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HISTORY ON THE MOVE

So what's the story behind the little red-stained log home? Who lived there? Who built it? Why does the Rocky Museum want to save it?

It's a good story with a few sad parts. Once upon a time, during the Great Depression, the Magoon family lived there, and the dad delivered the mail in the Strachan area. The family was doing alright for the times, until the father and young son caught polio, and the father's condition worsened, became critical and he died in 1938. His widow was left to raise six young children during the hard times of the 1930's.

Eva Magoon remarried in 1941, to Calvin Clemont, who was a widower with six children himself. So the little house became home to a LOT of children when the two families joined together.

The original builder of the house was Benjamin Leeson, who filed for application to enter onto the land in 1928. He was required under the Homestead Act to make improvements, live on the quarter section and cultivate 10 acres before he could be granted the title to the homestead.

He built the log home, and his family moved in on December 30, 1930. Further improvements included a log barn, a stable and fencing of the property. Mr. Leeson enhanced the livability of the log home by building a kitchen addition and installing two dormer windows.

The Leesons moved to B.C. and rented out the farm and home to the Magoons.

Eva and Calvin Clemont purchased the farm in 1946 from Mr. Leeson's daughter, Annie Leeson.

Mr. Benjamin Leeson

Mrs. Edna Brown

The Clemonts eventually moved to B.C. The Brown family bought the property in 1947, and Mrs. Edna Brown raised five children in the home.

The Rocky Museum would like to share the history of homesteading families like the Leesons, and the farming families like the Clemonts and Browns, by restoring this 1930 log home and relocating it to the Rocky Museum. That's where future generations of young Albertans can step into the past in a homesteader's cabin, seeing with their own eyes the wood-burning cookstove, and imagining sharing a bedroom with five sisters or brothers.

Photos and historical background courtesy of Karen Paquette.

Posted by Jean-Marie Mason
Jan 09 2022

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