Autobiography of Ralph John Wesley Howard


(Page 37)


Will, my brother in-law, arrived with his car of equipment and hauled it to Frankís shack and homestead on section 16-53-26-w3rd. Then he built his own homestead on section 22-26-53-w3rd. Dadís homestead was NEľ 14-26-53-w3rd. Bert and his family arrived on NEľ 13-26-53-w3rd. We spent the summer building and getting gardens broke and fire guards around the buildings and hay was put up. And hauling freight from Lloydminster which was our nearest post office.

I spent the first winter of my homestead with my wife, Ruvilla, and family, a two-year old boy and a three-year old girl named Capitola Fern. I trapped some from home, but was busy most of the time building stables, corrals, stack yards and getting out and cutting wood. Frank and Clifford Howard, Bertís son, took packed outfits and crossed the river and headed north to explore, hunt and trap. They soon found plenty of moose, deer and the occasional caribou. They helped all of us with the meat and did some trapping.

In the spring, we got a letter from Frank Stouffer and Charlie Mathews. They had finally delt with the government for a well drilling outfit and had the rig at Charlieís place. Frank and Charlie wanted us to come and run the rig. Bert left at once and a week later he wrote for me to come, too. It had been the best paying job I had ever worked at. I arrived at the rig, the machine was set up and drilling had already started. We soon discovered we were not drilling down in the panhandle or close to it. The geological formation was entirely different.

In all the drilling that we had done down there, we only drilled one hole that encountered blue clay. It was a stratum, 20 feet in depth and it nearly ran us wild. We often struck a stratum of rock but they were soft enough so steel would cut them and the entire stratum under the drill would mix with water then we could remove the drills. Blue clay does not mix with water, some of it acts like soft rubber or chewing gum, you can pound and mix all you want but the bailer will not pick it up. The rocks here is mostly nigger heads mixed with blue clay and have been rounded by erosion and are so hard that steel will not cut them. Your drill will find them at any depth, more often near the surface, where your drill usually strikes one and the surface is sure to slant in some direction and the drill will slide off and wear the hole out of line with what you have finished. With the old fashioned cable tooled drop drill, if your well once started to go crooked, you were in trouble. If it once started, then the cable rubbed all the way down to your tools. They were also in the same direction as 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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