This week we take a look at some of these homesteading histories from southeast of Pincher Creek. These agricultural pioneers each claimed a stake near St. Henry’s Church, located prominently on a hill top in the Yarrow District.
PIONEERS CHARLES AND JOSEPHINE AGE
Charles Age (1872 – 1945) hailed from Baden Baden, Germany and came out west in 1904 by route of the American State of Iowa. He filed on two homesteads, one of which was the Southeast Quarter of Section 30 Township 4 Range 28 West of the 4th Meridian. This is just a short distance northeast of St. Henry’s Church.
Improvements made to this quarter included both farming and ranching endeavours. Age noted that nearly 150 acres were suitable for cultivation and he had 95 of these ploughed as well as seeded by 1907. The implications were that most of the rest of the property could be grazed as none of the land being covered in swamp. Here Age had ten horses, 31 head of cattle and four hogs during the proving up years. He constructed an 18 by 32 foot house valued at 1,000 dollars, an impressive sum for a dwelling of the pioneer era. There appears to have been two granaries and stables built. One pair was valued at one-hundred dollar while the second, a combined unit measuring 30 by 34 feet, was worth five-hundred dollars. In the yard was a six foot deep water well. Surrounding the homestead was one and three-quarters miles of fencing valued at 175 dollars. Age’s application for this quarter was dated October 5th, 1903 and he received title to it effective July 13th, 1908.
In 1905, Charles Age was joined by his wife the former Josephine Speth (1878 – 1941).
HOMESTEAD EAST OF ST. HENRY’S CHURCH
James and Jennie Devlin resided on their homestead east of St. Henry’s Church. The spread was located on the northwest quarter of S10 T4 R28 W4th. James Devlin filed on it effective June 26th, 1901 and received title to it on November 20th, 1905. The quarter’s potential was in terms of farming which Devlin successfully pursued. In 1902, ploughed and seeded a dozen acres. Three years later, he had 115 acres in crops. He did not raise cattle but horses were featured on the property. He stared with three head which increased to eleven by 1905. Devlin also constructed a series of homestead buildings. A fourteen by sixteen farm housed was valued at two-hundred dollars. A granary also had the same value. Nearby was a stable worth one-hundred dollars. Approximately two miles of parameter fencing had a value of two-hundred dollars.
The American born and raised Devlin became a British Subject as of July 22, 1905. His naturalizations papers were included in his homestead file which was rather unusual but adds to his genealogy. Devlin hailed from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he was born in April 1864. His ancestry was Irish and he worshiped in the Roman Catholic faith. While residing on the homestead, he was closely connected with St. Henry’s Church. Historical folklore indicates that James and Jennie Devlin returned to the United States shortly before the start of the First World War.
FRED KLUG’S RANCHING HOMESTEAD
Fred Klug (1863 – 1940) too was a pioneer personality from the Yarrow district. He hailed from Hessen, Germany, immigrating to Canada in 1903 when he was forty years of age. Klug became a British Subject eight years later, effective September 16, 1911. His Certificate of Naturalization too was filed with his homestead records.
Klug homesteaded south of St. Henry’s Church, on the northeast quarter of S14 T3 R29 W4. He filed on this property on August 15, 1905 and received title for it eight years later, effective September 2nd, 1913. The property was exclusively used for ranching purposes. Klug had up to fifty head of cattle there during the proving up years. Stock was supplemented by close to a dozen horses. No acres were ploughed and seeded. His dwelling was a one-storey frame house measuring sixteen by twenty feet. It was valued at 225 dollars. He also had a 16 by 20 foot granary. A stable of unspecified dimensions was worth one-hundred dollars. Fencing surrounding the quarter had a value of 150 dollars.
Homesteading indeed has left a rich agrarian legacy in southwestern Alberta.