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Bentley, Settlement

Before settlers flowed into the Blindman Valley, the great Cree Chief, Maskepetoon (meaning Broken Arm) from the early 1800s made his influence known. On the top of the Sunset Hill he learned through his fasting vision that he must make peace with his traditional enemies, the Blackfoot Nation. Early missionaries in the area came to know him as the "Great Man of Peace."

By 1895, homestead land came available in the Blindman Valley. Families and bachelors from all walks of life from the United States, England, Scandinavia and Europe came flocking in to reap the touted spoils of this fertile green valley. They travelled by train to Lacombe and then by horse and wagon or oxen and on foot. Supplies were hauled from Lacombe to the east side of Gull Lake, loaded on a boat, the "Sea Gull," and carried over to Brownlow's Landing on the south end and then delivered to the settlement of Bentley.

The first settlers arrived in the district during the years of 1888 to 1900 and were mainly from the United States. A post office mailing address was needed, so possible names were collected. The Government chose the name on the top of the list being Bentley (an early homesteader) and the village was named. The name Oxford was given to the first School District. The post office was first located in the mercantile store with W.B. McPherson as first postmaster and storekeeper. The second storekeeper was Ben Cook and Sons.

Bentley Street View

Bentley Street View