Before Saskatchewan became a Province in 1905, it was part of the area known as the North West Territories which covered all that portion of land lying between Manitoba to the east, British Columbia to the west and from the International Boundary between Canada and the United States north to the Arctic Ocean.
Up to the year 1905, the North West Territories was under the administrative control of the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba and a Council of eleven members appointed by the Dominion Government. This Territorial Council acted under the authority of the North West Territories Act of 1875, and was empowered to pass legislation to provide for the governing of this vast area. When the Province of Saskatchewan was established in 1905, all municipal affairs came under the supervision of the Territorial Department of Public Works.
By the year 1908, the Saskatchewan Legislature had adopted legislation to provide for the formation, operation and control of the local government units we have today -that of city, town, village and rural municipality. Before that, the rural area was divided into Local Improvement Districts; the size and shape of which was variable as natural boundaries such as creeks, hills and rivers were used, but most of them were of the nine township square size. These Local Improvement Districts were administered by elected representatives of the people who lived in each district. By March 21, 1907 rural local government assumed legal form and status.
image from http://prairie-towns.com/herschel-images.html
The Rural Municipality of Mountain View, as it exists today, was part of the Mountain View local Improvement District No. 16-N-3. The Councillors elected to administer the district were as follows: Division I: Charles T. Ramsey – Twp. 31-17-3 Division 2: Frank Cutten – Twp. 32-17-3 Division 3: Alex Walker – Twp. 31-18-3 Division 4: William J. Heatherington (Chairman) – 32-18-3 Division 5: D. Dubrueil – Twp. 33-17-3 Division 6: M. J. McMillan – Twp. 33-18-3 and Charles Lawrence, Notary Public, Berkshire Farm, of Wiggins, Sask. was Secretary-Treasurer.
On May 19, 1909 a petition was sent to the Municipal Commissioner for Saskatchewan by a Municipal Committee, whose names appear on the copy of the petition, for the authority to proceed with the organization of a rural municipality. The seven names submitted for the name of the proposed municipality also appear on the petition. Accompanying the petition was an approval of the resident electors requesting a vote be taken for and against the organization of the rural municipality.
The Municipal Commissioner’s Authority for the election was granted on June 15, 1909. The election was held on July 20, 1909: 52 voters cast ballots. 36 FOR the municipality; 16 AGAINST the municipality.
In due course, a reply to the July 27th letter was received (dated August 16, 1909) , with an additional letter concerning the divisions and the official organization of Rural Municipality of Mountain View No. 318 comprised of Townships 31, 32 and 33 in Ranges 16,
17 and 18, all west of the Third Meridian.
Our Municipality is located in the Dark Brown Soil Region of the province and has a long time average wheat yield of 15.5 to 25 bushels per acre.
For the period 1932-1961 average wheat yield was 15.3 bus.; 1942-61 average wheat yield was 16.8 bus.; 1952-61 average wheat yield was 20.8 bus.; 1962-80 average wheat yield was 24.8 bus.
The fertile flat land in the middle of the municipality is bordered on the north by the Bear Hills and on the south by the Bad Hills. The hill regions of the area are used for grazing purposes. We are fortunate to have some of the best grain growing soil in Saskatchewan which tends to make our municipality one of the highest in economic
In the early years of development, large areas of land in the municipality were taken up by large farms. The Engen farm of 1909 contained 9 sections;
the Lamborn farm of 1910 contained 5 sections (sold later to a group of Mennonite settlers in 1925) and the Bellamy farm of 1912 contained 17 sections. The Engen and Bellamy farms were later broken up into smaller farms. Now history is reversing itself; the smaller farms are being taken over by larger farming units.
Come listen a spell and a tale I will tell
As I dream of the long, long ago.
It’s a tale of past years, of laughter and tears
Adventures only old-timers know
But it’s not too long ago, as history will show
That our prairie was untamed and free
With nothing to mar the distance afar
Not a mountain, or town or a tree.
Only Indians had trod the unbroken sod
And antelope grazed on the plain
A buffalo herd had never been stirred
By a gun, or the toot of a train
The grass in the sloughs was knee-high to a moose
And the tumble-weed raced with the hare
Near unto a creek were saskatoons, thick
And golden rod scented the air
You could travel for days without meeting a face
Of an Indian, outlaw or scout
Only a hawk or an owl, or a shy prairie fowl
And gophers playing about.
It made you feel queer, tho’ it wasn’t with fear
Only something mysterious, sublime
A feeling of awe, like an unspoken law
Of the endless passing of time.
Then the government guys got beams in their eyes
And decided some steel tracks to lay ‘
It was their great boast to reach the west coast
But when and how would they pay?
So it certainly did seem a very wise scheme
To get some returns in great haste
To give homesteads for free, or a very small fee
And not let the land go to waste.
The land ads at home assured us the loam
Was rich and productive and deep
The wheat, we were told, was equal to gold
All we had to do was to reap.
Now with such a big lure who could endure
To let fortune slip unheeded by
So with vim and with zest we all went out west
For a life on a homestead to try.
No mention of cut-worm or bug, or rocks to be dug
E’er ever a furrow be made
No hint of blizzard or hail, or crops that might fail
Or grasshoppers planning a raid.
It helped to get started, if ere you departed
You’d taken some “critters” and tools
For at that early date there was a rebate
On “settlers effects”, said the rules.
The very first day, if you decided to stay
You bargained for lumber and nails
You put up a shack wrapped in tar-paper black
With a “box-car roar’ against the gales.
The next on the list, if you wished to exist,
Was a well that wouldn’t go dry
So you dug night and day through hard-pan and clay
Then a pulley and buckets you’d buy.
So with might and with main but with vision of gain
You toiled every hour of the day
There was plowing and sowing, reaping and mowing
Threshing and stacking of hay.
There was always some bug, or rocks to be dug
More acreage always a goal
In winter’s deep snows, when everything froze
You kept busy shoveling in coal.
But we never looked back tho’ bemoaning the lack
Of funds for payments to meet
We strode lightly along with a grin and a song
Never lacking for something to eat.
There was porridge to fry when the cow had gone dry
And a barrel of well salted pork
There was carrot and turnip and beet, if not wilted by heat
And potatoes dug with a fork.
In those early days we had some strange ways
That’s hardly approved of today
If a tramp came to beg you fried him an egg
You never turned strangers away
And, if a near neighbor was unfit to labor
Or needed a days work, or two
You gave him a lift, with no thought of a gift
For he’d do the same thing for you.
Us women, poor folk, had the brunt of the yoke
Tending to everyone’s needs
You couldn’t spend hours on frills or on flowers
When the garden was choked by the weeds