Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 9, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
Saturday, Junt 1973 THI IRHMIDOt HKAID People of the south Chris Stewart Sharing even when they had nothing It's Ruggles' country up in south Vulcan. Almost everyone around Champion is related to smiling 91 year'old matriarch Granny (Violet) Ruggles. Her 223-mem- ber family includes nine chil- dren (one was deceased last August) SO grandchildren; 115 great grandchildren and 10 great, great grandchildren (plus in-laws) at last count, that is (the youngest member arrived the last Sunday of Every arrival is a mo- mentous event for Granny. She had expected her hundredth great-grandchild's birth to coin- cide with Canada's centennial (but missed by a mere six weeks) and considered the in- clusion of her first and 50th grandchild the highlight of her golden wedding anniversary. Courage, spiced with all the fun and antics of the Beverly Hillbillies, distinguishes Granny Ruggles' clan. Popularly known as the "35 (there weren't quite 35 only eight Roots aftd seven Ruggles'' children cram- med into the two-bedroom house on Section 33 of the sprawling Guess ranch) chil- dren slept cross-wise on beds, the floor and in the adjoining granary. The dwelling seemed to groan everytime someone turned over. A child nodding in s'eep was told to "Go up and sleep with (Gordon being anyone with an inch to "It was a wonderful life with everyone happy and full of ad- recaJk this gentle ncn- egenarian who deligiits to re- count the episodes of her men- agerie. Tenacity was their hallmark. Granny, daughter of the Burton Grays (who lost their three old- est children in three weeks from southern fever in Texas and travelled by covered wagon back to Osakis, Minnesota to save Mrs. Gray's life) was born in 1870, one of the four- child second family they raised in the midwest. On July 2, at ase 18. (after leaching years i she mairied Archie Ruggles, son of a Unit- ed Empire Lovalist. Her broth- er Ervine, who emigrated to Vulcan in 1910, managed the large ranch owned by H. A. Guess, president of the Ameri- can Mining and Smelting Com- pany who purchased it sight un- seen while travelling west from Chicago to Alaska. The Ja-pcr Roots (Mrs. Ruggles' brother- in-law and with tha'r children joined Ervine In 1916 with the Ruggles arriving at Champion the next year with two box cars of cattle, horses and necessary furniture, labell- ed settler's effects. "We were anxious to give our children a musical explains Granny. "Although I worked long hours waiting on tables in my father-in-law's Osakis hotel I couldn't earn enough to give them the oppor- tunities I wanted." Their arrival in March, 1917, resembled a circus as the 15 cousins (the Roots added five and the Ruggles three, later) reunited on the station plat- form, fairly rocked the small town, with the excitement con- tinuing far along the ranch road as the Roots and Ruggles shouted, "What's and "Look See." as the wagons rounded McGregor, Williams and Little Bow shorelines edging their Travers Dam ranch. The arrival days were spent exploring the treeless ranchland, replete with wild life and studded with gopher holes and endless knolls. Next to join the rollicking brood were Granny and Grandpa Gray. But somehow Grandpa hadn't reckoned with prankster's tricks. Squirted through the ceiling's knot hole the day he dozed in the living room chair he finally sought quieter lodgings at son Er- vine's ranch home five miles away returning by horseback daily to visit Grandma Gray. "He couldn't stand cur noise and confusion but kept us lis- tening for hours to his Revolu- tionary War stories and how he could shoot gophers right be- tween the laughs Gran- ny. When, in 1920, the Ruggles, Granny Gray and three local families decided to try their fortune in B.C. and 21 of them filed onto the Champion train the agent feared the town's de- sertion but the population swel- led again upon their return two years later when Grandad Rug- gles was made Guess ranch manager. Granny Gray ruled the house- hold with an iron hand often chasing a youngster round the windmill, near the lake, to mete out punishment. She baked five assorted pies and bread every morning while flaughters Violet and Lillie (Mrs. Harry Ely of Claresholm, the former Mrs. Jasper Root) operated the cook cart for an at- tractive ?7.50 per The horse-drawn cafe was equipped viih portable tables seating 15- 20, a fold-down bed and a bux- om corner cook stove with a hole dug under the rear of the cart to cool the perishables. Arom- as of steaming coffee and berry pie sifted across the fields with a sharp blast from Granny's vh'stle bringing the hungry harvesters scurrying to the CC--OK cart door. Sunday family dinners brought the Roots and Ruggles (plus as many as 30 guests) for two sittings and early mornings saw the young- er children (as many as 17) enjoying a hearty cook cart breakfast before hurrying off five miles to the Yetwood school. "How did you feed so I asked this gener- ous woman. "The Lord always she replied appreci- atively. "We had our own meat and a huge garden. We never turned anyone away not even once." "How were you sure the en- tire brood was bedded down at I queried. "Just by in- stinct, I guess. Just like the day I sensed son Wayne was miss- ing and found him sleeping in the wheat field." "And how did you manage in winter months with all those children "Why, they only slept and ate indoors, even in she explained. "They tended the 200 chickens, fished through the ice, hunted and trapped and in evenings would wind up the player piano (Granny's version of a musical exposure pur- chased from a travelling sales- man) and sit around enjoying melodies." She credits the practice with the Ruggles' love of singing (they enjoy lively hymn-sings when they get to- Two of her grand- daughters-in-law, Harriet and Merlene Ruggles are church pianists, a grandson-in-law, John Wilson, has his doctorate of music and several partici- pate in quartets and vocal groups. "Everyone worked and even through the tough depression no Ruggles ever accepted re- she reports proudly. The older boys harvested, manned trap line's, fished commercial- ly (a cost on'y thai compared to today) and served as guides with their earnings shared to keep the large brood solvent. Weasels brought coyotes, and badgers with buyers calling by regularly to purchase pelts for eastern firms. The successful hunt of Ike Elins and Les McDonald of Priest Lake, Idaho, initiated grandsons Frank and Tom's guiding career along this Rocky Mountain flyway. Since then, hunters from as far as Chicago have rolled in with elaborate vehicles each fall. The Rug- gles dynamite five foot pits in various ranch locations coyer them with reed-laced wire, climb in and examine the sky. "No hunter we have ever invited has gone home reports Ross proudly. He re- futes current reports that geese and ducks are declining. "Only the trout are less he says. "Just the other day I heard of a man catching 70 perch and pike working two hooks at a time." He fears an increase in farm produce pric- es if the smaller farm disap- pears. "When we sell steers we accept offered prices but if big operators take over they wifi get what they he warns. Ruggles' family reunions have been held at Little Bow Park and the Wayne Ruggles1 farm in Lomond. The latter three-day affair in July, 1971, drew more than 300 relatives and friends from as far away as Los Angeles with the Rug- gles' brothers supplying the chicken, beef and fish and other family members the rest. Wajme served hot cakes, bacon and eggs every morning. Gran- ny and her sister Lillie (91 and 92 respectively) were feted by 100 friends and relatives at a joint birthday party held at the Champion Hall last December. Eight of Granny's nine children were on hand for her recent Mother's Day celebration. Tins keen life member of both the Social Credit party (she always listened to the late Premier Aberhart on radio) and the Women's Missionary Society of the Champion Evan- gelical Free church retains her Champion home, (purchased after the family left the ranch) and although residing in the Peler Dawson Lodge in Vul- can this past year manages to get home occasionally to tend her garden and entertain friends in the usual Ruggles' manner. Her dining room table has been jammed for years. She never knew how many to expect but was habitually pre- pared. Her latch was always open and everyone welcome. Grandma Gray died at the ranch in 1933 and Grandad Rug- gles in the Carmangay hos- pital in 1954. Four of her offspring are mis-, sionaries serving in Venezuela, New Guinea, the Phillipines and Bolivia with one retired from Alaskan service. Her im- mediate family includes Royal, Three Hills; Bert, Ponoka; Amy and Lorena Steeves of Hoodley and Meeting Creek, re- specti'-ely (who married broth- Ross, still on the Guess ranch; Wayne at Lomond; (Rcss rnd Wayne married sis- ters) Bcb, Champion; Doran, Red Deer and Harry in Vene- zuela. A daughter, Leone Eden- loff of Donalda was deceased in 1970. Granny Rugbies has a kindly manner, a deep Christian faith, keen sense of humor, warm smile and sparkling eyes. Her face lights up as she recalls the excruciating years of hail and drought when "we just put seed into the ground and left it and bow miraculous- ly their needs were provided. Like the time they managed to raise the necessary to bring in a carload of apples from the to provide all the settlers with a bit of fruit for the winter. A touch of mischief shows through as she recalls her do- mesticity. "Want to keep a hus- band happy? she asks, "Just let him have his own way. I always said yes, but did what I wanted." The judge's conclusion when Granny applied for Canadian citizenship is shared by all who know her. Asked what she had contributed to Canada dur- ing her Alberta residency she began to rhyme off the names of her offspring when the kind- ly judge interrupted with, "I Mrs. Ruggles, you have indeed made a valuable contri- bution to and with a smile, handed her her papers. GRANNY VIOLET RUGGLES Photo by Bill Groenen Book Reviews Reduced to a mere mortal "The FDR Memoirs, A Speculation On by Bernard Asbell (Doubteday and Company, 461 This book is, as stated in its title, a speculation. That is, author Asbell has been given access to personal papers of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and has attempted to ccmstruct a mieniVir as if he were, in fact, the late U.S. president. The memoir doesn't quite work. There is always the doubt that Asbell has allowed opinion to replace fact. AsbeU, in fairness, doesn't try to pass his book off as an actual memoir. He goes to great lengths to explain that his "memoir" is simply specu- lation. What saves this book, and makes it well worth the time required for study, are a series of seven "backgrounders" to each chapter of "memoir." Tnere are a number of fas- cinating insights into the life of Franklin Roosevelt, his early domination by mother Sara (which was to continue until her death in his escape from an assassin's bullet in 1933 at Miami, his marriage and awkward relationship to cousin Eleanor, the effect of mother Sara on the cousin-wife of the president, the subsequent liai- son between FDR and his sec- retary Marguerite (Missy) Le- Hand. The reader Is ushered into the Roosevelt dining room, where husband Franklin and mother Sara sit at each end of the dining table (wife Eleanor sits at the The reader is a guest in the Roosevelt living room, where two chairs by the fireplace are reserved for husband Franklin and mother Sara (wife Eleanor sits where she There almost seems to be a conspiracy in this book, be- tween author Asbell and FDR's daughter Anna Roosevelt Hal- sted, to increase the personal stature of Franklin Roosevelt by belittling Eleanor. The president is cast in the light of a crippled giant, forced to overcome not only his physi- cal handicap but also his dull, unsympathetic wife. It is also apparent, in this that Roosevelt was not as much interested in the working man of America as he was in strengthening the De- pression ridden financial in- stitutions to which he was so closely aligned." Conclusions about Roosevelt, his years in politics and his ac- tions as a man, are left to the reader. Asbell leaves many questions unanswered, possibly for two reasons: time has softened the memories of many persons who lived through the Roosevelt ad- ministrations, and, the only man who can clarify specula- tion is dead. If nothing else, this book re- duces the man who was a sa- viour to millions during the De- pression and the Second World War to the status of mere mortal. Perhaps it's a good thing. HERB LEGG Accounts of northland explorers "Tundra" by Farley Mo- wat (McClelland and Stew- art, 415 That vast expanse of land be- tween the tree line and the Arc- tic Ocean stretching from Hud- son Bay to the Pacific Ocean, known as the Barrens, is a for- bidding territory which has ne- vertheless attracted a variety of visitors. In this book, the last of a trilogy, Farley Mowat has collected the accounts of some of the visitors. Ten items constitute the bill of fare in this book beginning with Samuel Hearne's 1769-72 expedition from Hudson Bay to the Coppermine River and end- ing with seme vignettes by Thierry Mallet, a 20th century trader. Each entry is accom- panied by a map and com- ments by Farley Mowat. Almost all the people involved in these stories suffered starva- tion and some died. The grim story of Franklin's return trip from Bathurst Inlet to Fort Enterprise is here; so also is the diary account by an 18 year old Englishman, Edgar Christian, of a vain attempt by three men to survive a winter on the Thelon River, ending just before his own death. Although Farley Mowat's cri- ticism of the intruders' despoli- ation of the Barrens is prob- ably justified, these accounts do not tend to demonstrate de- structiveness. The travellers re- quired large numbers of ani- mals for food but they were not wasteful; instances of wastefulness by the natives ap- pear even in the time of Hearne before the white man's adverse influence could be held respon- sible. All the accounts are absorb- ing but the prize for writing would have to go to the trap- per whose vignettes come at the end. His story of the de- mise of a tribe of Eskimos is sad in the extreme yet beauti- fully written. Farley Mowat has done us a service in making this material available in a single volume. It would be possible no doubt to find these stones in our li- braries but it would require more effort than most would expend. Besides, Farley Mowat has mcdernized the style of the older chroniclers making the reading easier and more pleasant. This is a book to prize and to send the reader after the other two in the trilogy should they have been missed. DOUG WALKER The Voice Of One -By. DR. FRANK S. MO3LEY How? can ive be so stupid? There fa PO man who looks honsstly at his life who does not ask himself, "How could I have been so Most of a man's troubles begin within himself. Like the Prodigal Son in the parable of Jesus, he takes his life in his two hands and deliberately ruins it, ending up eating the husks of life. It is as if he had a second self that plotted against the sane, con- structive self. Hal Caine has a story about a man who had an enemy who burned his ricks and destroyed his crops. So he laid in wait for him one night. When he ssized him, he found it was himself. Asked what character he disliked most, Charles Kings- ley replied, "My own." Hasn't everyone felt at some time or other a self-disgust not so much with his sin as his stupidity? A poet named Sill told of a monarch's command to the court jester to make a prayer. "He bowed his head, and bent his knee Upon tha monarch's silken stool; His pleading voice arose, '0 Lord, Be merciful to me, a Of a political assassina- tion by Napoleon, Meltemich remarked that it was worse than a crime; it was stupidity. There must have been many times in exile that Napoleon groaned, "God, be merciful to me, a Our world has unlimited reason for such a prayer. What a mess men make of this good earth Dr. L. P. Jacks said of the world war, "I cannot get away from the fee'ing that I am in the presence of a colossal stupidity." Who could look at the arms race, pollution, the bombings in Ire- land, the Viernam War, the Watergate scan- dal, and the tragedy that has destroyed British political careers without such a feeling? Bunyan tells how the Pilgrim met some people from the Town of Stupidity and he told them that town was more dangerous to mankind than the City of De- struction itself. Thus a man like Goering said that when- ever anyone began to talk about intelli- gence he reached for his revolver. Hitler boasted, "I think with my blood." Stalin said that when a man's ideas were too strong for you, strike at his skull. Khru- shchev blamed the Hungarian uprising on the intellsctuais and said that if he had a chance to shoot them ''my hand would not tremble." Walter Bagshot, who wrote so in- telligently on constitutional matters, thought stupidity was the source of land's strength. "I need not say that, ia real sound stupidity the English are un- rivalled. In fact, what we opprobiously call stupidity is nature's favorite resource for preserving steadiness of conduct and consistency of opinion." What a stupid remark! In the stoning of Stephen in the Book of the Acts it is recorded that "they closed thair ears" and "gnashed on him with their teeth.'' Mobs do that always. From Isaiah to Jesus the prophets deplored the closed ears and hard hearts of mankind. The saints on the other hand were thinkers. At Pentecost "tongues of fire" came on their heads, which have besn described as halos. So the early church "out-thought, out-lived, and out-died" their rivals. The story of the Prodigal Son says that "he came to himself." He suddenly be- came sane. H. G. Wells wrote about "a world gone sane." a wonderful world that would be! No time for apathy By Chris Stewart, Herald staff writer Public apathy on civic and provincial matters is general until some controver- sial issue arises pi evoking taxpayers to protest announced planning, proposed de- velopment, rezoning and street closures. On such occasions Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer as- sume their lone dissent and viewpoint are important and worth noting. If they didn't they would keep quiet. Organized protests have blocked plan- ned developments (such as the proposed Lake Louise have squelched high- rise construction and saved parkland. All it requires is one lone dissenter feeling strongly enough about an issue and gain- ing the support of other like-minded citi- zens. Together they can accomplish what one individual could never do alone. It appears the public is apathetic about development in the Oldman River Basin and Southern Alberta in general. At least the limited number of briefs presented for public hearing slated for the Yates on June 13 and 14 would indicate this is the case. Or is the public unaware of what is involv- ed should wilderness areas be sliced into commercial plots or water sources mutil- ated by energy industries? Thinking Southern Albertans know more recreational areas in the Crowsnest are mandatory. Should speculators with multi- million-dollar dreams eat up the crown lano within the Bow River Basin of The Rockies, leaving the unpretentious vacation- er to camp in the scrub while the deep, virgin forests are fenced off for those who can afford luxury holidays? Should citi- zens demand that methods of fuel extrac- tion be more adequately refined to mini- mize environmental impact, especially where water lesources are concerned, with provincial financial returns adequate to warrant the extraction? Should the Al- berta taxpayer sacrifice unique heritage land for a pittance lo support a push-button society over-ir.dulped and undisciplined in energy utilization? Or should it be frown- ed on? It is certain the speculator and big busi- nessman will be heard at the public haar- ing. But what about the ordinary He'll be heard if he speaks up. It is getting him to express his views that seems to be the problem. It is only through public and corporate reaction the gov- ernment will establish a policy of land use priorities betwesn commercial, recre- ational, wilderness and resource develop- ment schemes for the area. The future of the eastern watersheds is in the public's hands. The outcome may affect Lethbridge homeowners who might not get enough water to keep their lawns green if the Oldman River basin is affect- ed. Preservation of wilderness areas is not just a whim, or a preference for fishing in a clear brook, it is to realize the im- portance of preserving outstanding beauty spots of historical and archaeological im- portance; it is to have a deep sense of re- sponsibility toward those generations yet unborn a reflection of our sense of val- ues handed on to our children for them to cherish and enjoy. Presenting a brief doesn't call for great oratory, penmanship or secretarial skill merely an individual's written view of how he feels this great expanse of crown land should be utilized. A brief could deter- mine the area's future. It is that import- ant. Blight college yearsl From The Wall Street Jonrnal What did college students learn in the four turbulent years from 1967 to 1971? The American Council on Education has given us a rather curious answer, based on a survey of college freshmen in 1967, and followed up with the same respondents as seniors in 1971. The students had b> come less concerned with wealth, business success or personal status. At the same time, more than two-thirds agreed with the statement: "Much of what is taught at col- lege is irrelevant to what is going on in the outside world." One conclusion, drawn by Dr. Alan E. Bayer, co-author of the report: colleges "are not offering a total environ- ment in which students can develop their personhood." We beg to differ. If someone holds erne opinion as a freshman and has entirely changed his mind four years later, one would think lie had learned something in the meantime. Perhaps he learned the principles of scholarship, and decided that a life could profitably be spent in penetrat- ing the mis-statements and distortions of popular opinion. He might have learned that some books give better advice than the whims of the "outside world." He might have developed some talent or ac- cepted the discipline of some art, to ttie infinite betterment of his "psrsonhood." He might even have learned in some social science course how pre-suppositions can be hidden in survey questionnaires. Of course, given the atmosphere on cam- pus during that period, it is possible these students agree with Dr. Bayer. Perhaps they would prefer a total environment in which they can mimic the outside world without accepting its costs. Perhaps their opinions changed not because of anything they learned but because they had moved into a different climate of opinion, to be accepted with r.o more question than their parents accepted theirs. If this is indeed the case, we find it hard to blame the college rather than the student. Higher edu- cation in America represents a gift of four years for study and contemplation, made possible on the widest scale in his- tory by our enormoxis wealth and produc- tivity. It is a shame to think it could be wasted so lightly. Initiation into the mysteries By Doug Walker Tee time was in the afternoon. Al- though I impressed on Elspeth the fact that supper would have to be early it wasn't and I had to make a mad dash to the course to keep faith with my friends and the starter. All I said when I ran panting to the tee box was that my wife doesn't understand the significance of such things as tee times. My cronies nodded sympathetically. "I got my wife plajing go'f this said Fern Bouchard. "I don't have any trouble now about things like that She understands."