Autobiography of Ralph John Wesley Howard


(Page 33)


poplar, that had been left by high water on the shore. We finally found enough for our needs. This was axe and pocket knife job. It had to fit the hounds of the wagon and then a bolthole made through the hounds and the wagon. This would have been a short job if we had not neglected to bring a brace and bit of the right size. We had to do this with the bolt and a knife. We tacked the hounds to the pole to hold them in place, fitted them in place on the wagon and marked it with the bolt by a light tap where the edge of the hole would be and where it should emerge. Then removed the tongue and hounds and pull the nails. With the point of the knife, we marked a circle the size of the bolt and chipped out the center of the circle and then with the bolt red hot, you could burn a quarter of an inch deeper and then pour in water to put out the fire. Then repeated the performance until we finally had the hole through the tongue and hounds. When they were in place and the bolts in and tightened, we were ready for the trail again… This job held until we reached Lloydminster and located our homesteads and did twenty years of homestead duties. The rest of our journey was uneventful and monotonous. Our main worry was to find water to camp, and most of the country was unsurveyed. We traveled days on end without a glimpse of the sun, or of man or of a domesticated animal. Were we traveling in circles? We asked each other often, are we right, and one would say, "it seems to me that we are traveling a little too far to the left, and the other would say it seems to me we are too much to the right!"

We finally reached the Battle River and we traveled parallel to it course, the way it flowed, for a day and then we wanted to cross. This stream was comparatively small but looked good. The geological formation of the banks was a little different and suggested the possibility of quicksand. The water was a little cloudy and you couldn’t see the bottom in a foot of water, the banks were abrupt and generally high. If you found a place where you could get down to the river on one side, the other bank would be straight up. We spent the day looking for a crossing; we search the river two miles in each direction and decided where the chances were the best. To reach this place with the wagon, we had to cut a road through thick poplar for half a mile. The side where we entered, was high and steep but the other side was low and looked like a good place to get out. It looked like a risky proposition to me. I studied about stripping and investigating, but the water was icy cold and my left leg was still swollen (and still is) from the effects of the typhoid and the effect of a sudden chilling was to cause the leg to cramp. So what! The directions said "Shake or no shake", take it! We drove into the water, which reached the wagon box, we reached the other bank and the wagon came out, then the horses sank to their bellies but kept

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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