Sounds Like …

One of the surprises in family history research is the way surnames — last names — change rather fluidly across time. It seems, also, that in the early 1900s it was common to give a first name as an way of honoring a relative … and then use a second name. There are a number of charts online for “Irish” “Italian” and “Scottish Naming Patterns” for that time period.

But it’s not just names that end up being freely interpreted! I remember the ON census taker in the middle 1800s who renamed a township … North Gower became North Gore (spelled like it is pronounced!).

Which leads to the answer to the Lila Cadieux Young and George Milton Young Great Saskatchewan mystery!

D S Fischer, of Medicine Hat AB (not far from Whiskey Creek) solved the mystery.

Our friendly 1916 census taker must have heard someone say “Whiska Creek” and decided it was an accented version of “Whiskey” Creek … so the 1916 census record placed several hundred people in “Whiskey” Creek!

Whiska Creek does still exist! It’s rural municipality 106, with offices of the Reeve (Mayor) in Vanguard SK. It’s population (2006) is 520 and its 329 square miles are mostly farmland.

A Mystery: Where is Whiskey Creek, SK?

George Milton Young and his wife Lila Cadieux Young married in 1911, and apparently headed out to homestead on the Prairies soon after. George’s obituary says that they were in Saskatchewan until 1919. Until recently, I had no idea where they had moved. But finding them in the 1916 Census of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba lessened the mystery only a little bit. George and Lila appear on the microfilmed census in a roll labelled for the Swift Current, SK, area.

George and Lila Young on a Whiskey Creek, SK, census page

Great! Under ‘Place of habitation’ they are residing in ‘Township 12, Range 10, Meridian [W] 3, Municipality Whiskey Creek.’ The Saskatchewan Archives confirms that paperwork for this property was filed by George Young. A large 1929 map of the Province, with survey grids, shows the 12-10-3 block on a spur of the Canadian Pacific Railway, but with no town or village name indicated.

The National Library and Archives in Ottawa has only one reference to Whiskey Creek: a 1937 CPR railwayman’s accident report. Otherwise, every other source, even published province directories from the time period, as well as the University of Saskatchewan Library catalogue and their archives, return no information about a Whiskey Creek!

See the June 6, 2011 post for the solution to this mystery!

George Milton Young and Lila Cadieux Young

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.