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The naming of Morley

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Morley lies 60 kilometres northwest of Calgary, about halfway to Banff. According to historian Merrily Aubrey, Morley was first established as a Methodist mission.

Morley is named after the farm of Reverend George McDougall, and he in turn named it after the prominent, prominent Methodist Reverend Morley Ponshand.

In 1872, Mcdougall received approval from Ponshand to establish a mission at the foot of the Rockies. Reverend John Mcdougall, trailblazer and son of George, also lived at the mission established in 1873. The Nakoda refer to the mission as, "sahm akooway," which translates to "where John lives." Sahm being the Blackfoot pronunciation for John.

The trail from Calgary to Morley was later paralleled by the railroad.

Leaving Calgary, the route skirted the south side of the Nose, then the Big Hill and made its way past a number of stops on the CPR line.

Keith was established in 1884, and was named after a place in Scotland, and as popular legend has it, by Lord Strathcona himself.

Bearspaw took its name from the local Stoney Reserve, which in turn had been named after a chief present at the treaty signing at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877. His name was Musquasheed, or Bears Paw.

Glenbow was a siding established in 1907, and it was named because it was a meadow on the Bow - it was that simple.

Cochrane, a station, was established in 1884, and named after Senator M H Cochrane. And he was the president of the British American Ranch Company that had substantial holdings in the area.

Near this point the railroad went south, whereas the trail to Morley stayed to the north of the river.

Beyond the junction to the more northerly trail, you would travel north of Mitford, and then cross the Grand Valley Creek, passing south of the Wildcat Hills.

Next you would cross Beaupre and Spencer Creeks and pass north of Radner. Then the south fork of the Ghost River would be crossed, and the trail would lead you through the Morleyville Settlement, cross Jacob Creek - Jacob was another chief who signed the treaty in 1877 - and then you'd passed into the Stoney Reserve.

For early travellers, the going was tough along the trail from Calgary to Morley. There were many creeks to cross, and the elevation kept rising as the route moved deeper into the foothills and mountains.

On the Heritage Trail, I'm Cheryl Croucher.


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