A unique group of settlers to come to the Bell Farm stated that they arrived before Major Bell and his entourage arrived in June 1882. Known as squatters, they staked out land claims to areas that they hoped to homestead themselves. Between 1882 and 1883 their dispute was arbitrated among several representatives for both sides. The matter was finally resolved on Nov. 20, 1884. Some of the squatters identified to date include:
• John Boyd
• Charles Braithwaite
• Edward J. Brooks
• Robert R. Coleman
• J.D. Jewitt
• Hugh S. McLeod
• William McLeod
• John Stevenson
• Stephen S. Stiles
• George Thompson
As with the Visitors' Register album, most of the information and photos for the entries in this album have been located and provided by Michelle Cabana, of Saskatoon, with assistance from Frank Korvemaker, Regina, Sask.
- 1882 - Boyd, John - Bell Farm Squatter's surveyed land
John Boyd married Eliza Jane Thompson in Brandon, Manitoba in 1881. The couple moved to Indian Head in 1882, where John was first a squatter, and later an employee at the Bell Farm Bell. After the Bell Farm purchased their farm in 1885, they moved to the Abernethy area, where they farmed for many years. Later they returned to Indian Head, and lived on the Sunbeam Farm established by Lord Brassey in the 1890s. Their only daughter, Annie, was drowned in an accident in 1908.
"Regina Leader" May 8, 1930, pg. 13/E.John Boyd/obituary "First White Woman to Reach Indian Head Dies" - "Regina Leader" May 8, 1930, pg 13 "Regina Leader" May 5, 1908, pg 1 Margaret Ann "Annie"/obituary born May 13, 1884 http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1891&op=img&id=30953_148228-00261 - 1891 Census/John, Eliza Jane and Margaret Ann
Michelle Cabana, Saskatoon, Sask.
- BRAITHWAITE, Charles
Homesteaded on or near the Bell Farm in 1882 - one of the squatters. - Charles Braithwaite (1850-1910) was born in England and became a key player in the Patrons of Industry. He briefly lived on or near the Bell Farm in 1882, "but" in his own words "like dozens of other good settlers was crowded out by the Bell Farm". He then returned to Portage la Prairie, where he had settled the previous year. For a while he was a provincial weed inspector, and ultimately moved to British Columbia, where he died. SOURCES: http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/people/braithwaite_c.shtml CharlesBraithwaite.jpeg source: The Winnipeg Daily Tribune pg 5 April 21 1894 Research by: Michelle Cabana, Saskatoon, Sask.
- COLEMAN, Robert R.
One of the squatters on the Bell Farm in 1882 - Robert Richardson Coleman (1854-1926) was born at Seeley’s Bay, Leeds County, Ontario and attended Belville Business College. Like many others, he was drawn to opportunities in the developing West, and moved to Manitoba, then to Indian Head, where to laid claim to a homestead. In doing so, he became one of the squatters who laid claim to part of the Bell Farm lands that were surveyed by Henry Carre in 1881-82. The dispute over who had prior rights took two years to settle, and most of the squatters were paid for their claim late in 1884, and were offered new land locations by the federal government. A few fought to keep their land, and won. After Coleman left the Indian Head region, he first moved to southern Alberta, where he homesteaded and, after meeting the necessary improvement conditions, was given free title to a Land Grant of 160 acres in 1887 at: SW12-22-3-w5m (SW of Calgary). Coleman later moved to Edmonton, and ultimately to Washington State, where he opened a large mercantile business at Meteor. In 1906 he was elected Commissioner for Ferry County. He continued to excel in business and to seek public office and became a member of the State's House of Representatives in 1919, coming in 2nd in the 1918 and 1920 elections. Apparently he never married or had children. He passed away April 28th 1926. Photo source: http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/Record/View/BB024957AA5AAE56B2336C8F932AB477 Other Sources: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Coleman&GSfn=Robert&GSmn=R+&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GRid=41616900&df=all& - gravestone http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/Record/View/5A42CE04DC443DFB4EBD69BBD9E39EF3 - Death Record http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/Record/View/9A98551F468A4DB78D3C732F39C4B111 - 1910 Census NOTE: Some records suggest Coleman was born in 1855; however, his tombstone lists 1854. Research by: Michelle Cabana, Saskatoon and Frank Korvemaker, Regina.
- McLeod, William - IMG_4999 - survey plan
William McLeod's land improvements - 1882 - William McLeod's land improvements - 1882
- THOMPSON, George
Bell Farm squatter in 1882 - George Thompson (c.1857-1933) came from Durham County, Ontario in the spring of 1882 and claimed a homestead on land that was designated to be part of the Bell Farm. Consequently, he was referred to as a "squatter", along with about a dozen others. The resolution of the Indian Head squatters' rights took considerable time, and not necessarily to everyone's satisfaction. That issue also resulted in the irregular eastern boundary of the Bell Farm. While many of the squatters relocated elsewhere, George stayed at Indian Head, and participated in many community organizations. Thompson served as the first mayor of the Town of Indian Head (1902-1905), and sat on both the Rural Municipality and Town councils, as well as the nearby Wide Awake School Board, and the Indian Head Board of Trade. He likewise helped establish and operate the Wide Awake Rural Telephone Company. SOURCES: History of Indian Head and District, p. 6,9,23,30,107,133, 136,141,401,592,707,708,783,792 Research By: Michelle Cabana, Saskatoon, Sask. and Frank Korvemaker, Regina, Sask.