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Sarah 'Ailie' Lendrum Brick, 1877-1947

Two days after high-spirited Ailie Lendrum, 19, married Fred Brick, an independent fur trader, she set out on the difficult 700-mile journey to Fort Vermilion. It was a trip the couple would make every spring and every fall for the next 11 years.

Carting supplies for the coming, they traveled up the Athabasca and Lesser Slave rivers, sailed 90 miles across Lesser Slave Lake (a dangerous, storm-fraught trip in which they lost a canoe-load of precious supplies), portaged 100 miles in wagons drawn by unbroken horses, and came at last to the Peace River. Then they constructed a 100-foot raft and, cooking, sleeping, and eating on board, floated in unstable fashion, with animals and baggage, 300 miles down river to the fort.

At the fort, Ailie lived the life of a frontier wife. With childhood chores done mostly outdoors, she knew little of housekeeping. "I had never made a loaf of bread, a cake, or a pie in my life. But my husband had batched it for sometime and was very patient with me." Three of her four children were born at Fort Vermilion. A Métis midwife attended, and Ailie said, "I shall never forget (her) as she helped and comforted me...700 miles from a doctor or nurse."

Excerpted from 200 Remarkable Alberta Women by Kay Sanderson with permission from the Famous Five Foundation

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