My grandmother’s sister, Lila, married George Milton Young in 1911. I heard the stories of their traveling out West to homestead. And I remember, sometime in my growing up, that we received a newspaper clipping of their Wedding Anniversary celebration (50th in 1961? 60th in 1971? Not sure.)
Photo: Horses outside Grande Prairie, Alberta, ca. 1920.
In my research, after their wedding, I lost track of their whereabouts. My sister Margo and I were talking about them, and between the two of us we came up with some small tidbits of information. Thanks to research by Natalie Edwards of the Alberta Genealogical Society’s Edmonton branch, the pieces started to fit together.
After living in Saskatchewan from 1914, George and Lila moved on to a homestead in the Peace River area of Alberta. After almost a decade (1919-1926) of a very rough life on their homestead, they moved into town. George took over the Bayhen Livery and Feed Barn.
Their departure in 1941 was chronicled in a newspaper article. The reasons are unclear: the economic times? the difficult lifestyle? “Their leaving is like the disappearance of a landmark,” the reporter wrote.
My Mom had simply remembered that Lila insisted they move into town. But in fact they left Grande Prairie for Ottawa: Lila by train, leaving Grande Prairie and stopping in Edmonton to visit friends; George taking a carload of horses to sell in Ottawa.
“It is not easy to leave a country where during twenty years we have made so many loyal friends. As far as I know at present, I expect to carry on in the horse business. It is quite possible that I will return in the Fall and pick up a carload of horses, ” George told the Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune reporter.
It seems that they both did return (in that Fall? later?), and eventually stayed. On his marriage license, George had listed his occupation as “horse dealer” (as had his father Thomas) and that was how George made his living. His obituary explains that “Mr. Young was well known in the early years for his buying and selling of horses, and operating a livery stable in Grande Prairie.”
Lila died February 24, 1975, age 84, in Grande Prairie. George died the following year, April 24, 1976 in the Auxiliary Hospital, Grande Prairie, age 91. Both are buried in the Grande Prairie Cemetery.