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Card, Charles Ora

Card, Charles Ora: Founder, Cardston, Alberta. Charles Card arrived in Canada seeking temporary refuge for himself and his fellow Mormons, fully expecting to return to Utah once relations between the Mormon Church and the federal government had settled down. However, in 1890 the Mormon settlement in southwestern Alberta had become so successful that Church leaders asked Card to remain there indefinitely. In 1895, the Alberta Stake was created and Card was made its first president, serving as spiritual advisor and head of colonization. The new president was known for his practical as well as his spiritual insights, and his weekly sermons were often filled with references to the care of livestock, business, and the proper management of dairy herds and crops. During his seven years as stake president, he provided both temporal and spiritual leadership to thousands of Saints scattered over a large area.

Card was also an entrepreneur. By the time of the second wave of Mormon Immigration in the late 1890s, he had organized the Cardston Company Ltd., a joint-stock enterprise aimed at gathering enough capital to stimulate economic growth and business in the Cardston region. The new company helped to establish a flour-mill, cheese-factory, steam-threshing outfit and sawmill. Card's next enterprise was partnering the Church with the Alberta Irrigation Company out of Lethbridge to build an irrigation system which would bring water from a point near the United States border at the St. Mary's River and carry it through to the dry lands around Lethbridge. Not only was Card responsible for fulfilling the Church's part of the agreement, he played a major role in enticing American Mormons to come to southern Alberta to farm the lands now being irrigated by the new canal. Many, in fact, accepted land in partial payment for their work on the canal. The project was completed in 1900 and, by that time, the continuing influx of Mormon settlers from the United States, enticed by Card's spiritual and economic guidance, meant that new settlements would need to be established outside of Cardston. As a result, several new towns were founded, including Magrath, Stirling and Raymond.

To learn more about Cardston and it's founder, visit Alberta: Home, Home on the Plains - Mormon Settlement

Charles Ora Card

Charles Ora Card