The Poet Pioneer Agriculturalist of the Peace

If you can watch your feed bins running empty,

And find no chance to thresh a load of grain;

Can see your fallow greening as a meadow,

With weeds and grass throughout two months of rain;

From Peace River “If” by W.D. Albright

W.D.  Albright was, whole-heartedly, a Peace Country pioneer.  From 1913, when he and his wife Eva Belle ventured west on steamboats and covered wagons, W.D. threw himself into every aspect of agriculture.  Within a year of filing for his own homestead, he was actively researching ways to improve crops.  He played a major part in founding the Beaverlodge Dominion Eperimental Sub-Station and was its first superintendent from 1919 -1945.

Albright wrote countless scientific works as well as a long-running weekly agricultural column called “Timely Hints”.  20 western Canadian newspapers carried his articles.  He lectured across the Peace Country, often accompanying his talks with glass lantern slides of photographs he had taken during research expeditions.  That collection is now housed in the South Peace Archives.  You can read W. D. Albright’s biography here.

Albright also wrote poetry.  He may have been the first Peace Country Poet.  Some copies of Poems of W.D. Albright 1881 – 1946 are still to be found, but this electronic version from the University of Alberta is the easiest to access.  For all his ambition, Albright likely never imagined his articles and poems would be read 60 years on using computers and the world wide web!

W.D. Albright, researcher, teacher, farmer and writer, left a host of legacies behind in this area.  His lectures reached hundreds first hand (including a number of famous and powerful people), and his writing, photographs, and enhanced farming techniques are still influencing the way things work in western Canada.

Someday, you might stop by W. D. Albright’s cairn in Beaverlodge, placed in honour of an uber-pioneer.

If you know someone who should be a featured person on Town Spirit, send the name, information, or just a whole post to townspirit@hotmail.com!

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