Autobiography of Ralph John Wesley Howard


(Page 36)

We moved the tent to a good muskrat slough near the big Gully. Frank began trapping muskrats. I began hauling wood to Lloydminster. I would cut a load one-day and take it to Lloydminster the next day and return to camp. It started snowing, again. When I went in with the third load, I took what fur we had and traded for grub and oats for the horses. The snow was too deep now for wagons and we had no sleigh. When I returned to the homestead, I made something that we called a sleigh. It would carry the camp, but not a load of wood. We set up the tent at the foot of the highest hill, three miles east of Greenstreet Lake, where it remained until the following April. We camped in these hills knowing that the snow would blow off their tops and sides, exposing the grass for the horses and by feeding them some oats, they would winter.

We would trap until the oats and grub played out, then take the tent and stove and when we reached the Big Gully, set up the tent and spend the night. From here we could make the trip to Lloydminster and back the same day. The mail between Lloydminster and Onion Lake kept the trail broke. Before spring, the snow would be three feet deep. It would take four or five days to make the trip to Lloyd and back to the hills, too long to go without a bed. I would keep the fire one night while Frank slept on the oat sack, the next night Id sleep on the sack and Frank kept the fire. On the April 1st, we were on our periodic trip of Lloydminster there was no sign of spring. We set up the tent as usual at the Big Gully and Frank stayed in camp. I went to Lloyd and returned with supplies and the mail. A letter had arrived, informing us that Dad was due anytime now. I returned to town the next day and picked him up with his baggage, a large trunk containing his clothes and a large woolen quilt and some light blankets. We returned to the Gully and spent the night and made it back to the hills the next day. We made better time than usual, the trail we made coming from the hills had not blown full of snow as it usually did.

We remained in the hills for a couple of weeks, waiting for the snow to melt. One of our team had a fine colt and we named her Jess. A few days later the mare failed to come into camp in the morning for her oats. A search found her on a little slough in two inches of water with a dead colt. When the snow thawed and settled down to six inches, we moved to my shack and homestead.

Dad started looking for a homestead and soon found one that suited him. He lost no time placing, filing and commenced building.


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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