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Journey to Raymond, Alberta

September 1901:

In the morning we followed the wagon tracks over the prairies in the light buggy. We were not unhappy but a feeling of quiet and strange loneliness crept over us. We were overwhelmed by the vastness of the grass-covered prairies as far as the eye could see. No houses, no fences, no trees, no signposts of any kind - just green prairie land everywhere. It was a beautiful sight, the stillness and vastness of which is etched in memory.

To Medicine River on the way to Canada: "We drove into the river and soon found ourselves being carried rapidly downstream. All we could see of our horses were their nostrils and ears. With the heavy trailer on the back it looked like we would all be drowned. I sat on the high spring seat beside my father and we fervently prayed for deliverance as we struggled to the opposite bank. Soon some Indians saw us and came galloping on their ponies. We knew that by the power of the Lord we had been lifted from the stream and the Indians seemed to know it too. They put their hands together and looked at the sun thanking the Great Father that our lives had been saved. Then they would touch us and point to the sun and pray in their language. We loved those people and they loved us."

August 11, 1901:

A small group of pioneers gathered around a buffalo skill which someone had picked up on the grass-covered prairie and placed on a spot near where the community center now stands. The act was a prelude to a very solemn occasion: the dedication of the land of what is now Raymond.

The handful of pioneers, about 150 total, left their comfortable homes and surroundings - the familiar, the known - to come to a strange land, the unfamiliar, the unknown. It took a great amount of determination and fortitude to meet the challenges which lay before them. They knew the way of ease was not the way of pioneering. They knew many sacrifices would have to be made before they could become established in this sparsely settled northern country. They remembered the trials of their parents and grandparents as they crossed the plains to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. These memories gave this handful of pioneers the courage to keep going. These were some of the things that raced through their minds that memorable day in August, 1901. "I shall never forget the spirit and good will, the friendliness, the faith and courage of that handful of pioneers," one man reported.

Excerpts from personal journals courtesy of Evelyn Hendry from the Raymond Museum and Archives.

See also:

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

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            For more on the history of settlement in Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.