Grain Hauling

by Albert Hammond

Since I did a lot of grain hauling out of this country, I would like to tell you about some of my experiehces. In the early days I had a four horse team on the road in the winter almost every day. For about three months of the winter, I hardly saw the home place in the daylight. I left in the dark in the morning and returned in the dark at night. I would load up again in the night and away again in the morning. I wore out a lot of good horses on the freight trail before the railroad came.

A lot of grain was hauled to Vermilion, some to Islay, and quite a bit to Kitscoty, depending which town was the closest to where I picked up the grain. Most of the grain from Middle Creek went to Kitscoty. I would sell the grain in my name, get a statement from the elevator man showing the number of bushels, the grade and the price, I would cash the check at the bank, buy what supplies they wanted and bring them the balance of the cash home. I never had any complaints and everything worked out alright. In fact, I was considered one of the best freighters on the road. I never upset a bushel for anyone. I had an agreement with them all that if I upset a load or lost a bushel I would pay for it but I never had to. Most people trusted me with their grain but there was one who always insisted to go along.

I did have one or two close calls. Once I had a martingale break on one of the horses on the pole and of course, that rendered the other horse not being able to hold back either and this happened on a steep hill. Well, the only thing to do then was to keep the sleigh on the road and pray to God that the horses would outrun the load. Somehow we got there in one piece and right side up. We were also very thankful.

It was a great relief when the railroad came to St. Paul in 1921. That shortened the haul and we could make the trip in one day. I used to make three trips a week, up one day and back the next with often a load of freight back to Elk Point. Then in 1927 the railroad came to Elk Point and then next year on to Lindbergh. I hauled the first load of wheat into the Lindbergh elevator for Slim Harris. Soon I quit hauling grain because it was a short haul and everybody could take their own. Soon it was the end of freighting with horses and trucks took over. The trail to lslay was the worst one I travelled. It was so hilly that I was either going uphill or downhill and this was hard on the horses. The only reason we hauled to Islay was because the elevators at Kitscoty were filled to capacity. I also hauled quite a little wheat to the flour mill in Vermilion to have it made into flour. Then in later years there was a flour mill built in Bonneville and I made several trips there. The trip there was an interesting one. The trail we took used to go north of Ferguson Flats, past Ira Livingston's place, then about a mile north of there we hit the Indian trail up over the Moose Hills and that was quite a climb, believe me. Down and across the reserve, and on to Bonneville and then sometimes you had to wait a day or two to get your wheat ground as there would be several teams ahead of you. There was quite a campground around the mill but now it is all gone and there is no mill any longer. There used to be many games and stories told around the campfires at night.

Those were the good old days. They were far more exciting than now. People took time to live, and en-joy life, not like today. With the days of freighting over, I remained at home on the farm instead of living on the trail.