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
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
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
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.