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The Travelers' Aid Society Of Yorkton

Over two hundred women were members of the Travelersí Aid Society in 1914. A booklet entitled YORKTON SOCIAL REGISTER was published that year listing the names of the members. The Society was organized in 1900 under the auspices of the Womenís Christian Temperance Union, and its role was to provide shelter for women, and women with children who were traveling alone, arriving in town by wagon, buggy, sleigh or train. This organization was an off shoot of the temperance movement which had campaigned for and won the closing of the bars in Saskatchewan in 1915. No doubt they had provided lodgings on a number of occasions for women who were stranded in town while husbands lingered at the bar.

We know from the register that in 1914 the hospitality rooms were located in the Dunlop Block on Broadway Street—a building which still stands today. Women took turns being in charge of the rooms. Later, when better accommodations became available and the person in charge was able to live on the premises, services were extended to overnight stays. Over the years, private homes were used as shelters. Many of the members were wives of prominent York Colony homesteaders and early town businessmen: Mrs. T. Switzer, Mrs. Wm Simpson, Mrs. C.G. Langrill, Mrs. H.K. Moberly, Mrs. D. Burke, Mrs. M.A. Ebby, Mrs. G.H. Bradbrooke, Mrs. Levi Beck, and Mrs. G. J. Betts, to name a few. As was typical of the writings of the time, none of the women are identified by their given names, only by their husbandís initials. From the lengthy list of names, two stand out. They are, Mrs. J.T.M. Anderson, wife of prominent educator, and prohibitionist, who in 1929 became Conservative Premier of Saskatchewan, and the other was Mrs. H. Bronfman, wife of well known owner of the Balmoral Hotel, Harry Bronfman who was of Liberal persuasion, and who in the Prohibition years made a fortune with the sales of both legal and illegal liquor. It would appear that the two ladiesí interest in benevolent works overcame any of their political differences.

The Travelersí Aid Society ceased operation in 1951. For one half century its members provided an essential service. This organization also provided an opportunity for a measure of social status for women, at a period in history where little opportunity of this nature existed.