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Recollections of Raymond

Raymond Milling Company in Raymond, Alberta in July 1904. One of the first families to arrive from Utah came overland by wagon and was on the trail six long, tiresome weeks. Although they wondered if they were going to better their lives, they were full of faith and courage in the future. The family of five camped in Magrath for about two weeks, earning some cash by stooking grain, before coming to Raymond and lived in a tent for four months after which they moved into their new home, which seemed like a mansion after four crowded months in a tent. A few days after moving into their new home they drove to Stirling for groceries and supplies. A terrible blizzard came up and they became lost and wandered around until almost daylight, nearly perishing in the cold. There were no fences, no trees, and no landmarks to guide them, which made it very easy for a stranger to lose his way.

Years later one family member wrote in her journal:

"I remember coming to Raymond from Magrath for a little celebration the day the town site was laid and named by Apostle John W. Taylor. Some work was going on at the site of the new sugar factory and we went out there and were served a delicious dinner. I remember the building of the Ellison grain elevator and mill and the sugar factory and I still have a sample of the first flour and sugar that came from the mills. Building went up fast and little businesses sprang up. Soon we were a thriving little village with church and school. Our first church services were held in the mercantile building with the congregation sitting on nail kegs and benches.
A view of Raymond, Alberta in July 1904.
"After the storms cleared away we had lovely weather until the end of the year and we used to go visiting through the waist-high native grass. In those days we were a friendly group of people, always ready to help anyone in need. We could expect frost almost any month of the year, but since then the climate has moderated until we can raise most vegetables and many kinds of fruit, and the prairie blossoms as a rose."

A young unmarried building contractor of about 25 years, with others from Utah, arrived in Cardston on June 15, 1898. He and his brothers came by wagon and horseback over the rough wagon trail. He walked most of the way. Later his sweetheart arrived in Cardston and they were married on January 9, 1900. It was in the evening of September 4, 1901 that they, with their eleven-month-old baby, arrived in Raymond and set up a tent south of the town, living there until their frame house was finished. This contractor was the builder of many of the business buildings as well as many homes in the village.

Joe LaMar’s house in Raymond, Alberta. One pioneer woman was born in London, England, immigrated to America with her parents when two months old. They crossed overland to Utah, arriving in 1857. Many years later she came to Raymond with her six sons and three daughters and in her own words she tells of her journey:

"I sold out in 1901 and gave $140.00 for a railway car to bring our possessions to Canada. We went to Raymond to live. There were three tents put up that day and that was the beginning of Raymond. I was the first one to live in a house.
"We landed in Raymond on the 3rd of September in a very bad blizzard. My oldest son and three of his brothers came with the cattle and I came with five children on the passenger train. The night we arrived one of my cows had twin calves and both froze to death.
The Knight Sugar Factory near Raymond, Alberta in July 1904.
"The water at the time was infected with typhoid germs and, without knowing it, my son drank it. While we were still living in the tent he came down with the typhoid fever. As soon as they had the outside of the house finished we moved in. They could not finish the inside of the house for sickness. I had four sons with the fever. As soon as one would get better another would come down. I did not go to bed for three months, just rested my head on the side of the sick one's bed.
"In the spring of 1902 the people came fast and I was both doctor and nurse until a doctor came to the area. Then we were both busy. I have brought hundreds of babies into the world and nursed them and their mothers for ten days for five dollars a case. I never lost a case. In those days men made sleds to haul water in barrels. They came in the sleds for me in all kinds of weather. Many times they took me out into the country in 40 degrees below zero weather. They used to drive fast and I had to hang on with all my might."

Courtesy Evelyn Hendry from the Raymond Museum and Archives

See also:

[back] [First People and Settlers] [New Beginnings] [Adventurous Albertans]

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