W7644 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from E. McNeil
Mar 10 1907
To: Calvin McQuesten Knox College, Toronto, Ontario
From: Standoff, Alberta
Dear Mr. McQuesten,
It is about time for me to answer your letter which I got some time ago. I hope you are well. You were in luck that you did not spend the winter here. I have been a good many years here but I have just put in my first winter. There has been very serious losses in cattle and there is likely to be a lot more drop off before the middle of May. I have my horses out across the Kootenai and have not seen them for a couple of months but I think the most of them are alive yet.
I would have written to you sooner but have been waiting to get those skins to send and I have only got one since you left. The old Cree woman is tanning the skin now and as soon as I can get another I will send them on to you. I had a note from Miss Kelly about some skins. Miss Kelly has gone East and she asked me to send them to her sister at the Galt Hospital. I will try and get some and send them.
Mr. Tait was here last Sunday for the first time since you left, he is to be here again next Sunday. We were across to the school two weeks ago and found the usual crowd of about two. I am thinking of sending the children over there to school this summer. I think Miss Fleming is a good teacher and I think the children would do better.
Dave is still with us and Phil has been here most of the winter. He has sold his place to O'Brien and so Blarney Castle is likely to go to rack. Fred is down at Gotham, there is an attraction down there for the big innocent Irish boy. Alfred lost a few head of cattle but not many, he is still at the meadows but may move somewhere this summer. Geo. Walsh is at the mine yet and is likely to be there all summer as he has a soft job and good hay. Everything and everyone on the Reserve is about the same as usual. I expect they will be starting their steam plough in a short time, so look out for a drop in the price of wheat when the great J Ami gets to work. I don't go anything on Company farming with Indians.
Mr. and Mrs. Browne are still at Banff and I am afraid they will not be back here again. Well this is about all the news for now I am sorry I haven't those skins ready to send but will get them off soon as possible
Write soon and let us know what kind of a winter you have had and how your health is. We all join in sending kindest regards.
Yours very sincerely
1 This web site has received several E-Mails from Coleen McNeil and her husband, Alfred, who are descendents of Edward McNeil: March & April, 2005. "I just came across the web site on the History of the McQuesten family and found some very interesting reading and history from the letters in regards to the time the Rev. Calvin McQuesten was at Stand Off, Alberta. Especially the ones written by Ed. McNeil who is my husband, Alfred's, grandfather. The McNeils (3rd & 4th generation) still live there and farm the land. Sure wish there were more letters about Stand Off and the people as we are trying to fill in the gaps on the History of the area. The McNeils have been living there for more than 100 years.
Attached are some of the photos we have in our McNeil History Book. A little bit of background history on Edward McNeil:
Born--February 20, 1860 in Bristol, Pontiac County, Quebec. Died, December 7, 1941, Fort Macleod, Alberta.
He spent 5 years on the Crooked Lake Reservation, north of Broadview, Manitoba (which is now Sask.) He married Sadie Hubbard in 1891, a daughter, Annie, was born there. Then they moved to the Blood Indian Reserve, N W T (now Alberta) where 5 more children were born. Edward was in charge of the Upper Reserve, as farm instructor, receiving an annual salary of $480.00. In 1896 Edward moved his family across the Belly river to a small Trading Post and began operating it as " McNEIL'S GENERAL STORE" at Stand Off. A business which was continued by the family for the next 67 years. (my husband (Alfred)--his mother Ella) was the last. Edward's wife (Sadie) passed away suddenly in 1900. Edward (with the help
of his sister Selina and other family and friends) raised the children and ran the store. In 1910 he built a house up on a hill over looking the river valley. McNeils still live in the house. I don't know how much history is of interest, but a lot of books written
on that area, mention Edward McNeil.
Picture #107--is of Edward and his children, Uncle Tom McNeil and Phil Sparling, (Blakely is my husband's dad) This picture is taken in front of the McNeil Store, same building as in the:
Picture IMG119 of your web site. Picture #108--McNeil children and Tom Thumb--This picture was used by the Glenbow Museum on their web site entry page. Also blown up to a very large mural on a wall at the museum.
Picture #110--Article in our newspaper about this
Picture #111--Gathering in front of the store of family, neighbors. Edward McNeil is at the far right. My picture is kind of dark and is dated 1904. My sister-in-law has the same picture dated 1905 and refers to it as the Presbyterian Congregation. I'll email her copy to you also.
If at all possible we would like to have a fairly good copy of your IMG119 picture in front of the store. We think that some of our relatives are in it. Also IMG065 of Calvin on Horse--Nigger. Granddad Edward had a horse called Nigger, and the background in the picture looks like some of ours at Stand Off.
Coleen McNeil-- email@example.com"
We exchanged these pictures with Coleen McNeil and they will appear on the Whitehern web site when digitized. There are several other pieces of correspondence from (or about) the McNeil family, written to Calvin, or about his Western experience, see
W7623, W7639, W7643, W7644, W7651, W7652, W7683, W7678, W7684, W7694, W7747, W7760, Box 12-568, W8767, W8750, Box 03-093, Box 12-283.
Search also for other letters about Calvin's time in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Colleen McNeil also provided some information on the community named Slide-Out (or Slideout), where Rev. Calvin also had a congregation, and that information is at W5199 Fn.
2 On December 26, 2012, this web site received an E-Mail from Dale Wuzinski who has noted that the Whitehern web site has led him to his grandfather who was Edward McNeil. Mr. Wuzinski sent a copy of the following obituary of Don McNeil that appeared in the Fort Macleod Gazette, January 17, 2006. Please note the Wuzinski family mentioned in the obit. Dale Wuzinski has a family tree that outlines the genealogy.
Don McNeil, beloved husband of Mary (Elsie) McNeil passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006, in Fort Macleod at the age of 83 years. Don was born in Fort Macleod. He met Elsie Foot and married her on Dec. 16, 1946. Don lived his life doing what he did best, farming on the family farm and was an avid stamp and coin collector. Left to mourn his passing is his wife Mary (Elsie); a son Alan; a daughter Mary; grandchildren Billi-Jo (Curtis), and Tavis; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends. Don was predeceased by his parents John (Jack) and Eva McNeil; his sisters Dorothy Roberts, Muriel Munn and Helen Wuzinski; brothers-in-law Robert Roberts, John (Jack) Munn and Joseph Wuzinski. A memorial service was held at Eden's Funeral Home, Fort Macleod, on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2006, with Rev. A. McKay officiating. Cremation has taken place.