James & Carol (nee Nolan) Ackroyd

Ackroyd Family Research Some of the grandchildren of James & Carol (nee Nolan) Ackroyd

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LIFE STORY

Of

MAX EDWIN ACKROYD


 

Once upon a time, a long time ago, (at least it seems that way; in fact, it was that way) on May 23, 1915, I was born in Ovid, Idaho to Sina Christina Olsen Ackroyd and James Walter Ackroyd; weighing in at about 11 pounds. They were a poor couple who tilled the soil for a living and I guess I wasn’t too pleased with my situation because I cried a lot as a baby; so my mother said.  One time my Aunt Dorothy, mother’s sister, bought me for two dollars from Mother.  It was a day that I cried most of the time but before the day was over, she paid Mother five dollars to take me back.  I guess I was not too much of a bargain.  Mother told me the reason I cried so much was because she didn’t have enough milk to feed me and I guess I was just hungry.

  I was the third child in what was to be a family of eight living children – Marie the eldest, then Walter James, myself (Max Edwin), Edith, Grant Olsen, Ammon Olsen, Clara, and the youngest, Marjorie.  Mother gave birth to a stillborn child prior to Marie.  She was given the name of Esther and is buried in the Magrath cemetery.  At this writing there are six of us still alive. Marie passed away on the 26th of August 1986 and Edith passed away on the 3rd of June 1993.

  At the time of my birth my parents were living in Dylan, Idaho.  They moved a lot and by the time I started school I had lived in Delyn, Idaho, Howe, Idaho, Bothwell, Utah, and Arco, Idaho.  My first recollection was in Howe, Idaho.  I remember walking barefoot in the road.  The dust was really deep and it would ooze up between your toes.  It was a really good feeling – it felt just like walking on deep velvet.            

While living in Howe I was watching my father grease the wagon when a wheel slipped off, falling on my left leg and breaking it.  I was three or four at the time.  They had to rush me to Montpelier and have it set.           

My father had a Model T Ford and I vaguely remember wanting to ride with him one time but he drove off and left me.  I jumped up and down in the road and yelled after him, “Come back, you old S.O.B. or I’ll throw a stick at you!”             

I started school in Arco, Idaho, but I don’t remember too much about it.  Only that the rabbits were really plentiful and they used to come to our alfalfa stack in the winter and eat hay.  Dad fenced it with chicken wire and left a small hole for the rabbits to come in; then early in the morning he would slip out and close the hole.  Then Dad, Walter, and myself would take clubs and kill the rabbits before we went to school.  The kids at school called us the rabbit boys because we would have rabbit fur all over our clothes.  I also remember one day when at school I was diagnosed as having pink eye.  They sent me to the doctor and half of the class with me.  They were afraid that they would get the pink eye, so I had to stay at home for a couple of weeks.            

My grandfather had a stroke, so in the spring of 1922 my father moved us to Magrath, Alberta, Canada so he could help take care of him.  I don’t remember very much about grandfather, only he used to sit in his wheelchair and say “Humbug!” to us children.  He died in February 1924 and at his funeral they said he was the greatest man that had ever lived in Magrath.

I remember the first day of school in Magrath.  On coming to school, because I was a stranger, the kids all kept looking at me, which didn’t make me too happy, so I pulled out and went home.  I learned to love Magrath, and I still have a warm feeling in my heart for that town.  We lived in Magrath until I was 12 years old.  In the spring of 1928 we moved to Hartleyville.

I was baptized July 1, 1923 by George Bone, and confirmed by my father, James Ackroyd, on the same day.  I was baptized in a dirt-swimming hole.  George Bone later committed suicide, but I don’t think I had anything to do with it!          

In the winter of 1927 Dad went on a mission to Vancouver and, leaving the crop unharvested, Walter and myself milked cows, tended to the livestock, hauled beet pulp from the Raymond Sugar factory and kept things going till my father returned.  The Raymond Sugar factory was about 12 miles away.  We’d get up early in the morning and hitch up the team and drive to Raymond and load a wagon of beat pulp by hand and then return home.  At that time anybody who raised beets could get beet pulp for a small price for feeding the cows.  You fed the pulp to the cow after you milked because if you fed it before, it would show up in the milk.

In the spring of 1928, when I was 12 years of age, Dad traded for a place west of Glenwood (Hartleyville) and we moved once again.  Dad and I drove wagons across the Blood Reserve to Glenwood, the rest of the family came by train.  I remember seeing large herds of horses as we drove over the Reserve.  You don’t see herds like that anymore.  There were no fences on the Reserve at that time, and most of the Indians lived in tents.  They were a vanishing race at that time.  There was only about 1800 of them on the reserve.  Now the population is over 7000 and they have nice homes.

We arrived at our home 6½ miles west of Glenwood on the Waterton River.  I started to school in Hartleyville, 2½ miles from home, in a one-room schoolhouse taught by Sheridan Jacobs, grades 1 to 8.  I was in Grade 7.  While at school one day I had the misfortune of breaking my arm.  A kid pulled the blanket I had over my shoulder and I stumbled over the scraper, fell on the cement and broke my arm.  Thus, I spent 12 days in Cardston hospital with my arm stretched out with a cogwheel on the end of it to keep it in position while my arm mended.

After finishing Grade 8 at Hartleyville, my father kept me home for a year to help on the farm.  In the fall of 1930 I rode a horse 6½ miles to Glenwood and attended Grade 9, with Ivan Nelson as teacher. In the fall of 1931 they opened another room in Hartleyville School and I took Grade 10 there with Arminto Kearl as teacher.

For recreation at school we used to put the neighbors cows in the barn that was used to house the horses that students rode to school.  We would ride John Leisinger's cows and used to get bucked off.  We could never hang on even though we put a rope around the cows front quarters.  Most often we rode horses to school or drove a Democrat or buggy.  In the winter we had a cutter or sleigh. On occasion we did walk to school.

When I graduated from grade 8, I had to stay out of school for a year.  Dad kept Walter and I out alternately to help him with the farm work – one year one of us would stay home and then the next year the other.  I went to Glenwood for grade nine, then back to Hartley for grade 10.

At 16 years I started pitching bundles for Gilbert Hartley’s threshing machine in the fall.  Times were hard – Walter, my older brother, and I went to Magrath and worked on threshing machines in the fall. In the fall of 1934, while working in Magrath, (Walter and I) our dad suffered a ruptured appendix and died, September 1, 1934.  Walter came home to run the farm, and I stayed and finished up harvesting in Magrath.  At that time I thought that my education was over.

On November 1, 1934 Uncle Marion Ackroyd came up home and asked my mother, Sina Ackroyd, if I couldn’t come to Magrath and stay at their house and attend Grade 11 in Magrath.  This I did. I stayed with Uncle Marion and Aunt Nora and cousin Charles and cousin Francis.  We had an enjoyable time. But when I got through Grade 11, that ended my schooling.  Walter and I then run the farm and supported the family. The summer of 1938 I worked for Louis Brandley of Raymond with Frank Smith.

Reflecting back on my childhood and school years I recall being a cub scout while in Magrath, and going on a scout trip while in Hartley.  Irvin Loose was the scoutmaster and we did take a trip up to Red Rock Canyon and we got to meet Lord Baden Powell who was there.  He is the one who started the scouting movement.  As youngsters we used to love to fish in the Waterton River before the dam was put in.  It was really good fishing.  We had lots of good meals on whitefish and trout.  In school I loved literature and I was good in mathematics.  I guess I wasn’t too bad of a scholar.  When I was young in Magrath we didn’t have a radio.  Radio and Television came later.  The cars had no heaters and they weren’t very reliable.  It wasn’t until after the war in about 1945 that things started to pick up and they got decent cars and radios and TV’s, but we never had that as a child.  We farmed with horses.  Tractors were not the going thing in those days either.  For light we used kerosene lamps with mantles that put out a real good light.  During the depression, there was a time when there was only one phone for the entire community of Hartley.  Gilbert Hartley had the only phone in the community.  I was instrumental in getting the power and the phone into the rural community of Hartleyville.  I have a plaque saying I was one of the forerunners of the light and the power that came into the rural communities out there.

When my dad passed away, we had to work on the farm and keep it going.  We didn’t have much opportunity to get away from the farm.  We drove to Cardston once or twice a year.  It was really a big deal for us to go to Cardston.  I met Isla while she was working for her sister, Laura, who needed some help, while she was having her babies.  Laura lived about two and a half miles from where I lived.  We dated each other for 2 or 3 years before we got married.  We didn’t have much money for chasing around.  We’d go to the Lakes once in a great while.  We finally did get a 1935 Chev car that we used to drive and I used to drive over and visit her in Orton.


In fall of 1939, October 26, I married Isla Alberta Tolley from Orton in the Alberta Temple.  My mother, Walter, Clara, and Marjorie moved to Cardston.  Grant stayed with Isla and I out on the farm to help out.  We stayed on the farm 10 months, then packed up our things and moved to Orton for the winter.  I worked for my brother-in-law, Arnold Champney (till spring) and on the MacLeod Airport.  The spring of 1940 I bought a house (one room) from the airport and moved it onto a quarter section of land in Hartleyville that Walter and I had bought from Elroy Jackson. It was a sixteen by eighteen-foot building.  I added a bit onto it until it was twenty-two by sixteen and consisted of two rooms.  Isla and I lived in this humble abode of two small rooms for 3½ years.  We milked a few cows, shipping our milk to the Glenwood cheese factory.

On May 29, 1943 our first child was born, Beverley Kent Ackroyd, a joy of our life after 3½ years of marriage.  On March 31, 1945 our second child was born, another boy, Darryl Rae.  Our third child, Alberta Maxine was born on the 10th of July 1949, and Nolan Cordell was born on December 5, 1953.

We started out with a quarter section.  I then bought 110 acres from Alice Woodruff and a year or two later I bought 80 acres from Frank Rodgers.  With this land we were able to build up a dairy herd of 35 to 40 milk cows. We milked cows for a living and managed to survive and live as well as any person in the surrounding district.  It was a lot of hard work.  I used to get up at 4:00 a.m. to get the cows and have them milked before the milk truck picked up the milk.  We shipped our milk to the Glenwood Cheese Factory.  We stayed on the farm until I was 63 years old, and then it just got too much for me.  The kids came home and said “You gotta get off the farm”.  We thought it over, and having a chance to sell the farm we did so and moved into Cardston in 1978 and lived happy ever after.

On the farm we had good and bad years.  We were able to pay for our land and built a house and dairy sheds. During this time I served on the U.I.D. irrigation council and the cheese factory board.  We sent the two older boys on missions, Kent to New Zealand and Darryl to France.  Maxine was helped to get her R.N.

My health hasn’t been too bad.  Besides a broken leg and a broken arm as a youngster I did lose a finger in a farming accident.  When I was swathing, my swather blade stuck and I was pulling on a v-belt to get it loose.  I got my hand caught in the pulley and cut all the cords on my fingers.  The doctors were not able to save my little finger so they took it off, but I have managed okay with my hand.  I also had a back operation and I was out of it for about 4 days, and I woke up with the hiccups.  When I woke up they were trying to put these tubes down my nose and it was coming out my mouth, and I said, “Please don’t do that,” so they pulled them out and from then on I got better. This occurred right after Nolan got married.

When on the farm I used to haul 8 gallon cans of milk, two of them at a time, and they each weighted 110 pounds, so that was about 220 pounds.  I walked with it, and then I’d have to walk and hunt cows a lot of the time, and I wore my hips out.  Hauling bales and doing other heavy work did my hips in.  That is why we had to leave the farm when I was 63 years old, because my hips were giving me trouble.  In 1978 I had one hip done, and it was quite successful.  Then five years later I had the other hip done.  At the age of 85 I found that I’d just about worn out my second pair of hips.  They are again giving me trouble but I guess I will just have to live with it.  The doctor tells me that if you know that a hurricane is coming you don’t bother putting new shingles on the roof. I guess, for me, at age 85, the doctor’s feel that the hurricane is on its way.

Post script:  Max Edwin Ackroyd passed away in Cardston, Alberta on Sept 30, 2003 at the age of 88 years.  In October of 2002 he fell cracking his hip.  He spent a couple of months in the hospital while his hip mended and then he was placed in the Cardston Auxillary hospital to continue his rehabilitation.  His health however, did not improve, but continued to decline over the ensuing months.  He passed away just hours after he took sick which was indeed a blessing. 

Copyright © Beverley Kent Ackroyd 2003 - 2013

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