After some passengers disembarked, we got orders to move into the forepart of the train. We had children and all our things to carry through, while going at full speed, having to contend with many legs of men and women sleeping on the floors. They were calling one another names in tongues unknown, yet one knew by their manner.
Arrived in Toronto, where the train embarked on a huge ferry. Arrived in Chicago on June 4 then Minneapolis on June 5. Had to pay the usual Sunday traveller’s penalty.
Arrived in Ft Garry. This city of the west has some first class brick buildings, but for every permanent place there are two temporary ones. A great many simply living under canvas. All is a bustle. A room is $1.50 per day.
Went to see the government agent, who was not there. The person representing him knew nothing, and did not even have the sense to recommend me to the Dominion Land Office, where information might be had. For assistance on changing money, he actually had the cheek to offer me less for my pound. They try to make money off of the immigrants. I cashed my draft at the bank for more. My friend is a carpenter and can make $2.50 here, but that won’t keep the family in a boarding house. His boxes of belongings are all broken, some destroyed. They were all new and well-made. (The family) is very much disappointed more than can be imagined by anyone who has not been an immigrant. One of our boxes is broken, and one is amiss. We will go on to Oak Lake where I am told I might get a homestead 60 or 70 miles out.
Took the train to Oak Lake where accommodation in a tent was $1 for beds and 30 cents for very poor meals! Bought a tent for $10.
Went to the Land Office full of hope, but found it crowded, homesteads taken up as fast as the papers could be written out. Many were disappointed going out 60 or 70 miles, finding some suitable places, which were all taken up in the time they were away. I determined to take a homestead off the map, without seeing it, and if it did not suit, would buy a railway lot in the vicinity. The gentleman in charge asked why I was taking it without seeing it? He said if you do this and not take it, you will lose your money, and not be allowed to take up another homestead. But if you take your family till you come to land marked “not in the market” you can settle on a vacant even-numbered section, then write me. Build a house and get to work at once, and when it is on the market come and fill out the papers. I found out all the CPR land worth buying is bought up on speculation. It is surprising that members of Ontario farmers, who are disgusted with what they have seen, are going back to Ontario without taking up land. They were sold land in Qu’Appelle, which flooded, and when they came back to the Land Office, there were different agents there.
I had a talk with a homestead speculator. He sold a homestead in Qu’Appelle for $350, which I knew he only took up on Thursday. Another man had one for sale but I would not trade. He said he would take up another homestead. I told him what the land agent said, his reply was stuffy. I can’t do it, and they can do it. I am not discouraged, just disgusted at the way in which the speculators work—and get away with it.
I hear of an Englishman who plans to leave for Moose Mountains Monday, 21st.
I bought an outfit—yoke of oxen, wagon, harness, a milk cow, and three months provisions.
The water is very high, and we must wait until it subsides.
Surveyors crossed the creek, and helped us cross—took the whole day. Weather has turned hot and humid and the mosquitoes are terrible. The wagons are becoming stuck often.