Safety wasn’t a priority in Canada’s early days

From our January 2014 issue

By Wilf MillerKeremeos, B.C.

My father came west in 1903. Our childhood memories of dad telling the stories of the Old West were as if we were there.

When he came to his Alberta homestead, he only had a number to go by on that large expanse of prairie. He had to find his homestead out of the thousands of quarter sections.

While earning money to pay up the homestead, he spent the winters in B.C. logging camps, sometimes working all winter for $25. He saw several get killed. Safety was not a priority then.

A loaded wagon ran over his upper leg and broke it when he was hauling coal for Lane & Climy ranch.

He was with another teamster with a load of coal also, who helped dad back on his load and dad had to drive his own team that way the 12 miles to the Lane & Climy ranch.

When he arrived they took him off his load of coal and put him to bed. In the morning they put straw in the bottom of an empty wagon, laid him on that, and took him 40 miles away, to Stettler, Alta. for treatment.

There was no hospital, only a nurse and a travelling doctor and a solid board bed. They had to cut his clothes off because his leg was so swollen.

It was over a month before he could get around at all and a minister went around and took up a collection to help him.

With a start like that, dad worked hard all his life. He and mother raised four boys and four girls and we all have made total successes of our lives!