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This webpage about the Trochu has the following section headings:



The Farndales of Trochu


The following were associated with Trochu: Martin Farndale (FAR00571); Catherine Jane Farndale (FAR00601); Ruth Farndale (FAR00619); William Farndale (FAR00647); Alfred Farndale (FAR00683); Martin Baker Farndale (FAR00911); and Alfred Geoffrey Farndale (FAR00922).




Trochu is a town in central Alberta, Canada. It is located 9 km north of Three Hills at the junction of Highway 21 and Highway 585, in Kneehill County.


The town is named after Armand Trochu, the settler who founded the St. Anne Ranch Trading Company on the present site of the town in 1902.


Trochu timeline




Armand Trochu came to Calgary in 1902. He stayed with friends in the city and heard about Alberta’s rich grasslands. While searching for an ideal site, he heard from a native member of a survey crew about a lovely valley, not far from Three Hills and near the Buffalo Lake Trail. Armand was drawn to the sheltered coulee of what was to become known as Trochu, by the promise of “bubbling springs that never went dry in the summer and did not freeze in the winter.”


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The French cavalrymen, including Armand Trochu at far left.




In 1904 the de Beautrap brothers came to Calgary and visited some friends near the new site of Trochu. They had also heard about the ideal ranch site, and they decided to settle there. They bought their first land from Hiram Letts.




In 1905 Armand Trochu returned to Alberta after a fund raising campaign in Freance, with two officers, Joseph Devilder, and Leon Eckenfelder. The French aristocrats formed the St Ann Trading Company, which was incorporated in 1905.


Dr Louis Sculier arrived in the district at abou the same time and he served the area as a doctor and interpreter.


The St Ann Trading Company added a stopping place to the cluster of buildings, and it served as a hotel until 1908. The building was used as a dance hall and the music was supplied by Jack Ross, George Walker and Dr Sculier. The dances lasted all night and the people stayed for breakfast.




One end of the room at the stopping place became the first post office, which was established in 1906. In those days it was the post office that was first named, and it was named Trochu Valley. Armand Trochu weas the first postmaster.


A creamery was established with remarkably modern equipment for the time and operated for some years until it closed in 1912. It was hampered by the lack of a railway at the time and was unable to ship out its butter.


Frank Dorland moved to Trochu Valley in 1906 from Horse Shoe Lake, and he became the first blacksmith.




Buildings were built at a new site in 1907.


The first town council consisted of Herve de Reinach-Werth (who was the first mayor), J C MacGregor and J C Burns.



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Trochu 1909                                                                                                                        



They were not disappointed. Trochu’s enthusiastic reports soon attracted other French settlers, including Ernest Frere who arrived in 1910. Eventually the pioneer town of Trochu was born.


The Frenchmen brought the first garden, grain and flower seeds to the area. They built all of the first buildings, including a Stopping Place, the first Post Office, school, hospital, Catholic church, and stores; and raised purebred horses and cattle. 


The large Ranch house was built by Joseph Devilder.


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Trochu 1910                                                                                                    




In 1911, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway surveyed a line to the east of this townsite, and like so many other Alberta communities, the town of Trochu was moved to suit the railroad.


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Trochu 1911




The Roach Municipal District was formed in 1913 in honour of Leslie Roach, the pioneer of Huxley.




The outbreak of the First World War ended the first era of Trochu’s history. Most of the French officers returned to Europe and many never returned. Armand Trochu was too old to serve, but was in ill health and he died in France in 1930.


Xavier de Beaudrap, Eckenfelder and Paillard were the only Frenchmen to return to Trochu after the War, and the de Beaudraps were the only French family to settle for the longer term.




On arrival in Trochu in 1928, Grace Farndale wrote:


When we arrived at Edmonton, Alberta, which was 100 miles from Trochu, it was even snowing more! Outside it was much colder, somewhere below zero and after the hot train I found it very cold when we alighted. We changed trains at Edmonton and boarded a smaller local train to Trochu. It was getting exciting now; thoughts of seeing Kate and family and brother George. Kate I had not seen for 25 years, George had been over on a visit. Peggy and Alf would be there. It was still snowing a little at Trochu and I was a bit dismal. No one had been able to get to meet us and Martin got a taxi. It was below zero and the roads were frozen hard. What a ride! Before we started Martin had taken me to a hotel lounge to wait until he rustled up transportation. I felt so strange. There were men sitting around and one spat into a spittoon which rather disgusted me. They were dressed like working men in overalls and windbreaks, no ties and had caps on. One of the men said there was a nicer sitting room upstairs if I wished but I thanked him and said I was all right. At last Martin arrived so he came on he had persuaded a taxi man to drive us.




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The Main Street of Trochu in 1973



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