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The Willoughby Family's Journey to Saskatchewan
By Elizabeth Phipps
1 In the late 18th century, many families from all over the world came to live in the region now known as Saskatchewan. Under the Dominion Land Act, the Government of Canada offered settlers a one quarter square mile, or 168 acres, of land to make a farm. These farms were called homesteads.
2 One family that settled near Saskatoon was the Willoughbys. Their journey began in southern Ontario. The following is an account of their trip from Moose Jaw in Southern Saskatchewan to their homestead.
3 In April of 1883, the Willoughby family stepped off the westbound train in Moose Jaw. The weather was very chilly as they unloaded their belongings out of the train onto the train platform. At dawn the next day, the family loaded everything they owned onto a horse-drawn cart they brought from eastern Canada. Once the carts were loaded, they set off with a group of settlers on a trail to their new home. Although the weather was cold it was clear, and spirits were high. The first two days went by quickly, although travel was very slow because the horses were not used to walking on the prairie trails. On the third day, however, the Willoughby's group found themselves in a terrible spring blizzard. The travelers were not dressed or prepared for such weather, and they had to stay in their summer-weight tents for three days until the snow ended.
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