On my recent trip to Grimshaw for my Aunt Muriel’s funeral I was introduced to a book, titled “Neville – The Golden Years, 1900-1980. My cousin Beverly had seen it on my Aunt Joyce’s shelf with some other family history books. In it was this piece written by my Great-Aunt Eleanor (my paternal Grandmother’s sister) around 1979 or so. It ties in with Walter Reeves memoir, also on this site.
The WALTER REEVES FAMILY
by Eleanor (Reeves) Renshaw
In the fall of 1909 my father, Walter Reeves, decided to go to Swift Current, Saskatchewan, to file on a homestead, W 1/2-s7-t-12-R11 w of 3rd, about three miles north and four miles east of where Neville now stands. In 1910 my mother and three children emigrated from Minnesota to Canada along with the Bradley family.
Mr. Bradley, and father shipped their household effects, cattle, a team of horses, two wagons and father’s 4000 feet of lumber in a freight car. Because they were emigrating to Canada they were allowed settler’s rates, which amounted to $73.00.
When father arrived, he hired Mr. Bradley to haul our household effects, lumber, etc. to our homestead site 35 miles southeast of Swift Current. To pay Mr. Bradley for the trip father gave him one of our milk cows.
Because our house was not yet built, Joe Bonner allowed us to stay in a small shack near his place, that belonged to a young man by the name of Bert Robinson, who had recently homesteaded the quarter just south of Joe Bonner’s and hadn’t come to live there yet.
Because there had been little rain recently, and there was danger of prairie fires and because the ground was too hard and dry to plow a furrow, father and mother managed to carefully burn quite a wide fireguard around the house and barn.
In about June of 1911 I can remember how pretty the prairie was. There must have been plenty of rain as the grass was green and luxuriant, crocuses made a purple carpet everywhere, and the wild prairie roses scented the air with their fragrant perfume. As we ran over the hills north-east of our place we found a small patch of double roses and we never found any anywhere else.
This spring of 1911 bright new shacks dotted the prairie in every direction. Sometime in the spring of 1912, my brother Bert and I began attending Daybreak school, about four miles west of us. We all walked to and from school every day, unless the weather was bad, and never seemed to get too tired.
About the beginning of 1914 our school district of Mosquito Creek was formed, and the school house built.
The highlight of the school year was the Christmas Concert. We always had a good one. There were plenty of children to take part, and a number of them had a real talent in acting, singing or reciting. Our teachers had the ability to choose material suitable to the talents of her pupils. The school house was usually full of interested parents and many visitors from other districts. A dance usually ended the evening’s entertainment.
In 1915 Uncle Clarence Reeves bought Allen Graham’s farm, house, machinery and stock. His younger children Grace, Beth and George who had come from North Dakota, and who had stayed a short time with us, now moved into a home of their own.
1919 was a very dry year, not even potatoes grew. Mother tried to serve beans or rice and how tired we were of such a restricted diet. Fortunately we had milk, butter and cream of our own.
Because of the crop failure, father went to the Regina area to work during the threshing season and mother cooked for the threshers in a cook car.
On December 1924, I, Eleanor Reeves, married Pearly Renshaw and we lived in the Neville area for four years. We moved to Northern Alberta. We had three boys and two girls. Through all these intervening years our sons and daughters have brought us much joy.
Pearl died in 1971. My sister Berniece and I decided we would live together. My brother Bert, who is retired, and his wife, Grace, also live in White Rock.
Wilbur and his wife, Dolores, have five children, all grown.
Laurel and her husband, Lee Hacker, are both retired and live north of Pasco, Washington, U.S.A..
Aurla and her husband Milton Magee live in Kent, Washington, U.S.A..
I am sure that when any of us, who are children of the early settlers of Neville, turn our memories back to those homesteading days of the early 1900’s, we think with pride and reverence of our parents, their strength of character, and perseverance through hardships, and disappointments, and the universal sense of caring for the welfare of others in surrounding neighborhoods.