Saskatchewan News Index
Top News Stories

Beginnings and Landmarks

Bishop Lloyd's Son Recalls
Founding of Present Lloydminster by British

July 22, 1953. p.12


LLOYDMINSTER -- Col. F. P. Lloyd, VO, OBE, of Cobourg, Ont., who served with distinction in two wars, told a civic luncheon here Tuesday that the British colony that settled in what is now Lloydminster in 1903, comprised the greatest emigration movement o f British people to the Americas the world has ever seen.

The son of the late Bishop George Exton Lloyd, one-time chaplain to the British colony in whose honor Lloydminster was named, recalled the visit in 1904 of the governor-general, the Earl of Minto, to the young colony, and of his declaration in Toronto lat er there are those who read history and there are those who write it. “But is has been my privilege to see and speak to those who are making Canadian history today,” he said.

Mayor V. U. Miner, QC, was host at the civic function attended by more than 300 persons that marked the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first British settlers to what is now the flourishing community of Lloydminster. Among them were more than 90 o f the original colonists who for the last three days have celebrated here, coming from a wide radius for golden jubilee celebration of Lloydminster’s founding, being held in conjunction with Lloydminster’s annual Exhibition.

Honored guests in addition to the early colonists included: Robert Fair, MP; Hon. I. C. Nollet, minister of agriculture; Hon. A. A. Aalborg, Alberta minister of education, and municipal officials from territory adjacent to Lloydminster.

With H. C. Messum, secretary of the Oldtimers’ Association as leader, many of the songs sung on the ocean voyage and on the overland trek from Saskatoon to the colony were sung with gusto by the original colonists. Their accompanist was Mrs. Elsie McCorm ick, who accompanied their singing 50 years ago.

Later, Mr. Messum outlined proposals from the establishment of a Bishop Lloyd memorial fund from the sale of “The Promised Land,” the official booklet of the colonists’ story. This fund, to be place in the custody of the Lloydminster school board, would provide interest to be drawn from time to time to provide university scholarships for worthy Lloydminster students.

Nothing so touched the hearts of the early colonists as did a message from Mrs. Marion Lloyd, widow of Bishop Lloyd, now in her 93rd year and living in Victoria, B.C. Steve Hall, son of Lloyd’s first merchant, read the message at Tuesday’s civic luncheon . It was greeted with thunderous applause.

But for Mrs. Lloyd’s intervention, Rev. George Exton Lloyd might not have accompanied the Barr settlers on their epic venture, Col. Lloyd revealed during his address. “It was my mother who made the final decision,” he declared. “She felt it would not ha ve been right to allow 2,000 people to come to this new land without a spiritual adviser.”

A mere boy riding a frisky pony when they arrived at the headquarters camp on the fourth meridian with his parents in the early summer of 1903, and a pupil in Lloydminster’s first school, Col. Lloyd drew on a vast store of information to remind his hearer s of some of their early experiences.

While it was commendable, and typical of the British spirit that they accentuated the lighter side of their trials to keep their spirits up, it should not go unrecorded that for many of the original colonists the fight in the wilderness for food and shelt er was a fight for life itself, said Col. Lloyd.

“Our case was typical. We lived in tents, wagons and a crude shack, the first year.”

The sufferings in the colony the first winter were incredible. Many froze to death. They were ill-fed, all of them, and poorly clothed, but British doggedness carried them through. Citing H. B. Hall’s case as an example, Col. Lloyd said that a dozen Ca nadians with the colonists showed the same spirit all the way through. Like Mr. Hall, when fire destroyed their all, they salvaged what they could from the havoc, brought in more supplies from the east, and started in all over again.

Col. Lloyd traced the history of the venture from the sailing of the colonists in the ship Lake Manitoba in March, 1903 to the turbulent days that followed until Rev. T. M. Barr abdicated as leader, to be followed by Rev. George Exton Lloyd. He held alof t a time-worn document signed by Barr, signifying his abdication and its terms, that included a large sum of money , among other things, the equipment of the colony hospital, which when finally located was found to consist solely of one iron cot.

Loud laughter form the original colonists greeted Col. Lloyd’s reference to an item relating to 2,000 bushels of potatoes. They all remembered that one. Volume one, number one of The Lloydminster Times, the second to be run off the press, established in 1905, was also shown to the gathering by the guest speaker. These are important documents. They represent milestones in the history of the most important section of this country, said Col. Lloyd.

From the time of Queen Elizabeth I, Great Britain had been the greatest colonizer in the world. First she sent her explorers by land and sea and then her army and her navy. Settlers followed and then came the churches. Thus were those British character istics of law, order, freedom and justice spread through the civilized and uncivilized regions of the world.

The foundations of every successful democracy were drawn from the roots of that mother of parliaments in London. The British colony in Lloydminster was no exception, it was the finest example of colonization by British people the world has ever seen.

It was the tough fibre of its people that made it possible. “Our task now,” concluded Col. Lloyd, “is to impress on the minds of our Canadian youth that unless they are prepared to face the problems of this great but still new land with the same tough fi bre, we shall lose this land.”

“It can only be retained as our heritage by men who care nothing for the dollar, but live for justice, freedom and mercy.”

After the women’s auxiliary of the Canadian Legion had been thanked by Mayor Miner for providing the luncheon, several speakers were heard in reminiscent vein. Mr. Messum recalled the great part the early colonists had played in the upbuilding of what is now Saskatoon, the “city beautiful.” One speaker quoted Mayor J. S. Mills of that city as declaring recently that those who knew the origin of Saskatoon conceded that it emerged as a town, from its previous status as a village, directly as a result of t he business brought to it by the British colonists.

Mayor Miner delighted the assembly with reading from an original letter signed by I. M. Barr and despatched to Ivan F. Crossley, now of Kelowna, B.C. Mr. Crossley, who homesteaded in the colony in its earliest days and who operated the first Ford agency here in 1912, was present at the banquet. He was a resident of Belfast, Ireland in the spring of 1903 when Barr wrote to him: “I am in receipt of you letter. The more capital a man has the better but as you have been in Florida and had experience there, I should judge that any man who can successfully farm in Florida can successfully do so in my colony.”

The assembly roared at that one.