The water is high. We lost much of our provisions in crossing a creek, but I thank God we are all safe.
In the distance, we saw the Moose Mountains. My wife and children show much joy, soon we will be home! We met a man who told us land is open here for homesteading, and I fancy the land he told me about.
We arrived at our home. We put up our tents and are truly “homesteaders.” I can get logs from the mountains to build a house. There are often Indians around, and we will welcome them. I hope that this account of our journey, and yes, hardships will be passed on and kept by my future families.
Here ends the diary, as there was too much work to do. Logs had to be hauled, a house to be built, gathering firewood for the winter, breaking land, and cutting and stacking hay for the livestock.
James and Ann’s daughter Lily was born August 23, 1882, while the family was still living in a tent. Four more daughters, Sara, Isabella, Helen and Dorothy, as well as two more sons, James and Frank, were born over the next few years.
The town of Cannington Manor grew rapidly over the next few years to include a steam-powered flour mill, a land titles office, school, a pork packing plant, two cheese factories and a saw mill. There were social and cultural activities, or which the Hindmarches were seldom mentioned. They were too far away, and too busy trying to make a living in the midst of drought, frost, hall, severe winters and Prairie fires. Their first house was destroyed by fire, and their second by a gale.
In 1891, their 11-year-old daughter died of consumption. Some of the children attended school when they could, but the weather was too harsh to attend during the winter.
James raised purebred Holstein cattle, which he showed at the fairs. He was a shareholder in the Moose Mountain Cheese Factory. A picture of Cannington Fair shows James with one of his prize Holsteins and his dog at his feet. It has been entered in the Dairymen’s history book, and has been placed in the Dairymen’s Museum in North Battleford.
In his capacity as stone mason, James is said to have built the impressive stone racing stable at the Beckton Ranch. The beautiful mansion had 26 rooms, complete with bachelor’s wing.
The Indians on the nearby reserve never posed a serious threat to the settlers, although the girls found them a terrifying sight when they came thunder- ing into the yard in their Native dress. If the men weren’t around, the Indians would come into the house and help them- selves to food.
In 1898, at the age of 48, James died after being gored by a Holstein bull. Ann was left with several young children to raise and a farm to manage, with the help of her older sons. Ann died in 1931 at the age of 78.
When the long-awaited railway went through ten miles south, the village gradually died out. Many moved away, went to war or headed north to the gold rush. Still others, the Hindmarches among them, persevered and today still have descendants farming or otherwise making a living in the Cannington district. They, as well as others who are spread across Western Canada, are proud to claim that their ancestors were among the first pioneers in Cannington, N.W.T.