NOTICE: These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit or presentation by any other organization or persons. Persons or organizations desiring to use this material, must obtain the written consent of the contributor, or the legal representative of the submitter, and contact the listed Alberta Digital archivist with proof of this consent. The submitter has given permission to the Alberta Digital Archives to store the file permanently for free access.|
THE COUNTY OF STETTLER No. 6 - Excerpts taken from the "Story of Rural Municipal
Government in Alberta 1909 to 1983" by the Association of the Municipal
Districts and Counties
Contributed for use in Alberta Digital Archives by Darlene Homme
1912 - Municipal District of Success No. 336 formed.
1918 - Municipal Districts of Vimy No. 337, Dublin No. 336, Waverly No. 367,
Haig No. 396 and Lakeside No. 397 formed.
1943 - Municipal District of Stettler formed to include Success, Vimy, Dublin
and Waverly districts.
1944 - Parts of Haig and Lakeside Districts added to the Municipal District of
1955 - County of Stettler No. 6 incorporated.
The area of the County of Stettler No. 6 is comprised of approximately one
million acres of farming and pasture lands in the east parkland area of Central
This district is bounded on the west by the Red Deer River and the Counties of
Lacombe and Red Deer; on the north by Buffalo Lake and the County of Camrose; on
the east by the Battle River, County of Paintearth and the Sullivan Lake, and on
the south by the Municipal District of Starland and the Special areas.
There have been many changes in this area since Anthony Hendy crossed the Battle
River in 1754, north and east of Gadsby, heading towards what later became the
settlement of Content near the Red Deer River, and on west to the Rocky
Following Hendy's trip across the west early records show that the settlement at
Content grew to be a popular place for the early hunters and Metis to congregate
when hunting Buffalo. In the 1870's this camping spot had a transient population
of some seven thousand persons. The townsite became a permanent settlement as
the country was being settled prior to the coming of the railroad. This
settlement flourished until the Canadian Pacific Railroad was constructed east
from Lacombe in the early 1900's. Content served as a stopping place for the
land seekers coming east from Red Deer and Lacombe and heading towards Stettler
and points further east. At one time a detachment of R.C.M.P. consisting of a
Corporal and five constables was stationed at this point to maintain law and
order in the area.
When the railroad was constructed the need for the Red Deer River crossing
diminished at this point with the people gradually moving to locations along the
All that remains to link this part of our early history is the sign near Content
bridge on Provincial Highway No. 21, marking the settlement and a small cemetery
located about one mile east of the original townsite. The cemetery was a
distinct historical link with the early days until fire and vandals destroyed
This early river crossing and settlement location is and has been a popular
fishing and camping spot and is slowly being developed by the Counties of Red
Deer and Stettler as a public park and campsite.
A large industrial plant, constructed by Canadian Gulf Oil Company is located on
the townsite of the former Village of Content, with Highway No. 21 being
constructed on the Main Street of the now dissolved village.
Anthony Hendy's approximate point of crossing the Battle River on the north east
edge of the County is now the site of an expanding power plant constructed by
Canadian Utilities Limited, and located in the County of Paintearth.
The Provincial Government has started one of its very popular picnic spots at
this location with this being popularly known as the Big Knife Park. It was near
this development that the underground, still talked about so much by early
pioneers, was found; but not until it had served its purpose. This general area
was also used as a gathering place for one of the earliest treks of horses from
southern Alberta to the Peace River country. The hills and coulees along the
river must have provided good pasture and shelter in the early days. I can
recall one old timer, now deceased, spinning yarns about the cattle straying
into the coulees and not finding their way out until a suitable brand had been
burned into their hide. This same old timer used to tell about the cows that an
early settler had. None of them ever carrie home in the fall without two calves.
Getting back to the history of the County, changes in the habits of the early
settlers were quick to be made once the railroad was built. Settlers flocked in,
with many of them passinq on through to the east.
The Town of Stettler, instead of Content, became the mecca for the eastern
people, and made their journey from the homestead to town for supplies much
shorter. The influx of population necessitated a change in government at the
local level and also the need for schools. Four Township Local Improvement
Districts were started in 1909 with land tax being from 21/2 to 5 cents per
acre. Several small schools were started prior to this.
It will be impossible to mention all the early councillors and school members of
the different areas now comprising the County of Stettler, but we do want to
mention a few that served on the councils of the early Local Improvement
Districts, and still have relatives in the area. We can think of C. Taggart at
Gadsby; G. E. Armstrong at Botha; J. A. Baird at Red Willow; J. H. Uttley at
Lowden Lake (Big Valley); A. E. Scheerschmdit at Stettler; J. I. Reynolds at
Erskine; George Deems at Erskine; R. E. Kerr, Content; Robert Scales at Erskine
and J. Skocdopole at Botha.
Many of the above men also served on the councils of the nine township Municipal
Districts formed in 1912 and later, and also took an active part in the
administration of the schools of the day.
The County of Stettler absorbed all or part of the following nine township
Municipal District of Success No. 336 - formed in 1912 with offices at
Cornucopia and Byemoor;
Municipal District of Vimy No. 337 - formed in 1918 with office at Big Valley;
Municipal District of Dublin No. 366- formed in 1918 with office at Gadsby;
Municipal District of Waverly No. 367 - formed in 1918 with office at Erskine;
Municipal District of Haig No. 396 - formed in 1918 with office at Donalda;
Municipal District of Lakeside No. 397 - formed in 1918 with office at Lakeside.
The districts listed above retained their identity until the Co-Terminous
Boundary Commission completed its work and formed the large Municipal District
of Stettler No. 336 in 1943, with part of Haig and Lakeside being added in 1944.
The first Council of the Districts listed above included the following:
M.D. of SUCCESS No. 336:
Messrs, George Sargent; J. A. McBride; R. S. Gregory; J.R. Finlay; H. A.
Schilling; John McAlister, Reeve and Dave Ferguson, Secretary-Treasurer.
Mr. McAlister is the only one of the above men living in the district today and
is still active on the original farm southwest of Byemoor. Mr. Dave Ferguson was
engaged as the first Secretary-Treasurer of the District and retained that
position from 1913 until 1943 when the Municipal District of Stettler was
M. D. of VIMY No. 337:
The Council members for this district in 1918 included Messrs. J.F. Durkan, H.
DeGraff, F.A. McCallum, F.E. Aunger, Reeve; R. A. Ross, H.L. Smith with Fred
Biggs as Secretary-Treasurer. Mr. Biggs was the only Secretary-Treasurer that
Vimy required from its formation until its dissolution and amalgamation with the
Municipal District of Stettler No.336.
Mr. Biggs carried on as Secretary-Treasurer of the larger Municipal District of
Stettler No.336 and No. 54 until September of 1953, at which time he retired.
M. D. of DUBLIN No. 366:
Members of the Council of this district in 1918 included Messrs. J. F. Hansel;
G. E. Armstrong; W. E. Jones; J. Henry; Ed Cantlon and Paul Farnalls; with H. A.
Kelly as Secretary-Treasurer.
Of these men Mr. W. E. Jones is still quite active on the ranch south of Gadsby
and Mr. Farnalls spends his winters away from Alberta either in a trailer
touring the south, or on a boat in the Mediterranean and Middle East areas.
Mr. Farnalls will be well known to many of the readers of this account since he
was a well respected President of the Alberta Association of Municipal
Districts, for several years. Mr. Farnalls was resident of that part of this
district that was transferred to the County of Paintearth in 1955 and will
undoubtedly be mentioned in the history of that District.
Mr. David Drinnan was the second Secretary-Treasurer for the Municipal District
of Dublin and served that district until 1943, before entering the employ of the
large Municipal District of Stettler in 1943. Mr. Drinnan later left municipal
work and was employed by the Stettler School Division from 1945 until shortly
before his death in 1954.
M. D. of WAVERLY No. 367:
Members of this Council in 1918 included Messrs.C. C. Stowell, J. T. Wilson,
Albert Rairdan, W. McCready, F.W. Keith, Pete Clark, Reeve, with C.B. Morton of
Erskine as Secretary-Treasurer.
None of the above mentioned council members are alive at this date. Mr. Morton
served as Secretary-Treasurer for just a few months and was followed by Oliver
Horsfall early in 1919. Mr. Horsfall retired after twenty years of service and
his place was taken by L. Williams early in 1939. Mr. Williams has stayed with
municipal government since that time and was employed by the Municipal District
of Stettler in 1943 and later the County of Stettler as its Secretary- Treasurer
when the County was formed on January 1st, 1955.
M. D. of HAIG No. 396;
Council members of the Municipal District of Haig in 1918 included Messrs.
D.J. McKay, E. Pfeiffer, A. Haywood, T. Lohey, H. M. Johnstone and J. Baird as
Reeve. Mr. W. E. Porter was Secretary-Treasurer and held this position until the
dissolution of the district in 1943.
M. D. of LAKESIDE No. 397:
Member of the Lakeside Council in 1918 included Messrs. Theo Baker, W. L.
Duchett, H. Hearonemus, George Ulyett and Mr. Scott as Reeve. G. A. Wells served
as Secretary-Treasurer and was followed by J. A. Marshall and Lynn Wilson.
Of the above mentioned men, we do know that Mr. Ulyett later took an active part
in school affairs as a member of the Camrose School Division Board, and was well
known to many for his "salty remarks".
Mr. J. A. Marshall, known as "Jimmy" was elected to the Federal Parliament as a
Social Credit member for the Camrose constituency and held this seat for some
The districts listed above, like many other throughout the Province, carried on
during the years following the first world war and encountered many and varied
difficulties during the early 1930's. The difficulties of the 1930 depression
years forced many of the small municipal districts into near bankruptcy and this
undoubtedly hastened the amalgamation of the "nine township" districts into the
larger Municipal Districts in 1943, with these districts being the forerunners
of the County system as we have it today.
Many are the stories related of hardships suffered by the rural population
during the depression years. Stories of seed and feed issued during the 1934-35
years and the abuses of this program were many. One recipient, after signing the
required application for seed, the necessary lien forms and the note, was heard
to say, "Thank goodness that's paid". There is also the story of one farmer
receiving relief feed grain. After getting the grain from one elevator he never
left his wagon until the grain had been sold at another. The effects of the
depression years were felt in municipal government for a long time and the
economy of many rural areas did not recover until the war years.
The councillors holding office at the dissolution of the small districts were as
M.D. of Waverly- Bateman, Robinson, Reynolds, Cadwell, McCallum and Oro; with
Mr. Oro as Reeve;
M.D. of Lakeside- McGladrie, Jarvis, Steinhoff, Ulyett, Jett and Hunter; with
Hunter as Reeve;
M.D. of Vimy- Wilkie, Warmington, MacDonald, Erichsen and F. Robinson;
M.D. of Dublin- Farnall, Hansel, Jones, Cantlon, lnce and MacMillan; with
Farnall as Reeve.
M.D. of Success- Kiddie, McCormick, James, Van den Bon, Watson and Wallace; with
Kiddie as Reeve;
M.D. of Haig- Baird, Taylor, Leisinger, Olson, Vikse and Rasmussen; with Baird
When the enlarged Municipal District of Stettler was formed the election for
councillors resulted in the re-election of a number of former representatives to
the new Council. The first council of the Municipal District of Stettler
included Messrs. D. Kiddie as Reeve, William MacDonald, Fred Robinson, H. A.
Schilling, M.A. McMillan, E. Skocdopole and T.M. Robinson, with the office for
the newly organized district being located in Stettler.
There were few changes in this council during the twelve years prior to the
formation of the County in 1955 with only seven different councillors elected
during that period. Messrs. T. M. Robinson and H. A. Schilling served the full
Upon the formation of the County nine divisions were created with the following
councillors elected: William Crawford served seven years; William Johnston
served three years after and four years on Municipal District; E. Stauffer
served ten years; L.V. Lohr served four years after six years on large Municipal
District. Fred A. Gerlach served ten years after three years on large Municipal
District with four years as Reeve; Mr. A.E. Potter has served continuously since
the formation of the County.
William Haner served eleven years. TM. Robinson served six years after ten years
on large municipal district with six years as reeve; Mr. J. Tucker served
The 1968 council of the County of Stettler were:
WJ. BAIRD one year A.E. POTTER continuous
WV. SMITH twelve years R.A. NELSON four years
A.J. KEMPF two years J.R BAUGH nine years
R.R. COLLINS one year L.L. DAMBERGER two years.
N. SANDULAK five years
1970 Council - WJ. Baird, J.R Baugh, R.R. Collins, L.L. Damberger, A.J. Kempf,
R.A. Nelson, A.E. Potter, N. Sandulak, with MR. NELSON as reeve.
1971 council remained the same with the exception of R.R. COLLINS who was
replaced by Lloyd Duncan.
1972, Mr. A.E. Potter died, and on Jan. 31, 1973, Murray Kromm of Red Willow
took his place on council, for a short period.
1974 Council - WJ. Baird, R.R. Collins, J.R Baugh, Fred Filipenko, R.D. Greig,
A.J. Kempf, L.L. Damberger, R.A. Nelson, and K.B. Scheerschmidt, with Mr. Nelson
Council remained the same until 1977 when Mr. Kempf was replaced by Arnold
Nitschke (Mr. Kempf moved to town), and Mr. Scheerschmidt was replaced by Mr.
Lawrence Gish. Mr. R.A. Nelson moved to Stettler in 1977 and Mr. Haner was
elected to his division. Mr. Nelson served on council for four years as a
councillor, and became reeve in 1970, until he moved from the farm. Mr. Haner
was elected reeve in 1977 and remains at this date, September, 1982.
In 1980, Mr. Herb Gutsche replaced Mr. John Baird, and Mr. Art Kempf returned in
place of Mr. Nitschke.
1982 council members are: J.R Baugh, L.L. Damberger, Fred Filipenko, L.O. Gish,
R.D. Greig, Herb Gutsche, J.W Haner (Reeve), A.J. Kempf, WF. Muhlbach.
Mr. WL. Cook is still our chief assessor, but now has 3 assistants to help with
the general assessment. Bill has been with the county for 23 years. Mr. W.J.
(Bill) Bauer is still the agricultural field man and he has served for 28 years.
Mr. Lloyd Williams, who was employed on a part-time basis with the old municipal
district, from July 2, 1931 to March 31, 1939, and full-time from that date
until July, 1977, retired from the County of Stettler No. 6. Mr. Nick Fakas, was
hired as county administrator following Mr. William's retirement in June of
Council took an active part in the construction of a chronic hospital in 1954,
recognizing the needs of many old-timers for a decent place to spend their