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 north, 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.
Sears 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 Nantons 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.
Sears 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.
Copyright © 2003
Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved