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When the Steel Went Through
Scotland Again, 1889


ON THIS VISIT to my old home I found many friends and relatives missing in addition to those who were no longer at Dowhill. Uncle Quintin, Father's elder brother, and his sister, Aunt Lamont, had both passed away. But his younger brother, Uncle George, was well and active, and still maintained his home in Maybole.

My cousin, Robert Bone, was now a doctor in Inch, a small town in Aberdeenshire; and his sister Etta was living in Ayr. Cousin Susan Lamont, however, had made no change; she was still in Cumnock, carrying on her private school.

I spent the greater part of my time at home with Father and Robert; with an occasional walk to Maybole to look in on Uncle George; and from there by train to Ayr to see Cousin Etta. I also walked to Dowhill quite often, and spent an hour or two with James Wright.

Father was still a keen curler, and he got quite a lot of curling that winter. He would walk to the curling pond at Kirkoswald, a distance of about three miles; and walk home again after his game.

Later, I paid a visit to my cousin Dr. Robert Bone, in Inch. This was my first visit to Aberdeenshire; and a most interesting visit it was. My cousin was married, and had two children Quintin and Madge and a lively and amusing little pair they were.

On my way back from Inch and Aberdeen, I visited the Forth Bridge which was then being built. I had obtained permission to go over the work; so I was able to watch with freedom the various processes in its construction.

When on this tour, I went also to see my many relatives on my mother's side. And here too, there were several gaps in some of the families.

In Glasgow, I called on Uncle Hill, and passed a pleasant evening with him. I also called on J. A. Aitken, the Scottish artist I had met and got to know so well in the Mountains, during the time I was employed on the construction of the snowsheds. I had an enjoyable time with him and Mrs. Aiken, talking over our experiences of those days.

Nearer home, I had the opportunity of renewing acquaintances with two of my Ayr Academy school-mates: Robert and Andrew Allan. Robert, the elder, had been in my class. He was then farming at Howwell near Kirkcudbright, and I spent five or six days there, being pleasantly entertained both by Robert and his sister Elizabeth, who kept house for him.

I sailed early in April from Liverpool to New York on the City of Paris, of the Inman Line. This was her maiden voyage; and she made the run in good time.

From New York, I went to Montreal and had a talk with Holt about the prospects for work again. He had nothing in the way of work to offer me at the moment. He told me, however, that he was expecting to have work before long, on the construction of a branch line from Regina to Prince Albert.

Thus encouraged, I decided to push on to Calgary; and take up my abode at Ailsa Ranch, pending developments. I arrived there about the end of April.

Some new settlers had come to the surrounding districts since I last was there. One of these was Tom McMillan. He came from a small estate called Changue, near the village of Barr, in Ayrshire; and was well known to Bryce Wright and me. He stayed with us for some time while he was searching for a suitable place to start ranching for himself.

Two other new settlers whom I got to know at this time, were James and Robert Turner, second cousins of ours. They had come to Canada and had called on John Turner's father at Hornby before coming west; and he had given them a letter of introduction to John.

They settled on land on the North Fork of Sheep Creek, at the head of the valley leading to the South Fork. So this valley became known locally as Turner Valley. Through the discovery of oil under it, many years later, Turner Valley is now widely known as Canada's largest producing oil field.

Robert Turner, the younger of the two, was married; and he and Mrs. Turner paid us frequent visits. On these visits, Mrs. Turner would busy herself tidying up our house, mending our clothes, and doing other odds and ends to make us more comfortable. We highly appreciated these kind attentions; and had a great regard for her.

Toward the latter part of July when we had just commenced to cut hay on the ranch I received a telegram from Holt telling me to go to Regina. This telegram was brought to me from Calgary by a man on horseback, an employee of W. R. Hull, in whose care it had been sent. So, that put an end to my haying; and I left immediately for Regina.


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