Our Story:

The Wells came from Sawyerville, Compton County, Cookshire (Eastern Township), Quebec.

In the summer of 1912 Austin Wells (January 1898 – March 1981) came to the North Battleford area with a family by the name of Dawson and never went east again. Edwin Wells Sr. (July 1861 -February 1951) came in the fall of that year on a harvest excursion and returned to Quebec. He returned to Saskatchewan in the fall of 1913 and made it his home there after though he made a few trips to Quebec between then and 1919. His son John Dents (1907-1984) came to Saskatchewan in 1919 and attended school in North Battleford for a few years.

Edwin Wells Sr. filed on his homestead (North West Section 4 -Township 52 -Range 17, West 3rd Meridian) on May 28, 1914. He worked for other homesteaders, logging and as camp cook (a skill learnt in Quebec) to earn funds to perform his homestead duties. During this time he (sometimes with his sons) lived in various abandoned “homesteader shacks” in the area. He completed his home in 1919 and that was his permanent. base until his death. During the early 1920’s he and his son Austin operated a “Stopping Place” about twenty miles north of where the village of Glaslyn is now. This facility provided crude shelter for horses, bunkhouse for men and excellent food for outfits hauling railway ties, lumber and freight to Meadow Lake.

The homestead provided a good well and wood supply. He gradually gathered a few horses and cattle. The land provided all of a man with his skills wanted and needed. He was fair man and good neighbor, a man who was short m stature, who always stood “soldier straight and square” and at 90 years could still walk long distances at “five miles” an hour. Till the end of his life he tended the chickens, grew garden and looked after the wood for the household. A quiet man who died on his homestead just too tired to get up one morning.

Austin Wells being on his own at an early age was required to learn many skills and work at many jobs in order to survive. He had worked around saw mills in Quebec so could do bush work and “scale lumber”. He quickly became able to ride horses and herd stock. On various farms he learnt to drive four to eight horse hitches and to have some understanding of how farm equipment of the time worked. Various building contractors provided employment where he learnt the “building trade” and became a skilled carpenter. During part of the 1920’s he worked as foreman for Waterman-Waterburg, which was a contracting firm on many of rural schools built west central Saskatchewan. He also worked on a number of farm buildings and was foreman on the construction of a Roman Catholic Church and United Church in Edam, Saskatchewan. Both of these buildings are still in use. St. Leon’s Roman Catholic of Jackfish on which he worked (which burnt down about 1960) was where he married Esther Day (June 1899 – December 1957) on June 29, 1927.

Austin and Esther had four children – Edwin, September 1928; Charles, March 1929; Mildred, October 1931; Jean, December 1933.

This growing family lived in the Cochin area where Austin worked at various jobs until they moved to Edwin Wells Sr. homestead about 1930. During the 1930 ‘s the land base grew to include the North West quarter section four township 52 range 17 west 3rd meridian and north west section 33 (a fraction running into Maiden Lake) township 51, range 17 West 3rd Meridian. This land always remained the “home place” when the farm expanded.

The children attended Clarkesville School, a walk of about 2 miles. Edwin was born vision impaired and the one room rural school was not able to assist him so he attended very little. His mother (a former school teacher) taught his basic academic and at a young age he was helping on the farm. Charles obtained Grade 8 and decided to remain on the farm. Mildred obtained a partial Grade 9 and then decided to go to work. She worked for a short time in the hotel in GIaslyn, then in North Battleford and Saskatoon in various restaurants. Jean obtained her Grade 10 at Clarkesville and finished her high school at Doremy, Saskatchewan where she lived with her aunt.

In the 1940 – 1960 period the farm increased the land base, the cattle herd increased to a significant number and eventually operated under A.E. Wells & Sons. During this time considerable custom land breaking and threshing was done to increase income.

Mildred married Arthur Whiteford in November 1957 and they were living at the homestead when Esther died in December 1957.

The family moved into a new house on the N.W-S4-T-52-R-17-W-3 in 1958 and Mildred stayed for a few months. Arthur (Bud) found employment working on the Gardiner Dam and when that was completed they moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta. They lived there or Edmonton until the summer of 2003 when they retired to North Battleford. They had a family of seven children.

Austin Wells married Edith Gadsby in 1960 and moved to Village of GIaslyn. He sold his share of equipment and cattle to his sons but kept eight quarters of land. He later purchased another undeveloped quarter.

In 1963 Charles and Edwin decided to farm independently, they were both successful. Edwin purchased his father’s land and continued a successful mixed farm operation until 1988 when he sold some land, had an auction sale and retired to North Battleford. He never married and in retirement volunteered his repairman skills with the Western Development Museum.

In 1967 Charles married Shirley Palechynski and they had four children. In the mid 1970’s Charles divorced and maintained custody of the children. He married Sadie Graham. Charles continues to farm with his two sons and lives in GIaslyn.

Jean took a short course and taught school for a few years. She then furthered her education and worked in human services field primarily with physically and mentally challenged adults. She married Walter Curry in 1960 and they lived in Saskatoon where he worked for Acklands. In 1975 they moved to Victoria where Jean had been offered a position. They purchased a corner store that Walter operated. Walter died in 1981 and in 1983 Jean returned to North Battleford where she worked until 1992 when she retired.

John worked in the bush and with northern survey crews. Later he went to Rosetown area and worked on farms. He married Irene Savage in 1941 and they had 10 children. He served in the Army 1941 – 45 after which he obtained Veteran Land Assistance and set up a mixed farm in the same area as the “home place”.

The original “home place” is owned by Edwin Wells Sr.’s great grandson. The buildings are empty but cattle corrals are still in use. The Wells family saw the post offices of Stony Lake, Midnight Lake and Fairholme come and go; the railway from Prince Albert to Turtleford come and go. Many changes in farming equipment and methods but they all look back to the “home place” where they learnt to work hard, be honest and be “good neighbors in the community”.