8-15: THE TATE CREEK DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LIMITED

By William Wanka

Tupper Creek, B.C.

12th July, 1944

 

Mr. H. Giles,

Dawson Creek, B.C.

 

Dear Mr. Giles,

As promised I am sending you enclosed my report on the Tupper Settlement for 1943 together with the Operational Report which gives more details about the work of our Company. For your understanding I should like to point out that the supervision exercised by the CPR ended January 12th, 1943. All the assets and liabilities of the community of our settlers were then turned over to the Tate Creek Development Company which is entirely owned and operated by Sudeten settlers.

For the year 1944 it may be reported that the progress is again satisfactory. We had, as you yourself know, a good spring season so that there were no difficulties in putting in the crop. We might have had more moisture necessary for a good crop, but the outlook is still for a fair one. Additional land is again being broken at present. Cutting of barley will most likely start in the early days of August. The Tate Creek Co-operative Society has made further good progress and everything points to an increase in the turnover as compared with 1943. A new store was opened on July 7th, 1944. The Tate Creek Development Company was able to pay off more on the land and it is hoped that the indebtedness of the company will be liquidated by the end of this year. Trusting that all the information in the reports and in this letter will help you to write a story on the Settlement, I am,

 

Yours very truly,

D. Swanson

 

THE TATE CREEK DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, TUPPER CREEK, B.C.

(Sudeten Settlement)

 

REPORT ON OPERATIONS IN 1943.

Since the seeding of the crop and its harvesting are the main activity in an agricultural community I should like to comment first of all on the accompanying crop report. The 1943 season in the settlement was characterized by a series of unfavorable weather conditions. The season was generally late. Spring work in the fields could not be started before April 22nd. Another delaying factor was the nightly frosts which lasted well into the middle of May with the result that many hours of work were lost in the early mornings. Just before finishing the seeding operations rain set in. The wet spell lasted throughout the month of June and caused delay in putting the crop in on low-lying fields. Fortunately ninety percent of the fields had been seeded before the wet weather set in. The precipitation during these weeks was so high that it was feared the crops on low-lying fields would be drowned out altogether. The excessive rain affected the growth particularly of wheat and oats; barley did comparatively well.

The settlement enjoyed only ten days of real warm weather in the second half of July. These were the good days for haying. It was cool and wet in August and everything pointed to the possibility that there would be four to six weeks delay between the cutting of barley and oats. Heavy frosts set in towards the end of August speeding up the ripening of the early seeded oats, but damaging at the same time the later crops.

That is the explanation why quite a few settlers decided not to have their oats threshed, but feeding them instead in the form of sheaves to cattle and horses. Adding to the damage caused by the frosts were strong winds which blew out a good deal of the grain. These are the reasons for the reduction in the yield of oats. Almost none of the wheat escaped the frost.

From general observations it may be said that the methods of working the field had improved. Much more emphasis was laid on spring plowing than in the previous year. As a striking example the field of the settler E. Pickart may be mentioned. This settler grew 56 bu. of barley. No doubt the TCDC machinery has helped the settlers considerably in achieving better preparation of the fields for the crop. But also of value proved the tractors which had been purchased by some of the settlers. The settlers owning tractors now are: V. Dittrich, H. Seidl, K. Seidl, I.E. Dill and H. Mazanek.

It can be stated to the credit of the settlers that all but a few did their best to put their crop in as soon as possible and to harvest it without undue delay. That made it possible to thresh over 81,000 bushels of grain in spite of the many unfavorable weather conditions.

Threshing in 1943 was organized along the same lines as in 1942. The settlers exchanged their labour while working together in groups of about 10 families. The bushels threshed for each settler were the basis for the final settlement with regard to labour. Threshing was done with the TCDC- machine, the outfit of Marshall Miller of Dawson Creek and a small machine owned by V. Dittrich, one of our settlers.

T.C.D.C. Machinery

One of the main concerns of the new management of the T.C.D.C. was to keep the machinery of the Company going. Repairs on tractors as well as on the other machinery were considerable. They caused many a headache as repair parts were hard to get and most of the repair work had to be carried out by our own tractor man. The shops in Dawson Creek were much too busy in connection with the Alaska Highway to be interested in taking on work for farmers. These are the main reasons why the T.C.D.C. machinery could not be employed to our full satisfaction. In the forthcoming months it will be a serious task of the Directors to study the question of what changes in the machinery should be made to ensure better results next year.

The performance record of the T.C.D.C. machinery shows the following figures:

Double disking - 462 acres; stubble plowing - 176 acres; tiller plowing - 132.5 acres;

seeding plowing - 27 acres; tiller seeding - 156 acres and grain cutting - 128 acres.

In addition 130 acres new breaking was done for 17 settlers and half of the new fields were worked down with the double disc this fall. Dry weather since the beginning of September made it inadvisable to do any fall plowing although up to now we have enjoyed an open fall.

Tractor men employed by the Company were M.C. Siegert and E. Kreuzer who have done their best to fulfill the task given them under difficult conditions.

Lumber Camp Operations:

The operation of the lumber camp was one of the first tasks which the new management of the Company had to undertake. It was operated on the principle that the settlers would work in the camp on their own account, the company assisting in the organization of the sawing. Three groups were working in the 1942/43 season. They were: J. Ziglarsch, his two sons and A. Schindler. 2. the two sons of R. Tschiedel and 3. two men of the Spring Hill Farm. Chief sawyer was M.B. Taylor and tractor operator E. Kreuzer. The total production of the season was 90,000 feet of lumber. The settlers were charged $11.00 per 100 feet for sawing. This included royalty and stumpage.

Plans for the 1943/44 season provide for the preference in the production of [railway] ties. Settlers going into the camp will probably be required to make a certain number of ties before they can cut lumber for their own use. Thus it is hoped to make financing of the camp easier. The N.A.R. has expressed willingness to take up to 5,000 ties from the Company. There is more interest in tie production this year and some settlers will also cut ties outside of the camp. This change is due to the fact that the Alaska Highway does no longer offer as good earning opportunities as last year.

Commitments:

The new management of the T.C.D.C. took over certain commitments, which featured to a great extent in the 1943 operations.

A.-Moving Houses: 7 settlers: F. Krassa, F. Klemmor, F. Wedrich, F. Wanka, R. Voit, J. Linay and H. Loza. All these houses but the one of J. Linay were moved. Linay sold his house without consent of the Directors and proper action will be taken against him when issuing transfer of title to his farm. His transfer will be held up until he makes satisfactory arrangements for the replacement of the house.

B. -Double disking 1942 breaking: 303 acres. All done.

C. - Breaking in 1943: As mentioned above new breaking was done for 17 settlers. Preference was given almost exclusively to settlers whose cultivated area at the end of 1942 was below 20 acres and whose names appeared on the list prepared by Mr. H. J. Sigmons. Here are the names of settlers coming into this category: J. Barth; E. Bartusek; W. Haockl; F. Hanko; N. Sommert; F. Mueller; J. Nodes; E. Pickert; W. Pohl; F. Tillner; F. Wanka; A. Watzl. In this category also belong, although they are not mentioned on the list: B. Papousek and H. Wiesner. The following settlers, who already had 20 acres or more cultivated, received additional breaking this year: A. Kutschker; F. Zopf and A. Amstaetter. Only three settlers with a cultivated acreage below 20 could not be satisfied this year. Provision will be made in the 1944 budget of the Company to break the land for them under the same conditions as in 1943.

The total area broken this year is about 130 acres. A list giving the exact measurement of the new fields is being prepared at present. It will be forwarded within a short time.

Land Taxes - 1943:

The T.C.D.C. again assisted the settlers in arranging for the working off of their taxes. Work orders for settlers who wanted to avail themselves of this opportunity were secured by the Company and work was allotted to the individual settlers in accordance with a program agreed upon with the Public Works Department at Pouce Coupe, B.C. The main projects were the completion of a road off the Main Highway South of the Central Yard to the farms of J. Kreuzinger and F. Kuenzl and the extension of the road connecting the northwestern parts of the settlement with the Main Highway. These projects were to grade the new stretches of road. In the first case grading was started, but the job needs yet to be finished.

This point will be dealt with more fully in the Annual Report of the Tate Creek Development Company, but a few statements relating thereto are made here to round out the picture of aims and achievements in 1943. The mortgage to the York Farmers Colonization Company -- amounting to $5,000 -- has been paid off in full. The payment due to Pacific Great Eastern Railway Company on Nov. 1, 1943 has also been made in full. Payments due the B.C. Government will also be made before December 1st, 1943. This leaves the total indebtedness of the whole settlement of less than $5,000.

All taxes assessed on the Company land have been paid in full for the year 1943, leaving the T.C.D.C. account with the Provincial Assessor in good standing.

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In this report I have tried to give the main facts making up the activities of the TCDC in the 1943 season. These facts alone should tell whether the confidence placed in the settlers by the Immigration Departments of the Dominion Government and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company was justified. The new management of the TCDC did its best to be worthy of this confidence.

Tupper Creek, B.C. W. Wanka

November 30, 1943

 

This information is intended for research purposes or for general interest only.

Any other use may violate one or more copyrights which rest with the original authors.

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