Currie farm to mark centennial | DrumhellerMail
Last updateFri, 21 Jun 2024 5pm

Currie farm to mark centennial


Herbert Campbell Currie never forgot his 21st birthday, it was the day he arrived in western Canada to start a new life, but that was more than 100 years ago.

The Currie Family Farm is turning 100 and his family is planning to celebrate.

Come Saturday and Sunday, July 19 and 20, the Orkney Hall will be the place where the family will be marking the century since Herbert Campbell Currie homesteaded in the Orkney District. Dick and Norma West and Betty and Elmer Currie will be hosting the party.

On July 19, they will be hosting an open house after 4 p.m. There will be dinner at 6 p.m., followed by a special presentation. There will also be a wiener roast and fireworks after dark.

On Sunday the hall will be abuzz with a brunch hosted by the families.

It has been over 100 years since Herbert made the trek from Erin, Ontario to carve out a piece of land to call his own.

Herb was the second youngest of nine children, and already most of his family members were in Carstairs, the nearest centre at the time to the homestead. Herbert, along with brothers, Rob and Charlie, each staked out a piece of Orkney to call their own. Norma West, Herbert’s daughter explains this was not the same country of road and highways criss-crossing the landscape.

“They travelled cross country with a team and wagon. There were no roads, you just headed off across the country and eventually got there,” she said.

They did scout for some land on the north side of the Red Deer River, but their mother insisted the best land was in the Orkney area.

Herb put down roots and not long after met his bride to be at an Epworth League meeting. In 1917, he and Lily May Dawn were married and together they raised Norma, Elmer and Clarence on the farm. One son Donald drowned in the river as a toddler.

Norma recalls her father as a very well respected member of the community. He was well read, self educated and had a great sense of humour.

“He always said a deal didn’t have to be on a piece of paper, a handshake was more meaningful, and you kept your word,” said Norma. “We tried to instill that in our children.”

Herb was active in the church and the local school board. He was also secretary of the local telephone company for more than two decades.

He was progressive for the times. His first tractor was a 1917 Titan. He owned the first combine in the district. Norma says about 50 people came out for the occasion to watch the new machine hard at work, and were even served lunch.

Sadly the other brothers’ homesteads didn’t remain in the family. Charlie didn’t come home from World War I and Rob worked for a while but Herb and his family were the only ones to remain on the land.

Herb passed away in 1967 at the age of 82. Elmer and Clarence continued to work the land until 1991 when they retired from farming. Since then, the land has been worked by the Ferguson family. In many ways there is still a family connection, as Blaine Ferguson is related to Norma’s husband Dick’s family.

Norma will always have fond memories of growing up in the young and vibrant district with life long neighbours, a bit of farm work and cruising in the Blue Goose to go hunting. These memories and dozens more are certain to be shared July 19.

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