|About Lawrence's of Provost, Ab
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Site in progress. Traced ancestors back to 1110. Use the different reports to browse. Find yourself first to learn. Let me know of any changes or additions. Gary THE LAWRENCE FAMILY (This beautiful story was written by MARY L LAWRENCE for the PROVOST AND DISTRICTS HISTORY book EARLY FORROWS in 1977) The Lawrence Family's first introduction to the Canadian West, came in the summer of 1906. Francis Emmet Lawrence and his sons PHilo Odell and Elmer Stuart who were carpenters by trade, left their homes in Durand, Michigan, to come up to Alberta Canada to see for themselves if all the glowing stories they had heard were true. They were impressed enough by what they saw that summer that they filed on homesteads sixy miles south west of Lloydminster, Alberta and returned home. They came back the next spring, in May of 1907, with their families and possessions. It is interesting to speculate, now, on the reason why a well-established American family, whose future seemed secure and comfortable, would leave all that to face unknown dangers and hardships, in the Canadian west. Perhaps is was adventure and excitment that beckoned them, or possibly the chance to own choice land on the last frontier, drew them, too. Whatever the reson, the Lawrences came west. Grandpa Lawrence and his sons might have had a very different life, had they followed a path that had opened to them before they left the East. Two business friends named Durant and Dort has wanted Grandpa to throw in this lot with them and help finance a company to build motor cars, but he refused because he didn't figure that craze would last. How different the Lawrence story might have been, had he followed that path. However, what really happened was that the little family group of would-be pioneers, with all their possessions, and with all their bridges burned behind them, arrived in Lloydminster one May day in 1907. They had alread travelled two thousand miles be train and now faced the long, rough wagon journey to their homes. More supplies were bought, including some lumber, and they set of across the untouched new land. The spring-flooding Battle River had to be forded, which must have been a frightening experience, especially for the women. Landmarks and faint trails finally led them to their homes. Part of the land the Lawrences homesteaded, and where their descendants still live, was the W 1/2 36-42-3 W4th, which is located seventeen miles northwest of Provost. This would be their home town, but it was barely begun at that time. It was also twenty two miles southeast of Edgerton. They found their land burned black by a prairie fire which has passed through the fall before. There were still scattered dirty snow banks left on the dreary landscape. Their spirits were soon renewed when the countryside turned green and beautiful in the warm May sunshine. Their first home, until a sod shack was built, was a tent. There were no trees, except along the Ribstone Creek, and the prairie stretched unbroken by plough or fence out to the horizon and beyond. Prairie fires roared through the countryside some falls and burned everything to the ground. Every little farm yard had to have its fire-guard ploughed around it. The district in which the Lawrences settled, was later name La Pearl in honor of Mrs Philo Lawrence whose name was Pearl. Soon more settlers arrived and La Pearl became a commuity. Other pioneer neighbours were the Needhams, Beckers, Sturgis, Gortons, Hawkens, Krafts, Carlsons, Gilroy, Appleby, Donaldson, Fullers, and McManns. Many hardships, sorrows and joys were shared by these friends and neighbours. Blizzards and prairie fires, sickness and death, crop failures and low prices, all had to be faced and endured - or beaten. While Philo and Elmer carried on most of the farm work, Grandpa Lawrence put his trade to good use in the new land, building houses, barns and schools, many of which are still standing. He built the local school in 1913, and it was the community centre of its day. Meanwhile the family was growing. Philo and Pearl had two sons, Paul and Leo. Paul was born in Michagan in 1906, so made the trip to the new land as a baby. Leo was born in 1914. Elmer and Alice had five children. Stuart 1908, Alberta 1910, Francis 1912, Earl 1717, and Marian 1919. One unfortunate occurence which Paul and Francis still faintly remember was a fire which completely destroyed Philo's house in February 1915. They can remember Leo, as a small baby being dropped out of a window into a snowbank, as the family escaped the raging flames. They spent the rest of that winter with Grandpa, Grandman, and Elmer and Alice's family. The next summer they built again, and lived on the farm for a while. During this time Philo managed the Post Office. A German family, named Stauffer, who lived at Dunn, distributed mail to several sub-post offices. Dunn was a CNR water stop, five miles west of Ribstone, where the steam locomotives took on water. Dunn is now a memory. Philo's initials P.O. took on a new significance - Post Office Lawrence. Philo was appointed a Justice of the Peace, which though an honor, didn't pay very well. Paul can remember his Father telling his Mother, that he intended charging .25 at on time, but finally settled for the usual "No Charge" The first death in this close-knit family came in 1919, when Philo, weakened by long days and nights of caring for his flu-stricken family, succumbed to the dreaded disease himself. This world wide epidemic did not spare the La Pearl district. Soon after Philo's death, Pearl took her two sons to Edmonton. There she cared for and supported her little family, until her death in 1929, still a fairly young woman. Paul and his wife Julia still live in Edmonton. Leo and Lilian have made their home in London, England. A few years after Philo's passing, little Marian, two year old daughter of Elmer and Alice, was taken by Scarlet Fever. Grandma Lawrence died in 1923, and Grandpa in 1929, both having lived full and useful lives. They set an example of integrity and hard work, seasoned with a keen sense of humor. Their descendants, 32 living in 1975, whether they knew them personally or through stories and anecdotes, hold them in horored memory. The home of Elmer and Alice Lawrence was fittingly name, "Half-way house" as friends and neighbours, or people passing to and from Lloydminster, were entended warm hospitality. The Lawrence's themselves made many long trips for supplies, sometimes with a team of horse and ox hitched together. Their home was also the distribution point for the all important mail, for a period of time. Elmer was quite active in the community,taking part in the "Beef Ring" La Pearl School Board, and UFA An exciting time for the family, was the first car purchased-a Chevrolet, in 1927. The pioneer families suffered throught the depression years that followed. During these tough years, the old Eaton Catalogue served many purposes, as store, library and often it ended its days in the little house down the garden path. The Lawrences bought their first radio, an "Arcadian" from Mcleods in the mid-thirties. This wonderful new invention gave may families a great may hours of pleasure. Chores were often scheduled. so that the family could listen to "Lux Threatare, Major Bowes or Fibber McGee and Molly". Elmer and Alice Lawrence lived busy, useful lives, as did their parents before them. They to, are held in revered memory by their children-which after all, is the best memorial. Elmer died in 1949 and Alice in 1954. Stuart their eldest son passed away in 1969. He and his wife Jennie who died in 1970, had five children, Bill, Mabel, Janet, Iris and George. Alberta, with her husband Jack Crawford and son Lawrence, live in Vancouver. Francis and Alice live in Provost. Their children are: Gary, Dale and Rita. Earl and Mary, who have three children: Philip. Patricia (Mrs Con Anderson) and Kenneth, live on the farm where the first sod was turned, in 1907, nearly seventy years ago. Paul and Julia live in Edmonton. They have 4 daughters: Audrey (Mrs McKean) of Calgary, Shirley (Mrs Gorman of Edmonton, Judy (Mrs Bale) of Regina and Cathy of Edmonton. They have seven grandchildren. This, then, is the end of the beginning of the Lawrence story in Alberta. The family, as is the case in so many, is now spreading out far and wide, and carrying on with their share of the worlds work, as begun here in the West on that May day - so long ago. Mary L Lawrence (1923-2007)