Head Married born Aug 6 1870 aged 30
Hyde May F Wife M Aug 16 1865 35
Hyde Lydia F Daughter S Apr 4 1896 5
Hyde Frances F Daughter S Mar 23 1897 4
Stocker Eva F Daughter S Jul 17 1890 10
Blackwell Albert M Domestic S Jul 26 1886

Following up on daughter Frances, it seems as though she was married, with surname Elliot, and no issue. Whereas, Lydia married into the Pagen family and had a family of three, according to Joanna.

There is additional information about Nicholas Stalker and Thomas Stalker in the Moosomin local history book, Moosomin Century One : Town and Country. Nicholas successfully proved up his homestead land grant on the north east quarter of section 4 township 12 range 31 west of the prime meridian on about 1887, and Thomas and Mrs. Stalker received their land grant patent in 1891 for the south east quarter of section 4 township 12 range 31 west of the first meridian.LAC. There is a tombstone erected in the Moosomin North Cemetery which lists three persons. M. Harriet Farr died September 6, 1890, aged 67; Thomas Stalker died September 9, 1890 aged 32 years, and William Stalker died December 30, 1892 aged 8 years. As Thomas Stalker was deceased, it fell to a family member to apply for his land grant patent for the land he began to prove up.

Further, as we speak of the passing of Thomas Stalker aged 82, Joanna relates that Thomas' brother Nicholas Stalker (b. 1851) age 27 married Gertrude Farr (b.1859) aged 22 in 1879 Brunel, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. Gertrude was the sister of Mary Hannah (Harriet) Farr (wife of Henry Hyde.) Gertrude's (and Mary's) parents were Harriet and Christopher Farr according to Family Search, and the parents of Nicholas (and Thomas) Stalker were Mary and Wm.

On the 1881 Census of Canada, Province: Ontario District Name: Muskoka Sub-District Name: Brunel and Stephenson Nicholas Stalker age 30, Farmer is listed living with Gertrude Isinth (Ginth) age 22 (b.1859) and Albert Nicholas age 1 (b1880). The household enumerated is followed immediately by the neighbour also a Stalker household. William age 65 (b.1816), Mary age 48 (b.1833), Thomas age 24 (b.1857), William age 22 (b.1859), Marianne age 20 (b. 1861), Margaret age 18 (b. 1863) and Railton Harrison Stalker (male) age 16 (b.1861). As the parents of Nicholas are Mary and William this family could indeed be the parental household for Nicholas, and does in fact show a brother Thomas as well.

Now, then, back to the Moosomin local history book, page 551, Ann (Marshall) Norgan was the researcher who purviewed the 1893 school register for Fairlight School District 282, finding an Albert Nicholas Stalker age 13 in attendance. It may be that Mrs. Tom Stalker (Gertrude) with two children, and her brother in law, Nicholas Stalker moved away from the area after the tragic passing of William Stalker age 8 in 1892 (b.1884). As Mrs. Gertrude Stalker was Gertrude Isinth (Ginth) Farr sister of Mary Hannah (Harriet) Farr - they may have joined Henry and George Hyde on their voyage to California.

Family Search has the birth record for Albert Nicholas Stalker on record in Brunel Twp., Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.

It appears that this self same Hyde family does in fact appear in the United States 1910 census, in California. The following names are recorded on Family Search:

Name: Henry Hyde
Event Type: Census
Event Year: 1910
Event Place: Township 5, Contra Costa, California, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 48
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Race (Original): White
Relationship to Head of Household: Head
Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Head
Birth Year (Estimated): 1862
Birthplace: England
Immigration Year: 1902
Father's Birthplace: England
Mother's Birthplace: England
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
Henry Hyde Head M 48 England
Mary H Hyde Wife F 44 Canada English
Eva M Hyde Daughter F 18 Canada English
Lydia Hyde Daughter F 14 Canada English
Francis Hyde Daughter F 13 Canada English
Calvin F Ball Hired man M 39 California

Map of Contra Costa County, California from Wikimedia Commons
Map of Contra Costa County, California Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Contra Costa County on Cyndi's List
Contra Costa records on California Genealogy

Joanna, again finds an obituary in the San Fransisco Chronicle dated May 15, 1915 for Eva Hyde aged 22 years, daughter to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hyde. The obituary lists Eva as the sister of Lydia and Francis. Mr. and Mrs. George Hyde of Lee Valley called Eva their niece. Eva was interred in Martinez, then interred in Oakland, CA This above family appears again on the 1920 United States Census at Family Search as follows:
Mary H Hyde
United States Census, 1920
Name: Mary H Hyde
Event Type: Census
Event Year: 1920
Event Place: Berkeley, Alameda, California, United States
Gender: Female
Age: 56
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Race (Original): White
Can Read: Yes
Can Write: Yes
Relationship to Head of Household: Wife
Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Wife
Birth Year (Estimated): 1864
Birthplace: England
Immigration Year: 1902
Father's Birthplace: England
Mother's Birthplace: England
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
Henry H Hyde Head M 58 England
Mary H Hyde Wife F 56 England
Lydia M Hyde Daughter F 23 Canada
Frances H Hyde Daughter F 22 Canada
District: 164 , Sheet Number and Letter: 1A , Household ID: 7 , Line Number: 28 , Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) , Affiliate Publication Number: T625 , GS Film number: 1820092 , Digital Folder Number: 004293692 , Image Number: 00593

Again, the family on the 1930 census, but the children appear to have left home:
Henry Hyde
United States Census, 1930
Name: Henry Hyde
Event Type: Census
Event Year: 1930
Event Place: Oakland, Alameda, California, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 68
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Race (Original): White
Relationship to Head of Household: Head
Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Head
Birth Year (Estimated): 1862
Birthplace: England
Immigration Year: 1901
Father's Birthplace: England
Mother's Birthplace: England
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
Henry Hyde Head M 68 England
Mary H Hyde Wife F 68 Canada
District: 0124 , Sheet Number and Letter: 32A , Household ID: 332 , Line Number: 1 , Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) , Affiliate Publication Number: T626 , Affiliate Film Number: 104 , GS Film number: 2339839 , Digital Folder Number: 004532324 , Image Number: 00626

The immigration year is listed as 1901 (1910 census) / 1902 (1920 census) / 1901 (1930 census), which does confirm when they moved to the United States.

Alameda County databases
Alameda County Gen Web
Alameda County, United States
Alameda County, United States map courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Distance between a random address in Berkeley, Alameda, California, United States and Oakland, Alameda, California, United States (US) is about five miles (eight kilometers).
Similarly, the distance between a random address in Contra Costa County, California, United States and Berkeley, Alameda, United States is about 34 miles (55 kilometers).
So it may be that the family moved from Contra Costa County to Alameda, but the difference between Berkeley and Oakland suggests that it may be a census enumeration area boundary change, and possibly the family did not change addresses.

Doug Gent reports that there were at least three George Hyde's in the Assiniboia area of the North-west Territories in the late 1800s. The research done by Doug Gent proclaims that George Audley Edward Hyde, the namesake of Hyde, Saskatchewan, arrived to Canada in 1887. More about a George Hyde is listed in the local history book Grit and growth : the story of Grenfell. Grenfell is located at 8-17-7-W2.

Map Provisional Districts of Athabasca, Saskatchewan and Assiniboia, NWT (1882-1905)
1900 map courtesy wikimedia commons

The 1871 United Kingdom census confirms the baptismal record for Henry Hyde in Fairlight, Sussex, England, albeit with mother Elizabeth not Lydia, and no brother George. Here one wonders if the mother, Elizabeth, on the Fairlight, Sussex, England census and parish register passed away, and if Henry re-married Lydia who emigrated to Canada also as had the family children, George and Henry (Harry). Also one could ask if the name Elizabeth Hyde listed on the census would contain a middle name of Lydia. It is wondered if this family was a relation to the Hyde family which follows. Perhaps they visited, and made an impression on Henry (Harry) Hyde so that he named the post office in Saskatchewan Fairlight. Perhaps after the father of Henry (Harry) Hyde passed away leaving Lydia a widow, Henry went to stay with his cousin in Fairlight, Sussex.
Address: Priory Coastguard Statn. Father Henry age 50 coastguard, mother Elizabeth age 52, Henry M aged 14, Matthew aged 13 and Joseph J aged 11. United Kingdom census.

On the 1881 Census c/o Family Search web site the only Henry Hyde born to Lydia was a family who did not reside in Fairlight, East Sussex but rather in Edmonton, Middlesex, England. Edmonton is a distance of 127 km (79 mi) inland from Fairlight, England, and does not verify why Henry (Harry) Hyde named his North-West Territories post office Fairlight. This following census does provide the correct year and place of the artist William Hyde according to other historians.
Lydia Hyde Head F 53 (birth year 1828) widowed, formerly wine merchant St Georges, Middlesex, England
Henry Hyde Son M 19 (birth year 1862) occupation Clerk to Wine Merchant Bishopsgate, Middlesex, England
George Hyde Son M 21 (birth year 1860) occupation Bankers Clerk Bishopsgate, Middlesex, England
William Hyde Son M 23 (birth year 1858) occupation wood engraver born Greenwich, Kent, England

It is interesting to note that in the vicinity of Fairlight, Saskatchewan, that a successful land grant patent was issued to Wm Hyde on NE 32 16 31 W1 near Rocanville. Rocanville locates at 21-16-31-W1, 59 kilometers (37 miles) north of Fairlight. Again there are no indications of William Hyde joining George, Henry and Lydia by researchers Freida Adamson nor by Ann Norgan in the book, Across Border and Valley : the story of Maryfield & Fairlight & surrounding districts. Volume 2 page 793

Fairlight Saskatchewan article written by Julia Adamson

There were three other Hyde families enumerated in the NWT on the 1891 census, one in the Broadview area, East Assiniboia consisted of Joseph age 46, his wife Ann age 47, and Joseph aged 27 who immigrated from England. This family had 7 children born in Canada, the oldest of these was 19 with a birth date c1878. Henry E. Hyde was a merchant who immigrated from England and was enumerated in Alberta. Charles Hyde aged 21 arrived from England and was employed as a farm labourer by Mynor Adams an area of Assiniboia West between Moose Jaw and Regina.

Searching the 1881 census provided only one Hyde in the NWT, William J, aged 27 in the Bow River area (Alberta), however it is noted that our Henry Hyde came after this date, so this is a confirmation.

Fairlight UK and the links with other Fairlights in Australia, New Zealand and Canada by Haydon Luke. (Part 1)

Pictures of Fairlight School - Fairlight, East Sussex Schoolhouse

Bibliography and for more information:

Banting, Meredith Black. Early History of Saskatchewan Churches (grass roots) Book 1 Regina, Sask.: Banting Pub., 1975 is online and devotes a chapter to Fairlight (Part of Maryfield) A short history of Fairlight United Church.

Barry, Bill. Geographic Names of Saskatchewan. People Places Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-789020-19-2. 2005. Regina, SK.

"Canada Births and Baptisms, 1661-1959," index, FamilySearch , Nicholas Stalker in entry for Albert Nicholas Stalker, 14 Feb 1880; citing Brunel Twp., Muskoka, Ontario, 14 Feb 1880, reference item 3 p 693; FHL microfilm 1,845,399. accessed 10 April 2015

"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch, Frances Ealy Farr, 02 Jul 1848; citing LULSLEY,WORCESTER,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 374,932.

Fairlight: A Sussex Village by the Sea East Sussex, England, UK

Fairlight, Saskatchewan On wikipedia.

Fairlight Community Website East Sussex, England, UK

Fairlight, East Sussex, England, United Kingdom. On Wikipedia.

Fairlight Main Street Image on SK Archives

Fairlight, New South Wales On Wikipedia.

Fairlight, SK on Roadside Thoughts.

Fairlight, SK map contemporary map on

Fairlight, SK map contemporary map on

Fung, Ka-iu. Atlas of Saskatchewan Celebrating the Millennium Edition 2000-2005. 1999. ISBN 0-88880-387-7. University of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon, SK.

Family Search "Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927," index, FamilySearch Nicholas Stalker and Gertrude Farr, 26 Feb 1879; citing registration 006775, Brunel, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm . accessed 10 April 2015

Housman, Alfred Edward and Archie Burnett. The Letters of A. E. Housman Volume 2 of The Letters of A.E. Housman, Alfred Edward Housman Authors Alfred Edward Housman, Archie Burnett Editor Archie Burnett Publisher Oxford University Press, 2007 ISBN 0198184964, 9780198184966

Library and Archives Canada LAC Land Grants of Western Canada, 1870-1930 Thomas and Nicholas Stalker.

Mission of Our Lady of Fatima is a Roman Catholic Church located in the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Regina, and in the Mission of the Church of St. Mary, Moosomin according to

Moosomin North Cemetery Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project. Ron Isherwood Web Master.

Novar (Fairlight) School district 1630 on Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse Project.

Online Historical Map Digitization Project

Richards, J. Howard. Atlas of Saskatchewan. Modern Press. 1969. University of Saskatchewan.

Sithean, Mark. William Hyde, English Artist, 1857-1925 Date accessed April 9, 2015

Sydney Australia, NSW, Photos of Sydney, Historical Photos, Fairlight House, Manly

View of Fairlight courtesy of British Library, and has been digitised as part of the "Picturing Canada" project. It was deposited with copyright number 21840.

Local History Books

Title Across border and valley : the story of Maryfield & Fairlight & surrounding districts
Volume I and II
Published Maryfield, Sask. : Maryfield & District Historical Society, 1984-
Other Titl R.M. of Maryfield no. 91
ISBN 0889253633

Title History of Maryfield and district
Published [Sask. : s.n., 1956]
Note 50th provincial anniversary Jubilee project"

A Flight through time : Wawota & district history
Title Wawota, Sask. : Wawota & District History Book Committee, 1994.

INCLUDES school districts Doonside -- Dumas -- Kelso -- Kennedy -- Mair -- Parkman -- Vandura -- Walpole -- Kenossee Lake -- Lake St. Charles -- Kenossee Village -- Fish Lake -- Ardine -- Arundel -- Belleville -- Bulhouse -- Bethany -- Bond -- Byron -- Rossetti -- Duramus -- Fairlight -- Fernley -- Fletwode -- Glen Adelaide -- Golden Spring -- Grangehurst -- Greenback -- High Ridge -- Hutton -- High View -- Langbank -- Model -- Mountrey -- Mundell -- Pickwell -- Plainville -- Prairie Bell -- Riga -- Rosedale -- Spring Creek -- Swanson.
Includes index.
ISBN 1550561243

Moosomin Century One: Town and Country.
Moosomin History Book Committee.
1981. ISBN 0-88925-242-4.
Friesen Printers. Altona, MB.

Nearby placenames:
Heather, North West Territories post office located at Sec.28, Twp.11, R.31, WPM was established in 1893-06-01.
Then it changed names to
Fairlight, Saskatchewan in 1908-08-01.

Nearby, Fairlight Station, located at Sec.31, Twp.10, R.31, WPM was established in 1906-11-01
The name changed to
Fairlight, Saskatchewan in 1955-06-16.

To the east was Maryfield, North West Territories which was located at Sec.4, Twp.11, R.30, W1 and established in 1896-04-01
To the west was Doonside, Saskatchewan which was located at SW Sec.16, Twp.11, R.32, WPM and established in 1933-04-01.

Moosomin Sec. 33 Twp 13 Rge 31 W1
Fleming Sec 3 Twp 13 Rge 30 W1
Arcola Sec. 9- Twp 8-Rge 4 -W2

From the National archives archivia net Post office and post master site

Notes: WPM meaning West of the Prime Meridian is the same as W1 meaning West of the First Meridian

North-West Territories (NWT) 1870- 1912
District of Assiniboia, NWT created 1882
Northwest Territories (NWT)1912 to present. No hyphen.
Province of Saskatchewan September 1, 1905
Twp or Tsp are abbreviations for township
Rge or R are abbreviations for Range
R.M. is an abbreviation for Rural Municipality
FAIRLIGHT, East Sussex, England, United Kingdom, Fairlight, Rural Municipality Maryfield No. 91, Saskatchewan, Fairlight, Southland, Murihiku, New Zealand, Fairlight, Manley, Sydney, Australia, Haydon Luke, Names, geographical names, Origins of Geographical Names, FAIRLIGHT, East Sussex, England, United Kingdom, Fairlight, Rural Municipality Maryfield No. 91, Saskatchewan, Fairlight, Southland, Murihiku, New Zealand, Fairlight, Manley, Sydney, Australia, Haydon Luke, Names, geographical names, Origins of Geographical Names,FAIRLIGHT, East Sussex, England, United Kingdom, Fairlight, Rural Municipality Maryfield No. 91, Saskatchewan, Fairlight, Southland, Murihiku, New Zealand, Fairlight, Manley, Sydney, Australia, Haydon Luke, Names, geographical names, Origins of Geographical Names,FAIRLIGHT, East Sussex, England, United Kingdom, Fairlight, Rural Municipality Maryfield No. 91, Saskatchewan, Fairlight, Southland, Murihiku, New Zealand, Fairlight, Manley, Sydney, Australia, Haydon Luke, Names, geographical names, Origins of Geographical Names,