Drumheller Heroes | DrumhellerMail
Last updateSat, 20 Jul 2024 10am

Carson Brown of Browns’ Dairy recalled by daughter

    Joyce Lyons, nee Brown, now of Strathmore, submitted to The Mail her story of her hero, and that is Carson Brown, her father.
    My Drumheller Hero was my dad: Carson Brown (Browns’ Dairy). He was a genuine kind, compassionate, caring person.  People rich or poor, whatever colour or religion, made no difference to him, he thought of and treated everybody the same. 
    He owned and operated Brown’s Dairy and gave away so much milk that was never paid for.
    My dad never wanted to see children go without.  I know he paid for loads of coal to some families whom were unable to provide for themselves let alone pay their milk bill. 
    He also looked after some of the single men maybe not able to do well enough to quite make it on their own. 
    He provided for cats at the dairy garage with cat food “just in case” the hunting wasn’t  so good!  There was a boiler in the garage and it kept those little creatures warm during the cold weather.
     When I was in Junior High School, next to Drumheller Central School, he acquired an International snub nosed truck. He would pick me up and the other kids from North Drum, on cold winter days, and we’d be packed in like sardines.  If he couldn’t get everyone in he would make a second run.
    From Boy Scouts to school functions he provided the little chocolate milks for all the kids.  One time he was given a little lapel pin from the scouts in recognition.  We were so proud when he went off to this dinner, not knowing he was to receive this little gift. 
    He never thought of himself and was always bringing home stray cats and dogs and they just knew he was a good person and would trust him.
    My dad was proud of Drumheller. He supported the town in many ways.  Every July first he would have a float in the parade and gave his best to all the various community endeavours.
    When Dad passed away, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church In Drumheller held a Mass, and he wasn’t a Catholic but Anglican. This had never been done before and I do not know if it has happened since.  This was a wonderful thing they did.  It was quite an honour people thought so much of him. 
    He was a good husband, father, and grandfather. I hope he has a special place in heaven because he deserves it.  He was my definition of a Christian.
     I learned a lot from my hero and try to pass it on to my family, which seems to be working.  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Everyday heroes

    If there was anything learned through the Drumheller Heroes is that there were some remarkable people who built the Drumheller Valley.
     Through 2011, The Drumheller Mail, in celebration of its centennial, featured profiles of some of the figures who make up Drumheller colourful past.  These ranged from the first adventurers that scratched out a living on the land, to some community builders, heroic and sometimes notorious.
    It is amazing how it seems only at times of milestones do people take a look back. In newspapers the day to day grind of getting out the most up to date information to readers often trumps reflection of a community’s accomplishments. Truth be known, often the stories that are covered today are the stories of the century tomorrow and the players are the heroes.
    It is interesting to look at the front page of the June 28 1961 edition of The Drumheller Mail. This was celebrating the  50th anniversary of The City of Drumheller, 50 years since it was declared a hamlet. In the timeline of history, Drumheller was declared a village in 1913, a town in 1916 and a city in 1930.
    The paper then takes a sober moment of reflection to list some of the names of those who made the community what it is today.  They include some of the same people the Mail wrote about in 2011 including Jesse Gouge Napier Coyle, Henry Ontkes, Mary Roper and Fanny Ramsley.
    At the time, The Mail said, “these may be just names to many of the residents of Drumheller today, but these names, many of whom are still living, were the pioneers that wrote Drumheller history and a colorful history it was, comparing to any legendary place in the west.
    These pioneers have a story to tell that would equal any motion picture that has been produced to date.”
    As the community marches forward into its undetermined future, a great question would be who is going to lead the community over its next set of hurdles? Who is going to take a risk on something for the betterment of the community, and succeed?
    Truth be told it is not hard to find people in the community today that more than live up to this requirement, people whose efforts that today seem small, but will pay dividends for the community.

Harry Gough: Community Builder

    The path to Drumheller was different for the various families who have come and put their stamp on the valley. One of those men was Harry Gough Senior. 
    While he passed in 1998, his impact on the valley is visible from the strong family routes, Dinosaur Trail Golf and Country Club, and just below the surface many of the dinosaurs throughout the valley.
    Harry was born in Wainwright, Alberta in 1911. His father was a CPR engineer. When he was old enough, he struck out on his own and headed to Edmonton. Here he made a living driving for Greyhound Bus Lines, and explored the highways north. Harry Junior recalls his father telling him some of the communities he served were so remote they used to sit at the hotel and place bets on which direction the next person walking by the window would come from.
    In Edmonton he met a Drumheller girl by the name of Elizabeth (Bessie) Sobat, whose family’s home in Drumheller is less than a block away from the present Schumacher, Gough and Company offices. They married and had three children, Harry Junior in 1939, Marilyn in 1941, and Wendy in 1946.
    During World War II, Harry Sr. enlisted in the Air Force and served as an aircraft mechanic.  He was a Gold Medalist in Aero-Engine Mechanics. Harry Jr. explained the practice was that after an aircraft was repaired, the mechanic was the first to fly. Because of this, Harry Sr. flew with World War I aces Wop May and Billy Bishop who were involved in training pilots during World War II.
    While he served, Bessie went to live in the valley to get some family help raising their children.
    After the war, Harry found a job with Pepper Bros. Machine Shop. This was located where Everybody’s Gym now stands.
    In 1948, he moved the family to East Coulee where he went to work at the Monarch Mine near East Coulee.  There he served as Fire Boss and an electrician.
    In 1952, he settled back in Drumheller and bought a 75 per cent stake in Pepper Bros.
    Harry Jr. remembers his father was hardworking, and almost always on call. There would be telephones ringing in the middle of the night for emergency repair work that needed to be done, and his father would head out to do it.
    Harry Sr. had a knack of being able to “jerry rig” his customers’ machinery together and get them on the road and in service until the proper part could be found or built.
    Harry Jr. remembers he always had a part time job on the weekends cleaning shop or helping out. Before he studied law, he earned his papers as a machinist at the shop.
    While Tig Seland and Murray Olson were often credited with building the various dinosaurs that now decorate the streets of Drumheller, Harry Sr. did much of the metal framing that went into them.
    Harry Sr. was an avid hunter and often served as a guide. On one occasion, Harry Jr. remembers when a big Black Chrysler arrived with likes of Justice Millvain and former Chief Justice of the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Alberta Campbell McLaurin set to go hunting. Harry Sr. also guided Bing Crosby and funny man Phil Harris on a hunting trip.
    In the mid ‘60s, around the time the Drumheller Institution was being built, Harry Sr. was one of the main drivers in building the new Dinosaur Trail Golf and Country Club. In fact, he owned the number one share for the club.
    He worked tirelessly to make it a reality. In fact, it probably took a chunk out of his business. Harry Jr. remembers his mother driving out to the golf course with all kinds of paperwork for his father to sign off on, because he wasn’t in the office to do it.
    Jack Archibald and Harry Jr. were enlisted to weld the entire plumbing system for the course. Harry even made the trip to Edmonton to make sure he had a liquor license for the course in his hands before opening, a job that could have simply been done over the phone.
    After the course was built, his involvement never dwindled. Harry Jr. still hears from a number of ladies about how good of an instructor his father was as he introduced them to the game.
    Harry Sr. sold the shop in 1975 when he retired. The family grew with nine grandchildren, and family ties always remained strong. His grandson Trevor even asked Harry Sr. to be the best man at his wedding.
    Harry Senior passed away in 1998, yet his impact on the valley and his family will endure.

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