Autobiography of Ralph John Wesley Howard


(Page 16)


This left us in debt $1000.00. We traded and brought them home and commenced to feed them. About the first of March, I moved the rig down and started drilling. In a few days, Bert came to see how I was doing. We had the drilling finished on the fifteenth. Then when we got up the next day, there was six inches of snow on the ground; and it was snowing hard. It continued night and day, for the next day and the two succeeding ones. When Bert arrived at the Half Circle D, he stepped into a Satanic Picnic … Dead Sheep, it seemed in countless numbers greeted him. Live sheep were eating the wool off of each other. He started all hands and the cook to skinning the dead. A sheep pelt would bring 25 or 30 cents, if you could find a buyer. The cattlemen lost just as bad as the sheepmen. The horse herds on the range ate the manes and tails off each other and gnawed the fence posts. I decided that the spread between what a man wanted and what a man got was just too wide; and what he wanted most did him no good. Still, there was no place to stop. The directions said "Shake well and Bake."

When grass came, there was just enough sheep left to cancel the $1000.00 debt against them. We still were in debt to Mr. Blake and his son for $150.00, a store bill and final payment on the drilling rig. They sent a couple of four horse outfits down for the sheep pelts. They got them on the railroad just in time to be engulfed in the highest water Kansas City ever recorded. However, they squared our debt. The drilling rig was neither in our possession nor our property. Bert said, now that we have made our fortune, all we have to do is make a living.

At one time on the outskirts of Liberal, I saw an old looking pamphlet that the wind had brought (from Canada…I guess). I picked it up to satisfy my curiosity. It contained pictures of beautiful scenery, and told of its unlimited agricultural and ranching possibilities. At the time, it didn’t interest me, but I never forgot it. It also told of its game, and fish and climate and fur and minerals. This had some influence on my future life.

In due course, after our financial crash, Bert and Frank took the train to Canada and points north to have a look. Their first stop was Davidson, a station or two north from Saskatoon, about 35 miles from the Elbow in the Saskatchewan River. There was a few now flakes falling and it seemed like winter was approaching. On their first day, they were offered a job drilling wells. The declined and said that they had other business. They bought some lumber and hired it hauled to the Elbow. They

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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