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Payne Family

Henry Payne, his wife Candace, and their son Thomas Anthony (Tony) Payne came to Junkins, Alberta from Oklahoma in 1909. They each filed for a homestead. In 1910, Tony’s sister Virginia and her husband Daniel Hayes joined the Payne family in Junkins, as did two of Henry’s other children, James and Georgiana, and Georgiana’s husband John Charlton. Henry and Candace farmed for the rest of their lives in Junkins. They died in the 1920s and are buried in the Empyrean Cemetery of Junkins.

Daniel and Virginia Hayes initially stayed in Edmonton upon arriving from Oklahoma in 1910. A year later, their daughter Wilmer died from tuberculosis at the age of seven and was buried in Edmonton.

Daniel first worked as a bricklayer when he came to Alberta, but the pay was low that he invested his money buying land in Bon Accord, Belvedere, Gibbons, and Onoway before coming to homestead in Junkins, where he farmed for many years. Daniel was a jack-of-all-trades: a bricklayer, a blacksmith, a mechanic, and a steam engineer. Daniel and his brother-in-law Tony Payne helped organize the Wildwood and District Agricultural Society. They also helped build the school and the African Methodist Episcopalian Church in Junkins. Daniel died in 1943 and his wife Virginia in 1946.

Virginia’s brother Tony Payne married the widow Blanche Johnson, whose husband was a doctor who died in the Spanish flu epidemic in the United States. Blanche had two children from her previous marriage: Wilbur and Theresa. Blanche Payne was the first teacher at the Empyrean School in Junkins. Her wages were often paid in produce.

Tony and Blanche had three children: Georgieanna,Tony Jr., and Frances. Unfortunately, Blanche did not take well to the cold weather; she divorced Tony and left Junkins, taking Wilbur and Theresa with her and leaving Tony’s young children, Georgieanna, Tony Jr., and Frances behind. They were taken care of by their aunt Georgiana. When the children were old enough to go to school, they went to live with their aunt and uncle Daniel and Virginia Hayes; this made it easier to get to the Empyrean School of Junkins. Blanche Payne died in 1987 while living in Dayton, Ohio. She was 97.

Tony Payne initially worked on the construction of the Imperial Bank of Canada on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton. Also very active in Junkins, he organized, for many years, the big annual picnic where sporting competitions, games, races, and musical activities were held. He co-owned the post office and a supply store with his brother-in-law Daniel Hayes.

Payne and Hayes also worked as freighters, bringing goods from Edmonton to homesteads in Junkins. Tony later ran a blacksmith shop in Junkins. He was an expert at shoeing horses and won all of the horse-shoeing contests in the district. As a blacksmith, he made and welded iron equipment and repaired machinery. An avid farmer, Tony also started raising sheep, for which he won prizes at the local fair.

In 1954, Tony was remarried. He and his bride, Mae Geary Morehead from Edmonton, continued living on their Junkins homestead until Tony's death in 1968 at the age of 87. After Tony’s passing, Mae sold the homestead and moved to Edmonton.

Tony Payne Jr. and his wife Venie Taylor continue to farm on Henry Payne’s homestead. They have three children: Daniel, Roland, and Audrey.

Audrey Payne is married to Gerry Farmer and they have two children. Their son Daniel Payne and his wife Betty Hicks have three children: Nathan, Twylla, and Namond. Nathan drives a train in Fort Saskatchewan.


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