Peace Country Pioneer Babies

Anyone who has ever known a baby has a baby anecdote to tell.  Peace Country pioneers were no different.  Luckily, some of them recorded their tales and passed them down to us so we can have a glimpse into the business of being a baby decades ago.

Hugh MacIntyre, an E.D. & B.C. “secret agent” wrote an anecdote in his diary about an encounter with a baby during his trip out here.  It seems to have stuck in his craw a little:

The boys came back soon and we got under weigh once more and made the Frenchman’s in good time for dinner. It was here that the baby chewed up the little mice while the rest of the family looked on and said nothing. Saw this baby and a fat chubby little “it”–it is. Mice must be good for babies. Could not help but think of this episode yesterday when eating dinner–but sat tight and gulped down many varied and mixed thoughts & feelings along with the grub–concerning young mice and the aforesaid grub and at the end of five minutes rose from the table–full as a little “red wagon.”

P.S.  The Frenchman’s was Auger’s Stopping Place on the Edson Trail.

Old-timer Mervin Simmons recalled some memories back in the 50s.  One involved a ride on the famous E.D. & B.C. (Extremely Dangerous and Badly Constructed?) railroad:

I remember a trip I made from Edmonton to Spirit River over the E.D. & B.C. The couple across the aisle had a baby. In the morning they showed me the marbles of butter in the baby’s milk, and the baby’s bottle.

Settlers didn’t let the impending birth of a baby impede their westward progress.  At a recent family reunion celebrating the centennial of the Turner family’s arrival in the Peace, descendents retell the story of their ancestor’s birth:

David Turner was the first baby to be born on the Edson Trail. He was given the middle name Edson to mark that occasion and Kuykendall [his great grandson] shares the same middle name. Travelling the trail to their homestead near Kleskun Lake wasn’t easy, but it was a time when people looked out for one another, he noted.

“When they stopped for the birth, they were overloaded and had to change from sleighs to wagons halfway in between. There was a stove and a piano that was put off the side of the trail and picked up next winter. That’s how honest people were,” said Warren Moore, Garrity’s sister.

If you have a Peace Country story about babies or pioneers, or mice or sleighs or butter, Town Spirit would be pleased to help you share it.  Just email  If you liked this post, please leave a comment!

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One Response to Peace Country Pioneer Babies

  1. I’m so happy we live in modern times!!!!

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