Interesting moments from Botha history

Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing long weekend, with lots of fun

Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing long weekend, with lots of fun. This past Thursday evening/early Friday morning, we experienced quite a light show with the thunderstorm we received.

The lightning was quite a show after all the hot days we have experienced lately, and we also received much needed rain with it. Friday, however, turned out warm with a little bit of a breeze, which was nice.

Would like to send out sympathy to Bob and Dorothy Diprose and family on Bob’s brother Kenny’s passing. Kenny passed away peacefully on July 18. Kenny lived in Saint Albert, but came down frequently to help Bob with farm work. Kenny will be truly missed by all who knew him.

Sympathy also goes out to Leonard (Len) Beardmore Olive’s wife Mae and family. Leo passed away peacefully on July 20, at the age of 89. Len was a farmer besides raising and showing off his Limousin cattle he raised. Len and Mae operated and owned land around the Botha area from 1960 until 1985 when they retired to Stettler. Len on his spare time loved woodworking, dances, and playing cards.

Our thoughts and prayers are with both families at this time.

Bingo takes place again on Tuesday evening Aug. 19 starting at 7:15 p.m. at the seniors’ centre. So grab your dabbers and come out for one exciting evening. Who knows, you could be one of the lucky ones taking some winnings home with you that night.

Remember to come out next Saturday afternoon starting at 1:30 p.m. to the Erickson/Drewer Open House. They are planning a special occasion for everyone to help them celebrate their 120 years here in Alberta and their 110 years of farming here in the Botha area. So make sure you mark this date somewhere you can remember it and come out and help celebrate with them. Everyone is more than welcome to come out to this special occasion.

Don’t forget coffee is always hot and ready to drink with your friends and neighbors starting at 10 a.m. every Wednesday morning at the seniors’ centre. So take a break away from your busy schedule and join them. They would love to see everyone.

Now, let’s look back at some of the memories that I located looking back in history books. I will not mention names, but it is very fun to look back and see how things were in the past years.

In one incident that was mentioned was that this family lived in Botha in an old house completed with a leaky roof. As you can see, besides good times, there were a lot of hardships to the pioneers had to face to survive. Anyway, they had a well to do family that lived next to them that had chickens and cattle, and one of the chickens decided to come to their barn and make it her nesting place, which supplied them with one egg every day. Food at that time was very short in supply, so that egg every day really came in handy. This continued for quite a while, until the hen got too old to lay eggs and the trip over to their barn came to an end.

Then another family remembers running through the pastures and trees (which at that time were plentiful), and through them there were cow paths and trails, where they picked wild strawberries. They also gathered wood chips and splitters to start their summer fires with to make their supper. They also remember walking into Botha to go to Botha outdoor skating rinks, to enjoy the winter sports. Another winter sport that children back than enjoyed was riding on sleighs pulled by horses and having sleigh bells hanging from the sleighs.

I have also located a very well written summary that sums up early daily living in the Botha area I would like to share.

I would like to make it very clear

This is not a history as such

of Old-Timers of which there were many.

This is a story of a green English boy

Of memories of the first few years

That stand out in the background of experience

Of pleasures, of learning and fears.

 

‘Twas in the late spring of nineteen twelve

We disembarked from the train;

It was “sunny Alberta” to be sure,

It surely was pouring rain.

We were drenched to the skin

A wetter sadder bunch of folks

Never before had come in.

 

That gang at the barn, we were soon to learn,

Equal to every occasion would be.

Used to Foreigners from every clime,

For the time our protector’s we’d see,

It seemed to me there was Irvin and Roy

Also Curty and a guy named Jack,

One of which took us out to the farm,

The women in front, us kids in the back.

 

Well in time we had to come to school,

Everyone gave us their view,

How did they know we were English?

We were the only kids wearing shoes.

The guys at the barns, the nasty guys,

Would set the dogs on us.

Although we never did get bit

We created quite a fuss.

 

Bassler and Eyestone the hardware owners,

Prudden’s the Shopping Center,

A forerunner of the trend to come,

One stop shopping for all that enter

Botha boasted a hotel completely equipped,

An up to date dining room,

All the Modern conveniences, we have you know

Even the customary spittoon.

 

There were Hunter and Skocdopole merchants

Our Tonsorial artist was “Pit”

Kierbow, our harness maker.

As a blacksmith Frizzell was it.

Dad Armstrong was the town overseer

Bert Gibbon was the best tinsmith by far

And from what I remember

McLeod owned the C.P.R.

 

Botha was famed for her baseball team,

The best in Canada, so we hears,

For they with tame badger mascot

Were greatly to be feared.

The boys with their red ball suits,

in the record we note,

Were the terror of the country roads,

They surely got Stettler’s goat.

 

I remember the Coronation ball team

came to town to play;

The team stayed here about a week

Cause it rained most every day.

But what was a day away from work

When the “Champs” they were going to meet,

Tho’ they stayed for a week it didn’t take long,

Just a couple hours to beat.

 

I seem to recall a baseball game

To give other ball clubs a chance,

our boys played with eggs in hand;

The good old to enhance.

The idea was to catch ball in glove

Exchange ball for egg and throw

the batter or runner out-

Quite a trick you surely must know.

 

You must surely know, no cars about than,

Yes, horses were used and sometimes abused,

Out of hours if you know what I mean,

A fellow named Ferguson, Tubby for short

with his outfit all decked out and gay,

His team ran away, frightened no doubt

By night falling or the break of day.

 

Mr. Kenny taught the one -roomed school,

We didn’t fool around or talk.

We knew we had to behave or else

How he could throw that chalk!

The Botha Creek ran all summer long.

The Creek he had to cross

He always made it with a run, skip and hop,

If we missed this our day was a loss.

 

The young men around town, lawful as they came

Some of their tricks were funny, no doubt

One poor fellow was fencing his yard,

The boys however found this out

His holes were dug and posts set in

And those characters true to their roles,

So upset that poor man that he called the police,

Someone had stolen his holes.

 

I could tell of Dick Marsh’s twins,

Mrs. Empey and Miss Bartlett mean,

One was about thirty- five so he said

One a few years ,older 1’ would seem

Then there was the first Red Cross sale,

Botha district never to beat,

Many of the farmers, I cannot name them all

Donated carloads of wheat.

 

You may have heard of the Red Cross rooster,

He was sold and sold and sold.

Each time he came back to the auction block

Made hundreds of dollars we were told.

They finally wore that poor bird out,

His sagging health they couldn’t mend;

He was stuffed, mounted and sold again

This was his final end.

 

There were the Freebury’s and Walter Marchant

Old-Timers we remember quite well,

Dad Cunningham and Grandpa Friend,

The experiences those old-timers could tell,

The trails of hard winters, frozen fingers and toes,

Of courtships weddings, gatherings, too

of “Bundling” when the weather was such,

No chance for a fellow his sweetheart to woo.

 

We heard no grumbling, those pioneers were tough,

All in the same boat just doing their stuff.

They worked with a will their stomachs to fill,

Helped one another when the going was tough.

So this story must end, through in many ways,

The Old-timers would tell us and to them it was true,

Those were the good old days.

– Wes Bright

So if you ever have a chance to talk to a senior here from Botha, please do so; you could hear some more stories from the good old days that are very interesting.

BOTHA BOOSTER

 


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