The Dwight Rice Family
Excerpt from Cherished Memories.
A compilation by Ardrossan Unifarm. (1972)
THE DWIGHT RICE FAMILY by Mary J. Rice
I, Mary, first daughter of Clyde and Mary Storms, was born on their
homestead (S.E. 18-53-21, W. of 4), when the West was young. Our log house
had a shingled roof so at least we kept dry when it rained.
As I look back over the years, I can't help but admire the courage of those
pioneer mothers. They had come from comfortable city homes. It must have
taken a good measure of endurance to cope with all the hardships.
There was such neighborliness in those early days. Folks lent anything
they had, and would be repaid when the borrower got to market. Homesteaders'
children were happy and carefree and didn't suffer because they lacked
material things. I was typical of those children.
My dad would often make us whistles on our many walks through the woods.
He always had a story to tell us too. Mother made all of our clothes and
I can remember how pleased I was with my new dresses.
I can also remember how frightened I would be when going through mud holes
or stretches of water. I didn't enjoy water in the wagon box.
There had been school in our district (Baker) a number of years before
I was old enough to attend. I started in 1909, my teacher being Miss Elizabeth
Lackey, my mother's first cousin. She was a lovely person and a wonderful
teacher. We lived close to school, which meant a great deal in those days.
At fourteen, when I was through grade eight, my parents sent me to Edmonton
to attend High School. My cousin, Sarah Parker, and I were the same age,
so we always had each other for company.
We came home on week ends by train and on Sunday nights we would return
to the city. Often the train was very late. Mr. and Mrs. Hastings were
at the station then and while we were waiting Mr. Hastings would entertain
us with his Irish jokes. On more than one occasion the street cars had
stopped running when we got in. On one particular night Vera and Mabel
Garbe were with us. They lived much closer to the station than we did,
so they asked us to spend the night with them. I don't know how much sleeping
we did, with four of us in one bed.
We stayed with our good friend Mrs. Clapp and attended Victoria High and
later Normal, which was held at the Highlands School.
I really enjoyed teaching. I have never taught since my marriage. In those
years there were far more teachers than schools. The last year I taught
in my home district. Some who were my pupils are now my neighbors.
Besides my parents, I had a brother and two sisters who meant a great deal
to me. I was also fortunate in having other relatives. Many a happy time
I spent with Aunt Bella and Uncle Clyde and their children. We always looked
forward to the visits from Grandma and Aunt Martha Widdis, when they came
in the summers, from South Omaha. A well-trodden path and a plank across
the creek led to Aunt Lottie and Uncle Hammie Lackey's home.
In July 1926 I married Dwight H. Rice, son of Rev. and Mrs. H.G. Rice.
Dwight was born in Montreal, and had a twin brother, Gladden. The family
moved to Forest, Ontario, when the twins were quite small. A few years
later, they moved to Dodsland, Saskatchewan. When Dwight was thirteen,
they moved to Edmonton, where he attended Strathcona High School. After
graduation he enrolled in Camrose Normal. He taught school for eleven years
and then decided he would try farming. These were the depression years
so it was quite hard getting started.
My father gave us our first cow and Dwight bought calves. Soon we had a
good sized herd.
The first breaking on our raw quarter was done by horses and a walking
We also raised chickens and sold eggs privately. I often fed the chickens
and cleaned the eggs, but Dwight always did the candling. Our days were
always very long in those years.
After shipping cream for a number of years, Dwight and his elder son, Hillis,
decided to change over to shipping fluid milk.
Dwight was Secretary-Treasurer of the former Baker School for a number
of years, also the United Church and the F.U.A. He has always been an active
member of the church and farm organizations. Time doesn't permit him to
do much more community work.
We have four children - L. Hillis being the eldest. All of our children
took their first eight grades at Baker School. Hillis then went to East
Clover bar and completed grade eleven. He went by bus with Mr. Melvin Olson.
At seventeen, he decided he wanted to farm, so he stayed at home and helped
his Dad. He has been a very faithful son. Now he is manager of our dairy
Mary Ruth came next. She went to Clover Bar Village for grades nine and
ten, and then to Fort Saskatchewan to finish her high school. After her
graduation she attended University and became a teacher. As she was growing
up, she took part in all the church activities, and took her turn in playing
the piano. She sang in the University Chorus, where she met Reg Underhill
B.Sc., whom she married in 1950. They live in Victoria, BC. Their
three children are Arthur - 19, Owen - 18, and Janet - 12. The boys
are both in university.
Lyall is the third member of our family. He attended East Clover Bar and
Fort Saskatchewan High. He was in the 4-H Beef Club when Mr. Alex Bell
was the leader. Like all teenagers, he was anxious to earn money, so he
worked at a few jobs before he decided to go through for a plumber. He
graduated from N.A.I.T. He is very fond of music. Lyall married Gwendolyn
Scheers, younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Scheers in 1956. They
live at the corner of N.E. 7-53-21, W of 4. They have three boys, Lyall
- 15, Wayne - 13 and Dale - 9. They all love outdoor sports, especially
Frances is our youngest. She attended East Clover Bar for grade nine and
went to Fort Saskatchewan for the other three years, graduating in 1955.
She then took a secretary's course at Alberta College. Upon completion
she obtained a position with I.B.M., and worked there for eight and a half
years. She has always been active in church work. Once when she was playing
at church, the piano stool gave way and let her down "kerplunk" on the
floor. Several came to her rescue and soon things were running smoothly
again. Frances married Percy W. Jackman, grandson of a pioneer family,
Mr. and Mrs. W. Jackman. Frances' Grandpa Rice assisted in the wedding
ceremony and also in Ruth's. They have two children, David - 6 and Anne
In 1962 Dwight's parents celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in
Edmonton, where they had been living since his father's retirement from
the ministry. After his mother passed away, his father lived alone for
a year until he sold his home. Then he came to Ardrossan to live with us.
Both of Dwight's parents loved flowers so much and cared for them so well.
when spring came his father worked diligently in the garden and that summer
his beautiful flowers made it a paradise. We could see him failing day
by day but he wouldn't give in. He was so deaf we had to write down all
our communications. I never realized before what a handicap it was to be
so deaf. He passed away after eight short months with us - a few days after
his ninety-third birthday.
I am still living in the same district where I was born, so I really feel
that I belong here. It is a great community, we have always had good neighbors.
I hope I have helped to make it what it is.
Gratefully, Dwight and I wish to honor our wonderful pioneer parents who
so graciously guided us along life's way.