Two days ago I posted an old-time article about families who boarded the teacher, sharing my Grandmother’s story about coming to Spy Hill, Sask, to teach. Today I’ll share my grandfather’s story of homesteading at Spy Hill.
Allen Vance and his father Sam arrived in the Northwest Territories in the fall in 1899 to check out the area. Sam’s brother was already homesteading near Neepawa, Manitoba; no doubt the prospect of 160 acres for $10 was appealing. Allen would be 21 in two months and could then file on for a homestead, too, and the two of them could work their land together. Mary (Mrs. Sam) and sixteen year old Will were left behind in Ontario to manage the farm there until they got back.
Sam and Allen would have trekked through an undulating land mostly rich in softwood trees, birch, poplar, and Manitoba maple with occasional patches of “tall grass prairie” until they reached the valley of the Little Cut Arm Creek, where the trees gave way to grassy hillsides. Allen picked out his quarter right beside this stream, not far from the town of Spy…
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