Autobiography of Ralph John Wesley Howard


(Page 17)



completed a dugout with a lumber roof near the river and made a boat and a pair of oars. Frank had bought along his 30-30 Winchester, and he knew how to use it. I had seen him clip a prairie chicken on wing in full flight and stop a Jackrabbit at fifty yards on the run. There was an island in the river, opposite their camp that was considerable size and covered with brush. "Now," Frank said, "Lets go and see what is on that island." They landed and scared up a hundred prairie chickens, and saw a white rabbit or two, and a lot of fresh deer tracks. Frank told Bert to be quiet and wait a few minutes. He disappeared into the brush and in less than ten minutes, the 30-30 spoke loud and clear and a couple of prairie chickens took to the air…Venison for supper! This island proved to be a regular refrigerator, it kept game alive and always fresh. The sand hills in the bend of the river supplied plenty of venison and as winter approached, small herds of antelope invaded the western portion. Ideal country, for a hunter. An exploring expedition enticed them down river some ten or twelve miles, where the Red Deer Creed joined the Saskatchewan River. It was too small for navigation, but was a deep valley that reached 25 or 30 miles to the west. In this valley was a chain of lakes with variable spacing between them. This valley and lakes will be the main reservoir for the storage of water when the Elbow Hydro is completed. (This is now the Gardner Dam and Diefenbaker Lake).

At the time that my brothers established camp on the Elbow, there were a few settlers in the district. Jack Hitchcock, for one, on the main shore of the river, twelve miles across the river and upstream from the Elbow, he was a retired mechanic. The Stoffer brothers, Frank and Harry had homesteads two miles from the Elbow, also a couple of Germans. There was one homesteader farther east on the trail to Davidson ( the nearest post office and a 35 mile walk each way).

In the early winter, Bert went back to his family in the states. Frank remained at his camp and the Stoffer brothers were camping with him for company. Harry Stoffer, left camp to get the mail from Davidson, some thirty-five miles away. He arrived back at camp three days later with his feet badly frozen. It was many days before he walked again. They gave him the best care they knew how; poultices with moist tealeaves and sterile bandages.

The camp soon became the main center of interest. There was no other place to go to break the monotony of homesteading. A settler was always welcomed here and on

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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