I could read his mind.
Every afternoon he brought home the paper. Every evening, he read it. Always the same section – Farms for Sale
He was looking for a farm. His farm. The farm he’d always dreamed of owning. The farm he’d left England to find. The farm he was saving every hard-earned penny for.
I could almost see the wheels spinning as he read. This one’s too expensive. This one’s too far away. This one’s got poor land.
He never stopped searching.
He found it, eventually. We moved there, raised our family there, lived out our lives there.
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The Back Story:
My maternal grandfather, Caleb Higham, dreamed of owning a farm but in England that was impossible; he would have to be a tenant farmer like his father. Instead, he emigrated to Canada under the British Bonus program operated by the Canadian government which offered $10.00 to prospective farmers if they purchased their farms within six months of arriving in Canada.
He arrived in Montreal in June 1913, bound for Regina, Saskatchewan, with $25.00 in his pocket. Unable to afford the going price for farmland, Caleb worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad as a brakeman, probably the most dangerous job of the railroad industry. He soon quit to pursue his dream, and because he still could not afford to buy a farm, he began working as a farm labourer for Will Grigg, a farmer at Belbeck just north of Moose Jaw. That is where he met Mary Appleton and they married in 1915.
Caleb and Mary moved into Moose Jaw where he worked as a driver for Farmers Dairy, but he never gave up his dream of owning a farm. Still not having enough money to buy a farm and probably unable to obtain a bank mortgage, he started renting farms, first at Keystown about half-way between Moose Jaw and Regina, then Boharm west of Moose Jaw, and finally Mazenod about 60 miles (95 km) southwest of Moose Jaw.
He finally bought his farm in 1924, a half-section (320 acres or about 160 hectares) near the village of Congress. In 1939, he rented an adjoining half-section that had been abandoned by a farmer who was unable to pay the back taxes he had accumulated during the desperate years of the Dirty Thirties. A few years later, Caleb purchased the land. In 1966, too crippled by arthritis to continue, he leased the farm to my father and moved into Assiniboia. Caleb Higham passed away in 1979.
He never did receive that promised $10.00.