Antler Valley Farm was established in 1890 by Ephriam McAllister.

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Ephriam McAllister  1856-1948
Antler Valley Farm

From Sod Shacks and Wagon Tracks

 

Mr. Ephriam McAllister arrived in the Central Alberta area in 1890. He had spent some time at a ranch near Cochrane, Alberta and about seven years near South Mountain in Ontario before coming to this district to homestead. He was born in Kerrick Fergus County, Antrim, Ireland on February 21, 1856, and came out to Canada in 1883. His parents were Scottish, having come from the Isle of Skye to settle near Belfast. He had two sisters and three brothers. Only one sister, Agnes (Mrs William Sims), came to Canada and lived in Ontario.

 

At the time of the Riel Rebellion he joined the Territorials in Ontario and came west as far as Winnipeg. They arrived there only to find the trouble had been settled so they returned to Ontario. His trip west had given him a glimpse of the opportunities and adventure on the western plains so he came west to Alberta. He worked on a ranch near Cochrane, owned by a Mr. Rutledge for some time. Then, following a winter spent in a lumber camp near Golden, B.C. and accompanied by Mr. William Champ and Mr. Joe Doan, he came to this distrcit in 1890. He filed on a homestead in what is now the Antler Hill district.

 

In the fall of 1891 he married Miss Mary Jane Niblock who had come out to be with her brothers, Robert and William in the spring of 1891. Miss Niblock came to Penhold on the first train to run north from Calgary. She was born in Newry County Down in Ireland on February 1, 1865 and left Ireland in 1884 going first to Rochester, New York, then later to Hamilton, Ontario in 1887.

 

Their first home was built of logs near the trail connecting Pine Lake with the Edmonton-Calgary trail. Bands of Indians going to and from Pine Lake for hunting and fishing often passed by. Later a frame house was built with lumber locally milled. After the rainy seasons returned, about 1900 the house was moved south to a higher location on SE 18-36-27-W4 where it remained. The move was made with four teams of horses. Mr. Bush was in charge and was assisted by neighbours, Mr S. Springay and Mr J. Tillier. A further addition was made to the house later in 1912 increasing its size to eight rooms.

 

About 1898 or 1899 Mr McAllister and a neighbour, Mr. George Gillis, made plans to move to Dauphin, Manitoba. Mr. Gillis went ahead to look over land there and find suitable farms. He sent back word not to proceed with moving plans as they were better off here than in the Manitoba area.

 

Mr. and Mrs. McAllister had a family of nine, four sons and five daughters.

 

Their eldest, Sarah (Sadie), was born in 1892 and was married to Charles Newton in 1910.

 

Robert Alexander, born in 1893, married Ethel Parcels in 1918.

 

Jon William, born in 1896, was married to Winnifred Kennings in 1923.

 

Mary, born in 1897, was married in 191 to Milford Parcels. They lived in Chauvin and Lacombe, later moving to Stettler. They had a family of six.

 

Arthur, born in 1898, joined the 187th Battalion in 1916 and went overseas. He was wounded on the Lens from August 23, 1917 and died on August 30th. He was buried in the Lapugney Military Cemetery.

 

Annie, born January 1900, was married on June 6, 1923 to Ivan Parcels who farmed east of Penhold in the Horn Hill district.

 

Edward Ephriam, born August 1901, was married on July 19, 1930 to Phyllis Fear and they lived on the original homestead.

 

Esther, born in 1903 was married Dec. 26, 1929 to Evan Richards of the Horn Hill district where they still farm.

 

Agnes Margaret, born in 1905, was married in July 1931 to Fred Pamenter of the Bank of Montreal staff, Manvilled. He retired as a manager of the Lacombe branch in 1965.

 

Both Mr and Mrs. McAllister were members of the Presbyterian Church in Penhold. He was a member of the Orange Lodge for over seventry-five years. He was made a life member of the Sentienil L.O.L. No 2403 at Penhold more than thirtheen years before his death.

 

When the first cremery was built at Innisfail, he was one of the directors. He was also a director of the first Agricultural Society in Innisfail.

 

Four grandsons served with the Canadian Armed Services in World War II and were fortunate to all return safely after the war.

 

Mrs. McAllister passed away at home February 25, 1945. Mr. McAllister passed away on September 5, 1948. They rest in the family plot in the Innisfail Cemetery.