THE BOYD FAMILY STORY
- by Margaret (Boyd) Gregor
I (Margaret), being the eldest of the remaining Boyd family, have been elected to write our story. I hope I don't let anyone down. In the first place I am not a writer so forgive me folks as this won't be professional and I probably won't remember everything. Dad and Mother were both born in Glasgow, Scotland. Dad, Andrew Boyd, was born in 1888. Mother (Christina Williamson) was born in 1890. Dad left to come to Canada in 1904. He worked all over Canada; the longest job he had was in British Columbia cutting ties for the railroad. While in British Columbia he contracted typhoid fever and would have died, with no doctor or proper medicine, had it not been for one man in the camp who stayed with him day and night for weeks and nursed him, with persistence, back to health. When he made enough money to start farming he homesteaded in the Youngstown, Alberta area. Then he sent for the lady whom he was to marry.
Mother had a hair raising crossing coming from Scotland. The ship was chased half way across the Atlantic by German submarines; the war was in full swing then. They were married in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on December 12, 1916. Dad was then 28 years of age and Mother was 26. Following their marriage they went right to their farm at Youngstown and stayed through many good, but more bad, drought years, until they moved to Heinsburg district in 1934. They made one trip back to Scotland in December 1950. They sailed on the Empress of Canada. They were in Scotland for a six week vacation, visiting their families and old friends. They found the climate much different from this country, much damper. The rest of the country was very much like they left it.
When we moved to the Heinsburg district from the dry belt of Youngstown, we were told we were moving to a beautiful country of trees, lakes and good farming land. My father had been in the district before to look around and had bought a quarter of land from Jim Bristow. We moved by passenger train; a freight train following with the cattle, horses, machinery and furniture. Besides my mother
and father there were Jim, Jean, Cathie, Billy and myself. never'' forget the evening we arrived; my sister Jean and I sat down in front of Sander's store and cried like a couple of babies. She was 14 and I was 16 years. Jim, Cathie and Billy were younger and it didn't bother them. I think Mother felt like crying too, but of course she put on a brave front. Anyway Jean and I thought we had come to
the end of the earth. A man, to this day I'm not sure who he was ( I think his name was Slim Hansen, who worked for Frank Franks) talked so nice to us, real jolly like. He said this country will grow and we would find lots of friends; he had us both laughing before he left but I'm sure if we had had enough money we would have taken the train out of there the next morning.
We moved into a log house my father had had built for us but the roof wasn't finished and whenever it rained we had pans sitting all over to catch the water. That first summer passed very fast. There was more than enough land broke for a garden. There was one incident that happened to Jean and I that was funny when we look back not so at the time. One afternoon when the saskatoons were ripe Jean and I decided to go berry picking, so off we went. When we got to the berry patch, which was in a heavily treed area, we saw a bull not too far away. We were carrying red lard pails and I had on a red dress. We were scared! Jean said, "You had better take that dress off and let us climb a tree." I took the dress off and stuffed it into my pail and up the tree we went. We sat up in the tree for what seemed hours. I'm sure the bull didn't even look our way. We finally got up enough courage to climb down when suppertime approached. We crept out of that place real quiet so we would not disturb the bull, and when we got near home I put my red dress back on. All the berries we got that day we ate while in the tree.
The following winter was terrible; we had stoves but they weren't suitable for such a cold place. It was the worst year any of us saw before or since. The livestock wasn't used to such a cold climate and there wasn't enough feed for them so we lost many horses and some cows. The neighbors were wonderful, giving us vegetables and stock feed, especially Reslers, Deweys and Ole Lunden.
My father \wasn't suited to farming. Thanks to my mother and brother Jim everything improved steadily when he took over, which was very soon. Jim took to farming like a duck takes to water. He was only twelve when we moved into the Frog Lake district. Jim now owns about a section and a half, including the first quarter.
There were plenty of troubles through the years. Billy passed away when he was fifteen; he had been sick all his life so maybe it was best for him. The original house burned down after it was fixed up real nice, which was many years after we arrived. We had many good times also. There were lots of friends, dances in the Frog Lake Hall, Norway Valley School and in Heinsburg, and we girls loved to dance. There were also card parties, house parties, picnics, fishing and berry picking trips.
Jean and I went out to work and helped out wherever we could. My mother worked hard, milking cows, raising big gardens and canning. Cathie helped too but she was too young to go out to work and still had to go to school. Dad and Jim were busy getting the land broke, haying and hauling wood for fires in the winter. Jim also went to school for a few years. Dad was a good friend to our Indian neighbors who visited us. We used to have sing songs with some of them. Around the late 1940s Dad became Justice of Peace for the Frog Lake district and continued till about '52 or 3. Mother passed away in 1956 at the age of 63 and Dad passed away at the good old age of 84 years.
John Gregor was one of our many friends; he was peddling fresh meat when we met him. He had come to the district in 1917 so he was one of the old timers. He was thirty- two years old and I was eighteen when we were married. We had five children, one son, Allan and four daughters, Marjorie, Velda, Lila Jean and Elaine. John passed away in June 1972 after a long heart illness. My sister Jean married Glen McIntosh who lived in the Greenlawn district at the time. They had five children, three sons, Ronald, Dennis and Terry; two daughters, Sandra and Shirley. Dennis passed away at twenty-three years of age. It was a heartbreaking time for my sister's family and all of us. Jean and Glen now live in Calgary.
My youngest sister Cathie married Milo Johnson who was a local man from the Lea Park area. Milo passed away in June in 1957. They had three daughters, Sheila, Debbie and Lana. Cathie now lives in the North-West Territories. My brother Jim married a district public health nurse, Eve. Jim was pretty cagey about getting married; we didn't think he ever would but Eve was so pretty and cute that the "lovebug" finally caught him. They are the only ones of the family that still live at Frog Lake. The night of the day they were married was very cold for November and the roads were terribly icy so they were two hours late getting to their wedding dance with lots of trouble along the way. The rest of us that were waiting for them were wondering what we could do because they were bringing the lunch for midnight. Jim and Eve have one daughter and three sons. Christina, who is the only girl in the family, was named after our mother. Robert, Grant and Kent are the boys so there are still Boyds in the Frog Lake district.
The only one of my family who lives not far from Heins- burg is our daughter Marjorie who married Willie Osinchuk, a Clandonald farmer and musician. Jean's, Cathie's and the rest of my family are nearly all married and scattered all over Canada. I live in Edmonton, Alberta but I'm pretty tired of the rat race here. I may be gone to ports unknown by the time this is printed; I love to travel and intend to do lots of it yet.