History and Folklore Summary
1882 - 1889
- The York Farmers' Colonization Company Limited of #1 Victoria Street,
Toronto, Ontario, under the presidency of N. Clark Wallace was incorporated May
12, 1882 with a capital of $300,000. The Company sent emissaries to this area of
the North West Territories to view the land. Impressed, they purchased portions
(the odd-numbered sections) of 6 townships and began inviting settlers from York
County, and other parts of Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes, Manitoba, British
Columbia, England, Scotland, Ireland, and United States.
- Four settlers, Wm. Meredith, Cosmo McFarline, Wm. Hopkins and Edward Hopkins
stayed the winter of 1882-1883. They lived in one shack, existing on a minimum
of supplies and with the assistance of Native people.
- The York Farmers' Colonization Company opened for business at York
City, District of Assiniboia, North West Territories. They acquired 2 more
townships. Acting as agents of the Dominion Government for the assigning of free
homesteads, they also sold their lands at $3.00 per acre. The settlement was
called "York Colony" and the hamlet, situated on the banks of the Little White
Sand River became "York City." Mail would be freighted from Whitewood, and
delivered at Reaman's store.
- It would appear that in the summer of this year, a colonist by the name of
Donald Livingstone returned from a trip to Minnedosa, Manitoba with a cat and
four kittens. He sold each for a dollar and half -- a high price for the times.
These "pioneer" cats saved the colony from being over run by mice, and being
robbed of their precious food.
- On January 1, 1884, the post office was officially opened under the new
name of "Yorkton." The first postmaster was Joel Reaman. The change of name
occurred to prevent confusion with "York" in Ontario. ( The hamlet or post
office was never named "Yorktown.")
- Residents of York Colony got together for their first Fair and Exhibition.
- SE1/4 of Section 2-Township 26 Range 4 West of the 2nd Meridian,
(designated a Pre-Emption quarter) which comprises north of Broadway Street, now
part of the downtown business sector and northward, (includes City Hall on Third
Avenue North) was entered as a pre-emption quarter by the first woman in York
Colony, Ida Jane Reaman to make entry on a homestead quarter (NE 1/4 S2-T26 R4
W2nd Mer.) and this pre-emption quarter, on July 15, 1884. Ida Jane Reaman's
entry was cancelled in a letter dated May 11, 1885.
- The new colony now comprised 180 settlers. Fearing that the Riel Uprising
might find sympathetic followers with Native people of the region, Fort Watson
was erected nearby the Hamlet of Yorkton. The "Yorkton Home Guard" made up of 58
volunteers was organized.
- Just to put things into perspective, Canada's first intercontinental
railway was completed at 9:22 am on November 7, 1885 in Craigallachie, British
Columbia. when a construction crew from the east and one from the west met at
that location. The Canadian Pacific Railway representative, Donald Smith drove
the last spike.
- Charles H. Smith made entry on the cancelled SE quarter Section 2, Township
26 Range 4, on June 2, 1885. Charles Smith, at the turn of the century sold this
land to his brother John. J. Smith who had the land surveyed into lots. John J.
Smith's development plan represents Yorkton's first privately owned
- Joel Reaman's store and hotel served for multi-purposes; entertainment
centre, church, and other public gatherings.
- The crops were poor this year.
- Thomas H. Garry became operator of the stone grist mill.
- The Yorkton Home Guard volunteers received Military Bounty Warrants or cash
as grants for service in the militia organized at Yorkton.
- Few women made entries on homesteads in this area. Mrs. Jane Fergusson
made entry on North East Quarter of Section 26, Township 26, Range 5 West of the
2nd Meridian on June 6th.
- The York Farmers' Colonization Company had now successfully achieved
settlement as per the agreement with the Dominion Government. Contrary to
previous writings, the Company did not become "obsolete." It continued to have
interest in local land holdings until 1947, and was doing business in Ontario
and other parts of Canada.
- The Manitoba and North Western Railway built a line up to Saltcoats, 16
miles (26 Kilometers) east of Yorkton.
- Joel Reaman, who was Dominion Land Agent for the York Farmers Colonization
Company was still recording entries for homestead and pre-emption quarters.
- On January 18th, the first Yorkton and District Board of Trade was
- First school was opened in a cottage near the old flour mill on the banks of
the Little White Sand River, December 13th. There were 15 pupils.
- During the summer of this year, a North West Mounted Police outpost was
established in Yorkton, under the command of the Saltcoats detachment.