Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 14, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Saturday, 14, 1974 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 5 People of the south By Chris Stewart Vauxhall pioneer has a way with words THE VOICE OF ONE -By Dr. Frank Anyone who has exchanged ocean spray for drybelt country will understand Evangeline Matheson Warren's transition when she traded Prince Edward Island's seacoast for Southern Alberta. They were diametric opposites straddling the same continent one of white caps and rugged shorelines and the other bare, parched plains laced with gopher holes both seemingly endless in their expanse. But this sen- sitive writer cleverly cap- tured the beauty of both land- scapes. Her books of poetry, Songs of the Island, Prairie Panels and Echoes from my Song Tree reveal her equal love of seaweed, whipped waves, brown buffalo grass and wailing coyotes as do her two books, Seventy South Alberta Years, a biography of her late husband Bert and Andy the Milkman, dedicated to P.E.I, residents. The latter discloses her affinity with the crescent-shaped island in the mouth of the St. Lawrence, described by Jacques Cartier in 1535 as "low, level and but known to Evangeline Warren as home. This fifth-generation Cana- dian loves every inch of Canada The oldest among 10 children (six of whom were teachers) of Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Matheson of Dun- das, P E.I., she attributes her zest for learning and flair for writing to her teacher- mother, nee Lois Nelson, who quoted Wordsworth and Longfellow during her household chores and to her Gaelic-speaking father whose grammar was flawless. His family had emigrated to P E I from the Isle of Skye in 1820. He went south to New York in his 20s, prior to the Revolutionary War, returned to Dundas in 1884, when offered half of the family farm and served as justice of the peace, constable for the Scott Act, as a Baptist deacon, Sunday School teacher, school board member and as a cheese company shareholder. Mrs Warren's writing career, bridging 80 years, was initiated by a children's writing contest sponsored by the Montreal Weekly Witness. While serving for 40 years as The Herald's Picture Butte and Vauxhall correspondent (from 1927-1967) she started the profiles on Vauxhall pioneers which was a kind of precursor of the present "People of the South" series in which she is featured today. She wrote 10 years for the Calgary Herald and other prairie publications, ran the series Rose Alice Re- members, for the Summer- side (P.E.I.) Journal and taped a regular 15-minute program Personally Speaking, for the CBC in which she related various events in the life of a mine- operator's family. She completed her teacher's training, winning scholarships to MacDonald Institute, Guelph, and to Prince of Wales College in 1902, before taking graduate work in English and French and study- ing voice, piano and elocution at Acadia Seminary, Wolf- ville, N.S. She taught for five years at Albion Cross, St. Eleanor's and Victoria, P.E.I. before heading for Vancouver in 1910 to seek a B.C. position. Accompanying her by train were her sister Alice and brother Alva, posted respec- tively to teaching jobs in Bat- tle Creek, Alberta and Cheam, B C.; Leslie Coombs, assip- ed to a Crowsnest Pass school; and Dr. Ben Keeping, off to a remote Bella Coola, B.C. classroom. Evangeline was assigned to a Maple Ridge school, 40 miles east before being sent to Vancouver's MacDonald and Lord Nelson schools. Return- ing to P.E.I, in 1912 she head- ed west again in April, 1914 to injn hpr sister Florence teacher at Purple Springs and within a week the attractive, Maritime teacher was assign- ed to the one-room, nine-grade Battersea school, four miles east of Picture Butte. Boarding with the John Beiswangers, whose home housed a small grocery store, precipitated her chance meeting with friendly cowboy Bert Warren who stopped by for groceries the day she mov- ed in. They were married a year later, on August 4, 1915, in a quiet Lethbridge ceremony. Bert was born in Lethbridge in 1888. His father, Constable Falkland Warren of "K" Divi- sion of the NWMP had receiv- ed his captaincy in the Boer War serving with the Strathcona Horse and in 1887 had married Lethbridge's first school teacher, Edith Coe, who taught in the one- room Miner's school. The Coe's lived in the ferry house across from the Federal and Sheran mines where American Civil War veteran and former slave George Harding was ferryman. The young Mountie and his bride rented the small slab shack at Third Avenue and Fourth Streets, owned by the town's first harness-maker Harry Hutchinson, where son Bert was born. With Lethbridge range land quickly dwindling, the Coe family filed for two quarter sections east of Picture Butte. Bert's uncle Ernie hauled lumber on his draying-wagon along the old I. B. Baker Trail, through Twelve Mile to build a shack on the homestead, bert, 14, hired for his first round-up in 1904, at monthly (a sizeable sum in those days) rounded up cattle throughout the south as far as Gold Butte, in the Sweetgrass Hills over the next 10 years. Following his marriage to Evangeline the cowboy settl- ed down, rented William Whiteley's Battersea house, two miles south of the school and, with his bride, hauled furnishings on a bundle rack pulled by Flaxie and Punch, his pair of fine, heavy sorrels, from Stern's Store in North Lethbridge to his small home. Dubious settlers had dubbed the parched area "Next Year's Country" and Bert, hailed out, plagued with poor crops and losing his good Percheron stallion, decided it would be more advantageous to go out custom threshing with an old steam engine than wait for a yield of his own. The next year (1917) he bought a half section two miles from Picture Butte at an acre. There wasn't another house in sight when he hauled lumber from Becker's Lumber Company around the Malloy coulee to build his four-room house. The family moved in on April 19, just before a heavy snowfall prov- ed Bert's roof was far from leaf-proof. Tin cans were needed to catch the drips. Gradually Evangeline made friends with many immigrant women each determined to create a home on the withered plains. She helped Bert with the interior finishing, planted a prolific garden and taught again in 1918 when school board chairman, Henry Click reported the 15-pupil Twelve Mile Coulee school had closed due to lack of teachers. But the one-room schoolhouse was closed again when Spanish flu hit hard that winter. Bert turned to mining when their garden, replanted twice, still failed to produce even the price of the seed, and hauled hay in frigid weather from Henry Oliver's at Nobleford, often plodding along beside his horses through eight foot drifts. With coal in demand and wheat prices dropping in 1920, Tom Wright backed a note for Bert and persuaded him to apply for a lease on an idle mine on the coulee's west side. Bert repaired it, purchased the surrounding 60 acres in January, 1922, and moved his farm house four miles around the slough- bottom and east to the Warren mine. Here, perched on the coulee edge it faced gentle, flower-carpeted crevices and east to the Oldman River gorge where a cluster of "hogbacks" resembled the badlands. Coal customers from as far away as Claresholm slept on the Warren's floor and miners, working the midnight shift, stopped in for lunch before retiring. But in between the constant interruptions of a mine- manager's home Evangelint found time to write, play the Willis piano purchased while teaching at Battersea, and correspond with MPs about local and national issues. Propping up her machine on a well-lighted table she would type out her thoughts gathered d'iring her busy day. "There were notes and jot- tings all over the kitchen of things I had she recalls. "When I had time I would develop these ideas for my copy and poetry." Whether describing a fragile rose petal, a creaking wagon, straining team or a storm engulfing the coulee, Evangeline Warren had a way of telling it so sensitively her readers saw it with her. She never had a definite time for writing, just fitted it into her busy schedule as circum- stances allowed. She "wrote as the spirit moved she claims. She would sit calmly by her kitchen window observ- ing a violent storm, noting its fierce moods, the dust overhead hiding the sun and the devastation left in its wake. And somehow she would compare the scene to that of an uncontrolled in- dividual venting his anger at another's expense and likened the coulee's subsequent quietness when the storm sub- sided, to the remorse felt following such an outburst. In the midst of confusion she could retreat into a dream world of words and there, in solitude, transmit to paper the poetry which has so endeared her to her readers. "Coyotes make the weirdest music, laughing, wailing, on the she wrote, announced spring's arrival with, "the meadowlark's back again and sings at the door of my prairie home" and described the new irrigation ditch as "a deep, full river made by human hands." As chairman of Picture Butte school board, a member of the Women's Institute and superintendent of the Union Sunday School she covered their activities and other com- munity happenings for The Herald with such a flare her area was always well publicized. "The party line was a splendid source of infor- she recalls. "It overcame distance and loneliness. Strangers listened over long miles of open space and knew, or heard, more of the goings-on in the entire countryside than next-door neighbors do now in crowded cities." She knew one old Scottish lady who used to wait until the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve to ring up all those on her line to wish them a Happy New Year. But things were changing in the Warren mine area. With the opening of the sugar fac- tory on Clem Nimmon's quarter section in 1935 and Dave Young and Bill Scott opening a coal mine near the Picture Butte road, Bert Warren's coal business began to decline. Even Diamond City, Commerce and Coalhurst were ghost towns since a December un- derground explosion had kill- ed 16 men. Bert finally closed his operation and with the Se- cond World War went off to Fort Macleod and Kirkaldy to build hangars and to Warfield (near Trail) to install cement foundations. But by 1943 he was back in the saddle again. Appointed inspector of Vauxhall's com- munity pasture covering 7% townships, he rode hundreds of miles across the range checking cattle and keeping stray horses off the summer grass. The Warrens sold their mine property, renovated the Hart house east of Vauxhall, moved their belongings, planted a wind break and even raised an antelope as a pet. Evangeline sometimes joined Bert for a coulee picnic. Bert helped build the town's United Church, opened in March, 1953, with Winnifred Davis as lay preacher. He was ap- pointed to a similar summer position at Twin River, near Del Bonita and in 1963, follow- ing his retirement, at 65, open- ed his own insurance business operating it on a part-time basis until his death on July 15, 1972, at age 84. Mrs. Warren, 88 years old in January, finds "putting melodic words on paper an antidote for loneliness." This mother of son Archie, Iron Springs; two daughters, Lois Porter, Vauxhall; and Eileen Forchuk, Trent, Ontario; eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; finds she expresses herself best through her fingers in prose, poetry and music. She still writes to politicians and editors (she recently com- plained to the Weekend Magazine about the handling of Fort Macleod story) and spends most of her evenings playing many of her own com- positions. A student of current affairs, she'll bring you up to date on events in Israel, Turkey or northerly Nome and even tell you the hits of Maritime yodeller Wilf Carter. She was proud of her late husband Bert when, in honor of his mother Edith, he was asked to participate in the opening ceremonies at LCI, but no more than he was of his gifted wife from Anne of Green Gables' country, who, in writing his biography had captured so accurately the flavor and beauty of the raw prairie. Has Hinduism any answers? Mrs. Evangeline Warren A couple of brief book reviews "The Alpine Path" by L. M. Montgomery, (Fitzhenry and Whiteside Ltd., 96 Fans of L. M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, will enjoy reading her own story of her career. Published years ago in serial form, it now appears in a book. She describes her formative childhood years and their tremendous influence upon her writing, how certain in- cidents provided a source tor her material. Written in her usual witty style, the book is light and easy to read. One does wonder though, why she included her honeymoon travelogue at the end, which tells much about places but little about Lucy Maud. ELSIE MORRIS "Eureka: An Illustrated History of Inventions from the Wheel to the Computer" edited by Edward De Bono (Thames and Hudson, Id" x 248 pages, dis- tributed by Oxford University Short articles by experts on every significant invention in history are to be found in this impressively designed book. Of the four columns on each large page, the two inside ones are devoted to il- lustrations many of them in color. When the book lies open there are four columns of il- lustrations together, with two columns of type on each flank. The inventions are grouped under five main headings: man moving; man talking; man living; man working; key devices. Each section is preceded by an informative A photographic study of Italy "Roloff Beny in Italy" design- HltntfhrfrWAfftlfcA'f Ktr ttfllfttt MMW Beny; text and anthology by Anthony Thwaite and Peter Porter; historical notes by Brian de Breffny (McClelland and Stewart, 427 As one of today's most gifted photographers one has come to expect much from Roloff Beny. His travels around the world have resulted in a number of photographic masterpieces. This, his latest book, may sur- pass them all. It is a spectacular achievement; magnificent in design, breathtaking in its opulence, sweeping in scope, beautifully and hauntingly photographed. In short a visual delight. Although a native of Southern Alberta, Mr. Beny now makes his home in Italy. He says for over 25 years he has been "bewitched by the unique and legendary light of the Italian peninsula." In this volume we share his delight and love for his adopted country. He-takes us on a journey that travels the length and breadth of Italy from Sicily to the Alps, from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean. With unerring eye, Beny's camera gives us glimpses, albeit altogether too brief, of the land, of its people, but most of all its glorious anti- quity: its architecture, its ruins, its masterpieces of art, its religion. Accompanying the photographs, is a text by Beny's associates, Anthony Thwaite and Peter Porter and historical notes by Brian de "Religion has destroyed a brilliant young Indian professor told me passionately. "We have as many resources as China and could treble our production, but our religion has destroyed our morale and productive capacity." He must be disturbed by the prediction of Agehananda Bharati, the Austrian born Hindu who heads Syracuse University's anthropology department, that within 10 to 20 years the American population will be 10 per cent Hindu and Buddhist. Despite Nehru's efforts to secularize In- dia and legally separate state and religion, in no place in the world has religion a stronger grip or penetrate life more foundly. The Hindu writer, Govinda Das, hesitates to define Hinduism as a religion. It is "an anthropological process, all com- prehensive, all absorbing, all tolerant, all complacent, all complaint Hinduism is a vast conglomerate of faiths ranging from atheism to polytheism, a vast jungle of religious cults, customs, and sects, containing endless variety of exstacy, ritual, magic, demonism, and mysticism, deeply rooted in naturalistic monism and full of contradictions. Haunted by the transiency of life Hinduism is world fleeing, life denying, so that nowhere in the world is asceticism such an admired ideal. It is therefore an ex- ample of India's tragedy that Gandhi should be in the process of deification and his im- ages appear in the temples since Gandhi was so opposed to science, industry, and education. Hinduism is sometimes called "sanatna dharma" or eternal dharma, which defines religion as social custom and fixes every man in a group or caste which is irrevocable. Karma is the true Indian god, the power above all powers, embodying the law of cause and effect by which every word and action have eternal and inevitable consequences. The Vedas are the ancient scriptures which form the foundation for Hinduism, but there have been radical departures from their teachings. Reverence for asceticism is an ar- ticle of faith and supports the respectability of begging. The pantheistic faith at the heart of Hin- duism makes all plants and animals sacred, especially the cow to whom men raise their hats and, in a land of direst poverty, erect hostels. The doctrine of the transmigration of souls teaches that the soul takes up residence m some body in the next life, possibly that of an animal or. bug, and is utterly different from reincarnation Finally the soul, if for- introduction. Rounding out the book are: a chronological table; and index of names; and index of subjects. A wonderful book to have around the home to satisfy the curious both young and old. DOUG WALKER Breffny. As an added and delightful bonus, Mssrs. Thwaite and Porter have compiled a collection of thought and writings about Italy. Included here are personages of such diverse character, age and philosophy as Virgil, Pliny, Gibbon, Dante, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Goethe, Browning and Heine. A book for the traveller, the history buff, the art con- noisseur, the lover of good books and reading. A book for everyone. To be sure, it's a little more expensive than most ordinary books, even at today's prices. But this is no ordinary book. It's among those rarities that come only once in a while. When they do they are worth every penny of the cost. KLAUS POHLE tunate, is released in Nirvana. Hinduism is radically different from Christianity and there can be no reconcilia- tion between them. Christianity conceives God in history which moves toward the kingdom of God and has a concept of the church completely unknown in Hinduism. For the Christian and Jew God is a personal em- bodiment of righteousness and judgment, whereas in Hinduism God, if conceived at all, is an Essence to be grasped not in personal encounter but in religious or mystical ec- stasy. Hinduism is not theocentric but anthropocentric. Christianity has one God, while "there are enough popular gods in In- dia for a Hindu to worship a different one each day for a year." Hinduism has no absolute separation between truth and falsehood, while Christianity defines God in terms of truth. Christianity is supra national, but Hinduism is fundamentally nationalist and rejects other religions as foreign. Christianity believes that holiness requires involvement in righteous causes, but the Hindu demands withdrawal from all earthly things. Thus even Gandhi was not considered a truly holy man because of his political and social in- volvement. The historian, Esme Wingfield Stratford, tells a story in King Charles the Martyr. Talking to a learned Brahman in India he was astonished that he described Sivaji, founder of the Mahrattan Confederacy, as a holy man. "Yes, Sahib Sivaji very holy man." Winfield Stratford protested, "But, Patu Lai, you know Sivaji's record as well as I do treachery, robbery." "Sahib, I know. But I tell you what I would not tell another Sahib. Sivaji holy man, but Sivaji not man of good conduct." This would be im- possible for prophetic religion In Hinduism an absolute difference between good and evil is ridicuous. The truth of Hinduism lies in yourself, therefore through the exercise of Yoga know yourself and hence come into union with the supreme, universal spirit, Brahm. Leonard Bernstein says that the Indian music has had a preponderant influence on his musical writing, while a romantic attach- ment to Sanskrit classics has pervaded Western literature. One must admire per- sonalities like Sn Ramaknshna. But as my Indian friend contended, Hinduism has no answer to the poverty, anguish, hunger and squalor of India, but rather is a source of deep despair to the truly compassionate The University of Lethbridge APERTURE Dr. Colin Thomson Starvation and plenty 100 years ago Dr. Colin Thomson, whose teaching duties involve the history of education, and com- parative education, joined the faculty in 1971. He received his PhD from the University of Alberta, and M.A. from the University of Saskatchewan. The following account of the 1880 Christ- mas festivities at Fort Macleod was written by a guest at the NWMP function. The black faced items are from western Canadian newspapers reports of the time. Wording has not been changed. Readers might wish to make comparisons with today's have-have not society. Christmas always comes frosty, yet as a rule kindly; but on this occasion it put on winter's most threatening aspect. The day was savagely cold, and the wind blew a hurricane; but the wild storm had little effect in preventing a response to the hospitable letters of invitations issued by the two troops, "C" and Buffalo are near, and everybody is getting ready to make war on them Indians, freeman, and all. Great difficulty was experienced this year in obtaining evergreens, which had to be brought from the mountains, a distance of over 30 miles. Seven bands of buffalo, some of them numbering 50 head (were seen) between Fort Walsh and the Red Deer crossing. Spoils of the chase, stags heads, heads of the big horn or mountain sheep, buffalo horns, beautifully polished, with the arms of the troop in various devices, flags and many tastefully executed mottoes, adorned the walls. Round the stems and branches of the bronze chandeliers were gay wreaths of elaborately cut tissue paper, which, with the lights lit, had a very pretty effect. The government dealt out 1400 pounds of beef... to some destitute Indians at Edmon- ton. Just before dinner, Col. Macleod and lady, and the rest of the officers in full uniform, made a tour of the rooms, and expressed themselves as highly pleased at their hand- some appearance the government will soon have to feed the Indians or fight them. They are beginning to grumble a great deal, and there is a great scarcity of buffalo. Sitting Bull is encamped near Wood Mountain Police Post Dinner was now served in the "C" troop room, where the writer was a guest. There was the roast beef of Old England, juicy haunches of native venison, plates of roasted prairie chicken, and various made dishes, all prepared in a way that would have tempted a satiated epicure. (Travellers) confirm the reports of destitu- tion and dissatisfaction amongst the Blackfeet. Over 25 had died of actual starva- tion at the Blackfoot Crossing. When the solids were removed a tremen- dous Christmas plum pudding, with its huge mottled face steaming hot, made its appearance, flanked all down the table with various kinds of pastry, tarts and small mince pies. A struggling buffalo was killed at Eagle Creek last week. He was old enough to have known better than to venture there at this time. Plates passed to and fro rapidly, and in an incredibly short space of time you looked in vain for the left side of that tremendous dumpling. Now it was that an occasional hand stole quietly down and undid the lower vest button. Reliable information from Fort Macleod says that the Blackfeet are dying daily of starvation But the end was not yet. An excellent dessert of nuts and raisins, followed by many kinds of cake, among which was an incom- parable sponge, and two large three storey pyramid cakes for the head and bottom of the table. There are over Indians camped here (Fort Macleod) there is not the sign of a buffalo and life cannot long be sustained on wild turnips and what other roots they can gather the police are doing everything possible but their means are necessarily restricted. Between these toasts many very excellent songs were sung, especially one which the boys of the Fort designated as "Come all ye." There is nothing but accounts of suffering and starvation coming in from the plains, and the hunters agree in saying that there are no buffalo between here (Battleford) and the Cypress Hills. When they returned to their barracks, C. Troop and their guests went with them, and were entertained with music, singing and dancing. Quartermaster Sergeant Pocklington executed a spirited sailor's horn- pipe to the music of the violin. On ihe 26ih insiani ibe whole of ihe Indians united in performing their "hungry after which they had a talk with the lieute- nant governor. After having spent an exceedingly pleasant evening, it was somewhere about the "wee sma" hours of the morning that we took leave of our friendly hosts to seek our couches. One week Indians were entirely without food with the exception of a few gophers and bad to boil and eat grass to keep them alive. It is most surprising to see the patience of these people In leaving, Col. Macleod addressed a few kind words to the men, wishing them a happy and merry Christmas, and trusting that both they and he might be spared to meet as happi- ly on many similar occasions in the future. Our Edmonton correspondent mentions the arrest of a Cree Indian on the horrible charge of having killed and eaten his whole family consisting of his mother, brother, wife and five children during the. past winter.