Autobiography of Ralph John Wesley Howard


(Page 26)


high and we had to make a place to get the wagon down the bank to the ice, and had neglected to bring a bulldozer, and doubted if the ice would hold when we got there. Iím glad to say that we finally got our outfit on to that ice and it held! An inquisitive coyote rewarded us with a prime pelt, while we were delayed.

Dusk found us in a settlerís yard on the south bank of the river, his name was Morgan, and he was not at home. We erected our tent and appropriated some of his dry wood and made ourselves disagreeable. From Morgans, the wagon would take the prairie trail to the landing. It was cold and we walked to keep from freezing.

I decided to continue along the river to the Smart and Johnís ranch and try for a coyote. When I came to the ranch, I asked if a wagon has passed, Smart said it had. It was near night and I had missed dinner and been delayed to skin a coyote. Although I had never drank a pint of hard liquor in my life, Mr. Smart pulled the cork from a bottle of whiskey, handed it to me and said, "Drink hearty". I took a swallow and that tasted good so I took another. I thanked him and arrived at the camp with a good new pelt and a beautiful appetite.

We crossed the river here to the north and had better going. Three days later, we were traveling near the river. I was with the wagon and saw a coyote about 75 yards away. The wagon stopped until I got my rifle and I made a clean miss and that didnít make me feel very good. The wagon started again and didnít make a hundred yards until it acted like its back was broken near the rear end. An examination proved the rear axel was broken near the middle. Now what? Ö It was evident to me that we were in a serious predicament, but what to do about it, I could think of nothing. It was cold to stand and look at each other, and we had to do something to keep from freezing. Finally one of our friends spoke up "When we came up the river we passed a vacant summer ranch. I think it was a couple of miles farther along. There was a wagon near the buildings. I will go and find out if it is still there". I took my carbine and started. I made about one mile and saw a badger while I was maneuvering for a shot, one of the boys passed with the team dragging the double trees and neck yolk. By the time I had that badger skinned, he had passed going back with the wagon. I continued on to the buildings and found the door to the house padlocked. The wagon soon arrived with the camp and broken axel. The problem now was to pick the lock or pull the staple. I donít think any of us had practiced the lock picking and had neglected to bring tools of any description. Eventually the staple lost the argument.

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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