Life in Canada, 1899

The readers of the Skidmore Standard enjoyed writing to and hearing from their former neighbors who had moved on to other towns, and the Standard saw fit to print a number of letters to the home folks. One such letter from John Powell was printed in the December 22, 1899 edition. Skidmore had last heard from Mr. Powell in the paper in its May 28, 1899 edition.

Life in Canada.
One of the Queen’s Subjects Communicates With Old Friends Through Our Columns.

STRATHCONA, ALTA, DEC. 8, 1899:
Thinking that readers of the Standard would be interested in hearing more about this country I will write a few lines to-day. We are having fine weather; have had as fine a fall as one could wish for. It has been warm enough for a person working to go without a coat or vest. We have had no snow to speak of; at present writing the ground is bare. In speaking of the crops we can say they are remarkably good throughout the country. I have not heard of any oat fields making less than 40 bushels per acre and know of some that made over 100 bushels per acre; the general average is from 65 to 85 bushels per acre. The wheat crop is good but a good per cent of it is poor quality owing to so much rain in August.

Prices are good; wheat 60cts, oats 25cts, barley 35cts, potatoes __cts, hay $5.00 per ton, hogs __ cts per lb, cattle 3 cts per lb., butter 20 cts. eggs 25cts per doz. Cattle are running on the range yet and are in fine condition.

Settlers are still coming in from all parts; a good many from Iowa and the Dakotas. Every tenant house in town is occupied. Land is steadily ad__. This is a busy time, our mills run their regular hours from 7 to 6 o’clock, and some of the time run night and day. The elevators have all they can do most of the time; usually you can see wagons standing around by the dozen waiting their turn to unload. The saw mills on this side of the river have shut down for the winter; their average output is 20,000 feet per day, and the lumber is nearly all sold now. Prices range from $15 to $25 per thousand feet. Groceries are but very little higher here than in the States; coal oil is high, from __ to 45c per gallon; cotton goods are high; wollens are cheap as are also boots and __es. Fuel is cheap; we get good coal for $1.25 per ton, dry wood on government land for nothing.

The C. & E. R. R. Co. expect to extend their line 50 miles farther in the near future. The government is building a bridge across the Saskatchewan river. At present they have two spans and expect to have it completed by May 1st. It will be a wagon and railroad bridge combined and will cost about ___000.

You will see by the heading of my letter that the name of our town is changed. It has been incorporated and changed to Strathcona. Edmonton is the town about two miles north of here across the river.

In closing will say we are well pleased with our new home. Would be glad to anser any correspondence.

Respectfully,
John E. Powell.