Great Grandparent Jim and Elisa Mills and Great Aunt Daisey
Polly’s 3 brothers and dad Jim Mills
Great grandmother Elisa Mills and daughter daisey mills
Daisey Mills and husband Theissen Polly’s brother Tom Mills
Great Grandparents Jim Mills and Daisey Mills
Jim Mills Elisa Mills
a Young Tom Mills
While I have been researching and writing the Canadian chapter of my book , I have been stabbed in the arm by an Mochan Indian , speared in the side by a Blackfoot , clawed to the bone by a Grizzly bear , tipped out of my canoe , and bitten on the legs by a pack of wolves , and almost frozen and starved to death …IN MY DREAMS.
Charles and Thomas Mills , Homesteaders from Mere to Calgary in 1910
In 1910 my great uncles Charles and Thomas Mills from Mere in Wiltshire had seen the fantastic posters offering them their own 160 Acre farms in Western Canada.
It said the land and the climate was the best in the World.So they booked their passage on the SS Canada and set sail for Canada.They sailed to Halifax in Nova Scotia and docked on 10th April 1911.They then had the long trip overland from East to West Canada.The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was completed in November 1885. That meant that immigrants could travel west easier and faster and that their produce could do the same traveling to eastern markets. The federal government had concluded a number of signed treaties with the aboriginal peoples. Mohicans , Crow , BlackFoot , Hurons , and Iroquois .
By creating reservations for them, it opened up land for the incoming settlers. In the early 1870s, Ottawa had created the Royal North West Mounted Police which established law and order on the Prairies .They travelled by railway from Quebec to Calgary and their first address was given in the 1911 Census as Calgary the brothers had 2 lodgers living with them at this address , Charles Wadman aged 21 and Martha H Gorrie aged 25. Charles & Tom
A year later on April 17th 1912 their dad James Mills aged 46 (he had knocked a five years off his age on the passenger list)arrived in St John , New Brunswick . He sailed from Liverpool on SS Montrose. He then had the railway journey to make to Alberta.
The land was nothing like it was described though , it was wild overgrown Scrub and bush land with trees and rocks. The climate was different to how it was described as well . It was like Italy in the summer and like Russia in the winter .Very hot summers and very cold Winters .The land needed clearing before it could be farmed and a dwelling to live in , needed building before winter set in.
James did Well digging in the early days with Lloyd Leslie , they could possibly have travelled over together from Mere.
In the 1916 Census of Manitoba , Saskatchewan ,and Alberta their address was listed as 29 , 1 , 4 Berlawan , 31 Medicine Hat , Alberta. Thomas 28 was listed as the Head , then brother Charles 29 then dad James 55. Later in 1916 during the War that young brother James 13 came out with Sid Hooper who farmed north of Charles’s farm in Sibbald.
James 1866 -1948 and Elisa Mills 1866 – 1946
It wasn’t until 1923 that is was thought safe and civilised enough for mother Eliza Jane 57 and Daisy 18 to come out and join them. Eliza and Daisy sailed from Liverpool to Quebec on the SS Doric which was by far and away more luxurious than the rough early immigrant ships .It would have only have taken them 2 weeks or so.
James and Elisa celebrated Golden Wedding Anniversary in April 1936 and had a big party with 75 guests even though it was extremely cold with lots of snow drifts on the roads.
They were presented with a four tier cake.
Also present were Mr & Mrs Charles Mills and Family , Mr & Mrs James Mills Jnr and family , and Miss Daisy Mills.
In 1946 they celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary and had a party which was also held at Vernon School.
Mrs Elisa Jane Mills passed away 2 weeks later , and James Mills passed away in 1948.
Daisy stayed with her mother the rest of her life on the farm until she died in 1946 aged 80 years old.
Daisy then married Harry Braman and moved to his nearby Sibbald Farm .When Harry retired they sold their farm to Dick Woods and moved to the Montgomery District of Calgary.
Harry died in the sixties and Daisy carried on living in Montgomery Calgary.
In 1973 Daisy came to visit her sister Mary “Polly” Allen in Arlesey , Beds and brought her niece Marlene Thiesen with her .Polly was absolutely thrilled to see her younger sister again and they had kept in contact , regularly writing to each other.
Thomas Mills 1890-1951
In late autumn 1928 Thomas returned to Mere England to get a wife. He met and married Hettie Rabbley and returned in March 1929 . He started up another Farm 8 miles North of Sibbald called Glovers Lake .They had 3 children called Iris May , Thomas Edmond , Rita Irene while living on the farm . In the early Thirties the moved to another nearby farm called the Hannam Farm. Two years later they moved again closer to Highland Park School , but there weren’t many pupils so it eventually closed .The children then had to commute to Fairdale School in Sibbald by bus.
There were many storms and floods and quite often they couldn’t get home from school so they had to spend the night in town with friends . It was quite a worrying time for their parents because they couldn’t let them know they weren’t coming home .In the 30’s either their friends didn’t have a phone or the storm had brought the telephone lines down . Iris and Rita liked playing netball , but in order to go to the practices the had to ride the five miles back to school on horseback. Because of this they missed a lot of the practises . Iris used to work on a neighbour Harold Shantz’s farm in the summer and Autumn and Iris and Rita Irene used to work at Banff hospital in the Winter and Spring , until 1951.Thomas died in 1951 , and Thomas Jnr carried on running the family farm.
Then Iris married Henry Thiessen in June 1951 and moved to Calgary.They had 4 children bryan douglas , w.marlene , Rita Irene married in November 1951 as well to Albert Nightingdale , they had 5 children Brenda , Sharon , Albert , Reginald and Lorraine . In 1960 they moved to Coquillan B.C
Rita passed away in February 1971
1918 Charles ,Jim ,Jim jnr , and a very strong looking Tom