Thomas Herbert Culbert

Culbert, History of the Family
as told by Mary (Culbert) Allison


Herb Culbert came west from Goderich, Ont. in 1901 at the age of 20. He travelled on a harvester excursion train and stopped off at Boissevain, Man. where he worked on a farm for one year. He went from there to Wales, N.D. and spent two years there where he met Corina Rivard, later to become his wife.
He went from Wales to Estevan where he was employed doing carpenter work with Frank Field. He bought his first team of horses from Matt Knight at Roche Percee and went tanking from June until freeze-up for Pershing Bros. who were breaking up land and harvesting with a big steam engine. He then started to haul coal from the mines. He supplied residents in Estevan and hauled the first load out of Nicholson's mine.


He was married to Corina Rivard in May of 1906. She had moved to Lampman from Wales with her parents, brothers and sister and was employed at the Kelly House at the time of their marriage. They filed on a homestead at Bromhead shortly after they were married and five children were born to them there;

Sarah,

Margaret,

Mary,

Lillian

Letitia.

Margaret passed away at the age of four months.


In 1908 Herb Culbert was elected councillor for the Local Improvement District and held office for two years then was elected councillor for the Souris Valley Municipality and held office for two years.
In 1913 he moved back to Estevan with his family and started draying and excavating. In 1917 he took over the Kelly Barn and opened up a feed and livery stable on 5th Street and was living on Hillside at the time. In 1918 the family were all down with the Flu and the doctor had given four of the children up but, due to good home nursing and lots of sleepless nights, not one was lost. As this time there were four more children;

Edna,

Violet,

Barbara

Isabelle.


They then moved to 5th Street across the street from the Livery stable. Here the first boy was born. After nine girls in succession Baby Tom was pretty popular.

John was born next.


The Livery business failed when cars started taking over so the Stable was closed down in 1921 and Mr. Culbert contracted for all the team work for the Briquette Plant at Bienfait. In 1923 he and the family moved out to a farm owned by Henry Wilson in the Albany district and farmed there. The children attended Albany School under the tutorship of Agnes Simpson, (later to become Mrs. Bill Chamney) for the first year. Later, Mike Rooney taught most of the family. He had seven Culberts at one time as his pupils.
After farming the Wilson place for three years, the family moved to a farm owned by Joe Owens where both

Bill

Doris were born.


Sarah married Howard Brenner in 1924 and later moved to California but moved back to Estevan for a few years then went back to California again and still resides there.
Mary, Lillian and Letitia learned to handle horses, a Fordson Tractor and farm machinery like any farmer and did most of the stooking in the fall and cut and raked most of the hay.
In 1927 Lillian married Darrell Pierce and moved on to a farm and later to Truax Traer Coal Co. where Darrell was employed. They later moved to Oxbow and from there to Vancouver. Darrell passed away in Vancouver and Lillian still lives there, not far from her son and daughter.
The drought came in 1929. Crops were very poor and times were getting worse so Herb Culbert loaded up most of his family in the Model T Ford (9 in all), along with Mrs. Culbert's father, and headed northwest of the Meadow Lake country where he had filed for a homestead the previous fall.
He found a vacated stopping place to live in until he could build a home on his own land. A road had to be cut through the bush before he could get the horses
in to build on a suitable location. the older ones had to dig in and help. Tom, the oldest boy, was only ten years old at that time but worked like a little man. Logs were cut by hand and the children peeled the logs. A two-storey log house was erected within a year of moving up.
Mary and Edna, who had stayed behind, went north to Spruce Lake, the end of the railway at that time, and were met by their Dad with a wagon and team and travelled on a road through the bush, which was full of pot holes, a distance of 40 miles which was a full days travel.
It was a beautiful place to come to after leaving the drought area, with a brand new log house and barn, lots of beautiful spruce trees and jack pine near the building site and, later on, blueberries and cranberries in abundance. However, it was awfully hard work clearing the land to grow a crop. Too much rain drowned out the potatoes and garden the first year but, with wild game and working on new roads to earn a little money, they survived.
Letitia was the next one to marry. She came north for one summer and went back to Weyburn to marry Gilbert Johnsrude who was a grain buyer at Kingsford. They raised four children while being moved from one place to another. Gilbert passed away while living at Canwood, Sask. Letitia moved to Saskatoon with her family until they received their education then moved to Meadow Lake and bought a confectionery which she operates with the help of her daughter.
Mary was married to Leslie Allison of Turtleford in 1934 and lived on a farm for four years before moving to Vancouver.
Edna married Richard Colwell in 1934 and lived on a homestead at Rapid View for a few years then moved to Calgary where her husband joined the navy. He was transferred to Esquimalt for a time and then to Windsor where they resided for some years before Dick passed away. They had two sons who live in Windsor and Edna still resides there.
Violet was thrown from a horse and seriously injured and later had to have several operations in Regina. The Doctor said if it hadn't been for her will power she wouldn't have lived. After she recovered from this she married Gerald Levere from Liberty. they lived in St. Walburg for some time then moved to Lloydminister and still reside there.
Barbara married Russell Hill from Meadow Lake and they had three children. They moved out to Vancouver and later to Kamloops where Barbara passed away in 1971.
Isabelle married Lloyd Romfo from Prince, Sask. and moved around quite a bit as her husband was in the air force. They now reside in Calgary, close to their two daughters.
Tom married Leona Howard who had moved up north around the same time with her parents. Tom is a contractor and lives in Meadow Lake. He and Leona have raised six children.
John joined the air force in Vancouver and met and married Marian Eckberg from Stockholm, Sask. They have two children and reside in Richmond, B.C.
Bill married Joyce McCannon from Kenora, Ont. and lives at Makwa on the home farm. They have five children.
Doris, the youngest, married Henry Wright from Sandy Ridge and farmed for awhile before moving to Vancouver. They moved from there to Whitehorse for a few years and back to Vancouver where Henry passed away. They had four children. Doris now lives at Ft. St. James, B.C. near one of her daughters and still has her son and one daughter at home who still attend school.
In 1945 Herb Culbert had a very serious accident. he was run over by a team of horses on a hay mower and was pretty badly cut by the mower and had his hip smashed. He wasn't expected to live but came through this. He was in a cast from the waist down for some time and on crutches after that for months. He sold the stock and went to the coast along with his wife and the youngest daughter and spent the winter there. By the time spring arrived he felt well enough to try farming again so went back.
In 1955 they moved in to Meadow Lake and Bill took over the farm. Mary had moved back to Meadow Lake from Vancouver in 1950. She was divorced from her husband and was employed as accountant for the Meadow Lake Co-op Assn. She moved in with her Mother and Dad as her mother wasn't too well.
Mrs. Culbert passed away in November 1969. Mr. Culbert and Mary continued to live in Meadow Lake until Mary retired in 1977. She and her Dad moved to Lloydminster where they now reside. Mr. Culbert is still hale and hearty at the age of 98 years. He reads at least three books a week and loves to play cribbage or Canasta. he still loves to travel and is a good traveller.

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