Historical and geographical information
Dates are in red.
Hyperlinks to other pages are in dark blue.
Headlines are in brown.
References and citations are in turquoise.
Contextual history is in purple.
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).
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.
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.”
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
Buildings were built at a new site in
The first town council consisted of
Herve de Reinach-Werth (who was the first mayor), J C MacGregor and J C Burns.
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
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.
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
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
The Main Street of Trochu in 1973
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