The Alberta Farndales








This was a branch of the family who emigrated from the family of Martin to Alberta in the early twentieth century. Some stayed, one travelled on to the States, and my own grandfather later returned to Yorkshire




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General Sir Martin Farndale KCB





 The Farndales of Alberta


See the Tidkinhow Line.


The Farndales are a very old North Yorkshire family who can trace their ancestry back to Farndale itself on the North Yorkshire Moors. One branch of the family went to Australia in 1854, but three different families came to Canada at the beginning of the 20th Century. The family which came to Central Alberta were all the sons and daughters of Martin and Catherine Jane Farndale from near Guisborough Cleveland in England. It was a large family of twelve, and there was not room for them all on the farm.


Of the twelve children of Martin Farndale (FAR00364)(see the Tidkinhow Line), the following emigrated to Alberta:


  • Martin Farndale (FAR00571), settled around Trochu.
  • George Farndale (FAR00588), settled around Three Hills.
  • Catherine (Kate) Farndale (FAR00601), settled around Three Hills. Her family the Kinseys continue to farm in the area.
  • James Farndale (FAR00607), who then went on to America.
  • Grace Farndale (FAR00659), who married Howard Holmes and had a ranch around Huxley.
  • Alfred Farndale (FAR00683) who farmed near Huxley and later returned to Yorkshire.


William Farndale (FAR00647) emigrated to the State immediately to the east of Calgary, Saskatchewan.


Many Farndales broke the virgin prairie in Huxley, Trochu and Three Hills, and made their mark there. They were among the first, and because of this, Alberta held a special place in their lives. The army has trained at Suffield near Medicine Hat, for many years, and Martin and his son Richard both trained there.

Those associated with the Alberta prairier were Martin (from 1904), George (from 1905), Kate and James (from 1911), William (from 1913), Alfred and Peggy (from 1928), Grace and Howard Holmes (from 1928), Martin (from 1929), Anne (from 1930) and Geoffrey (from 1932).


Click here to read Grace Farndale’s diary which touches on Tidkinhow, before her emigration to Alberta



Flyng over the country around Huxley in July 1973 (taken by Martin Farndale)




The station at Huxley, taken in July 1973



The main street of Huxley, taken in July 1973




Image result for huxley alberta


Farm movements in Alberta


Feeling abused by the railroads and the grain elevators, militant farm organizations appeared, notably the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA), formed in 1909. Guided by the ideas of William Irvine and later by Henry Wise Wood, the UFA was intended at first to represent economic interests rather than to act as another political party. But farmers' dissatisfaction with Liberal provincial policies and Conservative federal policies, combined with falling wheat prices and a railroad scandal, drove the farmers to favour direct politics and the election of three Farmer-oriented MLAs and a MP in the 1917 to 1921 period opened the door to a general contesting for power in 1921. There was an overwhelming UFA landslide in the provincial legislature in 1921. Alberta also gave strong support to UFA and Labour candidates in the 1921 federal election. The elected MPs worked with the Progressive Party of Canada, a national farm organization. Together they held the balance of power for the minority Liberal and Conservative governments in power for much of the 1920s.


John E. Brownlee led the UFA to a second majority government in the 1926 election. During his reign, the UFA government repealed prohibition, replacing it with government sale of liquor and heavily regulated privately run bar-rooms, passed a Debt Adjustment Act to help indebted farmers, and aided workers with progressive wage codes. It abolished the provincial police, passing law enforcement outside of the municipalities to the RCMP. The government bailed out the bankrupt Alberta Wheat Pool in 1929. The high point of Brownlee's administration came after long negotiations with the federal government concerning Alberta's natural resources. In 1930, control of these resources was turned over to the province. Hurrying to hold an election before the full effect of the Depression kicked in, Brownlee led the UFA to a third majority government in the 1930 election. As he moved to the fiscal right, he alienated socialists and labour groups.


In 1935 the UFA collapsed politically, and Its defeat was in part due to the John Brownlee sex scandal and in part due to the government's inability to raise wheat prices or otherwise mitigate the Great Depression in Canada. A prolonged drought in the southern two thirds of the province produced low grain harvests and forced the abandonment and/or foreclosure of thousands of farms, while there and elsewhere in Alberta the financial picture for farmers was harmed by low world prices for grain. Heavily indebted and operating with slim profit margins, farmers were open to theories of banking and monetary reform that had been kicking around western Canada since the start of commercial farming in the 1880s in western Canada. The UFA leadership were leery of such proposals and farmers turned to Aberhart's Social Credit movement as a weapon to do battle against what were seen as grasping bankers and collection agencies.


After the defeat, the UFA pulled back to its economic-activity core purpose, as a chain of co-operative farm-supply stores and farmers' lobby group.



The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent the aeolian processes (wind erosion) caused the phenomenon. The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–1940, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years. With insufficient understanding of the ecology of the plains, farmers had conducted extensive deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains during the previous decade; this had displaced the native, deep-rooted grasses that normally trapped soil and moisture even during periods of drought and high winds. The rapid mechanization of farm equipment, especially small gasoline tractors, and widespread use of the combine harvester contributed to farmers' decisions to convert arid grassland (much of which received no more than 10 inches (~250 mm) of precipitation per year) to cultivated cropland



Great Depression in Canada


The worldwide Great Depression of the early 1930s was a social and economic shock that left millions of Canadians unemployed, hungry and often homeless. Few countries were affected as severely as Canada during what became known as the "Dirty Thirties," due to Canada's heavy dependence on raw material and farm exports, combined with a crippling Prairies drought known as the Dust Bowl. Widespread losses of jobs and savings ultimately transformed the country by triggering the birth of social welfare, a variety of populist political movements, and a more activist role for government in the economy.


Economic results


By 1930, 30% of the labour force was out of work, and one fifth of the population became dependent on government assistance. Wages fell, as did prices. Gross National Expenditure had declined 42% from the 1929 levels. In some areas, the decline was far worse. In the rural areas of the prairies, two thirds of the population were on relief.


Further damage was the reduction of investment: both large companies and individuals were unwilling and unable to invest in new ventures.

In 1932, industrial production was only at 58% of the 1929 level, the second lowest level in the world after the United States, and well behind nations such as Britain, which only saw it fall to 83% of the 1929 level. Total national income fell to 55% of the 1929 level, again worse than any nation other than the U.S.




Canada's economy at the time was just starting to shift from primary industry (farming, fishing, mining and logging) to manufacturing. Exports of raw materials plunged, and employment, prices and profits fell in every sector. Canada was the worst-hit because of its economic position. It was further affected as its main trading partners were Britain and the U.S., both of which were badly affected by the worldwide depression.


One of the areas not affected was bush flying, which, thanks to a mining and exploration boom, continued to thrive throughout this period. Even so, most bush flying companies lost money, impacted by the government's cancellation of airmail contracts in 1931-2.