Claim Jumpers

Soon to be published and available on line.  It's All About Finding The Gold.  Gold panning/prospecting in Alberta.

Here is a brief excerpt from my book for all to enjoy.

"Establishing and settling this new land, the land we now call the Province of Alberta, did not come without its share of ruffians, whiskey traders, outlaws, highway men and scoundrels.  Fortunately for all Albertans and Canadians, it also came with people who had determination, worked hard and had a vision for this region, for the future. 

In 1905, Alberta became a Province within Canada.  Until then, Alberta was known as an area within the North West Territories.  Now that Alberta was a Province, a Capital City was needed and Edmonton was chosen.

Where did the name Edmonton originate:  This was the name of the town in London, England where the Hudson’s Bay Company Deputy Governor, Sir James Winter Lake resided.  The new Fort along the Saskatchewan River would be named in this honour and for over two decades this name has remained.

In 1795 Edmonton began its start, the first of five Forts owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company was built.  It was located along the North Saskatchewan River where the Sturgeon River meets (1795 to 1801).  Fort number two: In 1801 the decision was made to move the Fort upstream to an area now known as Rossdale Flats in Edmonton.  This area had been a gathering place for Aboriginal people for thousands of years (1801 to 1810).  Fort number three: Fort Edmonton moved locations downstream to an area called White Earth Creek, near present day Smoky Lake.  This had been a bad decision and only remained active at this location for two years.  Trading was poor as the Cree Nation had been encouraged to conduct their trades elsewhere to avoid confrontations with the Blackfoot Nation, and the Blackfoot Nation refused to travel so far north and took their trades south to the Americans (1810 to 1812).  Fort number four: In 1813 it was decided to return to the previous location in Rossdale Flats.  (1813 to 1830).  The fifth and final Fort Edmonton was built as a result of heavy flooding that occurred during the 1820’s.  It was decided to move the Fort to higher ground.  A site was chosen to the west and the Fort was built (1830 to 1915).   The present Alberta Legislature now sits where the final Fort was located.

Our second large community sprang up in the southern part of todays Alberta.  Following the march west of the newly formed North West Mounted Police, places to live and points to operate from were required.  It was in 1875 that a troop of North West Mounted Policemen came to a valley rim and saw what they were looking for: there were two clean rivers, forests of spruce and Douglas Fir trees on the shady north face and poplars tracking the river's edge. It was a perfect location to build a fort.

The first name of this new Fort was "The Elbow" or "Bow River Fort" then for a brief period it was named "Fort Brisebois" by Inspector A. E. Brisebois, the Officer in Charge of the Fort. This name was not acceptable to Brisebois's superior officers and Colonel James McLeod came up with the new name of this Fort "Fort Calgary".  Colonel McLeod named this Fort after an area in the Scottish Highlands he had grown up in.

This was one of several forts built because of the illegal whisky trade and the Indian tribes that were plentiful which were being abused by this trade.  The largest Fort built by Americans and exploiting the whisky trade was Fort Whoop Up.  It was largely because of this Fort that on May 23rd, 1873, an Act in Parliament was proclaimed and the North West Mounted Police were born.  The main duties of this new force would be to establish order in the North-West Territories.  Their immediate objectives were to stop the liquor traffic, to collect customs dues, to perform all the duties of a police force and establish order in the west.  In addition, they would also be tasked with gaining the respect and confidence of the First Nations People, and to break them of their old practices by tact and patience and introduce them to civilized means of living.

The community of Calgary became as a result of quite different purposes. The rich grassy foothills located to the west, the fescue grasses in the rolling open land to the northeast, and the vast grass prairie to the east and southeast. The vast large herds of free roaming buffalo had been almost placed into extinction from the grasslands due to the robe trade.  As a result, the Canadian government decided to use the vast open grassy lands for ranching and cattle and opened up the rights for the first homesteads to be developed.  This began the colonization of the future Province of Alberta.

The railway came through in 1883 and this aided the pioneer ranchers and others looking for a new beginning to move into the region much easier.  And they did, they poured in from across Canada and beyond. With a population of 4,000 in 1884, Calgary was officially proclaimed a city.

The origin of Calgary was not unlike most western towns, consisting of a series of wood frame houses, most of which were two stories in height.  Wooden church steeples sprang up and a city hall clock tower was built. The town was destined for a change, and that change came in the form of the great fire of 1886.

In 1886, the great fire of Calgary occurred.  The Fire fighters of that time did their best with what equipment and means they had, but unfortunately a large portion of town burned down in spite of their hard work and relentless efforts.
This fire changed the way buildings would be constructed.  Those about to build searched out materials more fire proof than wood.  They found their answer sticking out from the banks of the Bow River in several nearby locations, sandstone.

For more than twenty years, local quarries worked hard to keep up with the demand. Calgary had an image, "The Sandstone City".  This image separated Calgary from other cities and was very superior.  The buildings that were built in sandstone became more than mere fashion, they were a contribution to identity.

In 1912, a cowboy promoter by the name of Guy Weadick talked four of the most powerful men from the Calgary area into financially backing him in an experiment to be called the Calgary Stampede. The four most powerful men at that time were, Pat Burns, Archie McLean, George Lane and A.E. Cross.  This was the start of what was to grow into the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.  And can still be relived every summer at the beginning of July.

Alberta was born.

People began to move west, to settle and create homesteads.  Farms and ranches with cattle, horses and other domesticated animals as well as growing much needed items such as wheat were created.  The rich lands gave hope and determination to bright futures.  New communities were springing up throughout this land and the need to make transportation easier into this region was required. 

The arrival of the train accomplished this and opened yet another door and passage into this vast land from the east.  The laying of rail entered into what is now Alberta, immediately east of Walsh in early May 1883. This area was known as part of the Assiniboia District of the Northwest Territories. The construction continued rapidly and reached Medicine Hat on May 31st, 1883. Crossing the South Saskatchewan River and entering into gently rolling, dry grassland, they made excellent progress towards Calgary which they reached following the completion of a bridge over the Bow River, on the 10th of August, 1883.

Edmonton was the original route destination of the Canadian Pacific Railway mainline but a last minute decision in 1881 moved the route through Calgary instead. Not until ten years later did tracks reach the Edmonton area.

In 1891 the Calgary and Edmonton Railway made its way north, but stopped in Strathcona on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River. A railway station, a hotel and a commercial area were built and newcomers were encouraged to settle in what was then called the City of Strathcona.

The first railway to reach the City of Edmonton was a little railway, with a big name and big ambition. The Edmonton Yukon and Pacific Railway train steamed across the Low Level Bridge and onto the flats named for hotelier Donald Ross on October 20th, 1902. 

The second railway to reach the City of Edmonton was the Canadian Northern Railway in November 1905.  This opened up the gateway to the city from points east. Newcomers to the city no longer had to go through Calgary and make their way north to Strathcona before crossing into Edmonton.

Edmonton became a city in 1904.  They gave the land between 101st Street and 116th Street and between 104th and 105th Avenues to the Canadian Northern Railway (In 1925, Canadian Northern merged with other railways to become Canadian National Railways) under the condition that the railway build a divisional point there. In 1905 Union Station was erected on the west side of 101st Street north of 104th Avenue., This building was distinguished by an imposing tower and handsome architecture and remained until demolished in 1952.  Following the merger of several railways, the newly created Canadian National Railways constructed a new station in 1928 east of the old station.  In 1948 they added a third storey due to increased railway business. This station remained until 1964 when it was demolished to make way for the CN Tower which was constructed in 1966.

Following completion of the High Level Bridge on September 2nd, 1913, The Canadian Pacific Railway also reached the City of Edmonton and opened a new terminal on September 2, 1913. The first train departing from this terminal transported passengers to Wetaskiwin, Camrose, Saskatoon and on to Winnipeg.  Passengers were also now able to travel this route in return, by-passing the City of Calgary.

The stage has been set for allowing thousands of people to enter the region fairly easily.  Of course along with settlers came those seeking and searching for treasure.  Prospecting became a lucrative means along the North Saskatchewan River, and it has been said that at one time hundreds of men could be seen with sluices and pans lining the banks of the river."

A complete book on the history, geography, instruction on panning and prospecting, equipment and items used in for finding gold and where Gold can be found.

Check back often to ensure your copy.

Latest comments

08.11 | 23:04

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01.03 | 06:02

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28.02 | 03:12

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