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Stephen Snow Sears (1891-1975)

Agriculture innovator Stephen Snow Sears was born into a farming life in Silkville, Kansas, the third son of six children. The family worked a homestead until 1910, when, after hearing of free farmland on the Canadian Prairies, they packed up and headed patent record for this inventionnorth, moving to Nanton, Alberta. At the time, Sears was attending college in Topeka, Kansas, but he eventually moved along with the rest of the family to help start their new life in Canada.

Stephen Snow SearsSears quickly settled into his life in Nanton, soon participating in community sports, including pitching for the local baseball team and breaking the provincial record for high jump. He further planted roots in the area, and by 1917, with his young bride Beth Wright, he purchased a ranch, which the couple would go on to farm for 35 years. To make ends meet in the Depression years of the 1930s, they pursued a number of ventures on the family farm, including raising Aberdeen Angus cattle, and silver foxes and mink for their fur.

Sears became a member of the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) in 1913, and went on to serve as secretary. In 1918, he was elected to the board of directors for the McLeod constituency, and the provincial executive in 1920. Sears served with Nanton’s United Grain Growers (UGG) for 42 years, and was elected to the board of directors in 1922. He was also a founding member of Alberta Wheat Pool, established in 1923.

ThistleSears was an agricultural innovator and patented an invention, a weed killer, in 1929, and, as well, modifying a stook loader by adding additional wagons and a motor to it. This alteration enabled the machine to do the work of six men and 12 horses.

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