Cole farm celebrates a century | DrumhellerMail
Last updateFri, 19 Apr 2024 5pm

Cole farm celebrates a century


    “I heard of land being thrown open in this area. I went to the land office in Calgary and stood in line from eight at night till the office opened in the morning in 35 degree below zero weather. In this way, I attained a quarter section homestead and later bought a quarter section from Bob Roberts. I arrived at Acme and Mr. Near met me with a team of Mr. McGhee’s horses.”

    These are the words of Frank Roblin Cole, believed to be dictated to his wife in later years.
    This happened in the winter of 1911, and it started 100 years of farm history for the Cole family in the Orkney district.
    The family celebrated their centennial on July 23 with a great party that included a dinner, dance, fireworks and program, attracting more than 200 family and friends.  For 100 years, the farm has remained in the family’s hands. While this is a feat, Greg Cole, who now lives on the homestead, found it interesting that he was celebrating alongside families with just as rich a history.
    Frank was from Ontario and can trace his bloodlines to the United Empire Loyalists. He came west in 1910 and originally worked in a dairy in Cowley.
    When he arrived at his new homestead, his farm equipment consisted of a plow, a pair of oxen and a Hereford bull. He started to scrape together his homestead.
    As a single man, a life partner was hard to come by, and when a teacher arrived in the area, she was a hot commodity.  Frank won the heart of the Orkney School teacher from Ontario, Lillian.
    They married and built their homestead shack. They had two children: William and Kathleen (Kay).
    In the early 1930s, they built their new home. Frank had the foresight to wire the home for electricity, even though it had not yet come to the area. Greg now resides in this same home.
    Frank had the spirit of the homesteader and continued to work the land. Greg’s father William and Kay both went to Olds School of Agriculture and as youngsters worked alongside Frank.
    William enlisted in the military during World War II, but never served overseas. He was the highest-ranking officer in Halifax at the end of the war when a German U-Boat surrendered. He married Mabel Morrison of Morrin after the war. He went into Calgary and was a successful businessman. All this time Greg and his sister Judy would spend their summers at the farm working and living the life of farm kids. Kay stayed with her parents and helped with the farm, and in later years, took care of Frank and Lillian.
    William returned to the farm in the early ‘80s to work with Frank on the farm. William died in 1985 suddenly. This is when Greg took over the farm. Frank lived to 100 and died in 1990, he actively took off 70 crops. Lillian died just months later.
    Greg continued a successful cow-calf and grain operation. He also ran the Ghost Pine Cabin retreat that burned down earlier this year.
    Kay is still residing at the Sunshine Lodge in Drumheller and was one of the special guests at the celebration. At the celebration, Kneehill County Ag Fieldman Bruce Sommerville presented the family with the centennial farm family plaque.
    “In the crowd were the Moores, the Stangers, the Garsons, the McGhees, the Johnstons and Borwicks. All of these guys, their ancestors were issued a homestead. Those fellows started this and 100 years later we are having a party,” said Greg.

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