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2. The Farmers Get to Saskatchewan, 1890 - 1910

Here They Come...

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Long before there was Prince Albert, Melfort, Yorkton, Regina, Weyburn, Estevan, Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Saskatoon, North Battleford and Lloydminster, and towns and villages in between and up above, there were farmers and those who dreamed of farming.

(courtesy: www.virtualsk.com)

thumbnailThey came because railways were built and free homestead land was offered to settle the West, while immigration schemes drew people from the British Isles, western and eastern Europe. Streams of settlers from the USA joined them. Did they come with machines? These homesteaders came with oxen, horses, wagons, root-grubbers, tools and household goods.They brought or bought the main implements that would open the West: the walking plow, scythes, sickles, and eventually mowers, reapers, binders once technology progressed. By the 1890s, the T. Eaton Co. catalogue was carrying farm implements of all sorts and American firms were inventing implements for their own farmers, who had settled their own West earlier by a few decades.  This was geared very much for horse power. Up until the 1920s, there were more horses in the West than people. The homesteader had to be tough to survive.


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What Opened the West

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thumbnailHitched to oxen or horses, single furrow walking plows heroically sliced the prairie sod, with homesteaders getting plenty of exercise walking along behind them.  Often that was after he or she  cleared the trees, gathered tree roots and picked stones.  Tough, lonely work for many a young man and woman.  Kids worked too.  To get a homestead, it had to proved up, which meant that a minimum of 15 acres had been cultivated within three years, and other improvements such as building a barn, or a fence had been made, and the homesteader had lived on the land for the required length of time.

What’s an acre?

Farmer Plough
 
Farmer Specs
Why, that’s 160 square rods,
4,840 square yards, 43,560 square feet,
or…in metric measure: 0.4047 hectares.

What’s a hectare?
Farmer Plough
Oh, go look it up in a dictionary!

Caveman Crab

Want to Go for a Ride?
One Horse, per Acre, per Day.

Line of draftThen came the riding plow, a big advancement the ease of working the fields because now you could ride, well, jolt along anyway. Gangplows, ploughs with several blades to make parallel furrows, could be drawn by as many as six horses.