Autobiography of Ralph John Wesley Howard


(Page 15)

timber was placed in the center and at right angles to the axle. The front running gear of the wagon was attached to this timber with the tongue pointing backwards to guide the craft. It worked to perfection. The fourteen-foot rear axle of the craft gave enough to smooth the bumps. A twenty-foot mast was erected and accommodated an eight by sixteen foot bed tarpaulin for a sail, which went supplemented with a jib sail was ample power to navigate in a modest wind which nearly always blew in that country. Bert christened the contraption "The Mary Ellen" and sacrificed a quart of spring water to make it a legal ceremony. We christened him Captain Jerry and he Skippered the brig, later to be known as the "Ghost Ship of the Plains".

On one occasion, I was in Liberal for a load of freight for the Half Circle D; Mr. Blake was walking to the post office and stopped to talk to a little boy, who was having trouble at the street corner. He said, "How does she navigate today?" Glennie answered, "Not very good, it nags down main; but if I turn to a side street, a wheel comes off and it tips over and breaks the mast." As Mr. Blake passed along this soliloquy escaped "That little cuss thinks he is going to fly". The Glen Miller Plane was in the air just a few days after the Wright Brothers.

Business as usual with prosperity continued at the Half Circle D. The monotony for everyday business was occasionally broken by items of news. The parties that camped at my well, four miles above the headwaters of Bull Creek, bought 1600 head of sheep. Another Texas neighbor twenty miles southeast had 3200 sheep and wanted to sell them or trade for cattle. That didn't necessarily concern us…but it did …from sheep, you could garner two crops in a year instead of one. The wool crop would pay running expenses, while the lamb crop matured. This created a challenge we failed to resist. We valued the cattle at twenty dollars per head and sheep at two dollars each.

In November, we traded for the 3200 sheep and to make the deal come out even, we agreed to drill a well in the spring. We delivered our cattle, and brought home the sheep; and started hauling shelled corn from Liberal to feed them. Two ounces per day for each sheep would ensure their condition being good when grass came again. They did reasonably well on this diet. In January, the party with the 1600 sheep approached us for a trade. They wanted to sell their place and beat it. Their sheep were a higher grade than the others we had bought were and they insisted on $2.10 each for them. They agreed to take our horses and the drilling rig.

The Howard Clan webpages were submitted by Patrick K. Best The Howard Clan were some of the original homesteaders of the North Bend District. It is hoped that you and many more people enjoy this history that this clan went through everyday to strive to live and provide a great part in making the history of Saskatchewan come alive.

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