History of the Tofield Union Ladies' Aid p. 106-108.
The Bank of Montreal in Tofield p. 109-110
The Tofield Agricultural Society p. 111-113
Tofield Library p. 114-116
Palestine Lodge, No. 46, A.F. and A.M. p. 117-120
Tofield Knights of Pythias p. 121-122
The Women's Institute p.123-125
Pioneer Community Pasture p.126-129
The Tofield F.W.U.A. #620 p. 130-132
The Trent Ranch p. 133-138
Ionic Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star p. 139-140
Tofield Legion p. 141-143
Junior Farm Clubs p. 144-145
Tofield Community League p. 146-156
Women's Auxiliary to the Tofield Community League, & Tofield Lions' Club p. 157-159
Tofield Gun Club p. 159-165
The Tofield Historical Society p. 166-167
This information was compiled by Mrs. Ethel Wood, from the original minute book of the Union Ladies' Aid
The minute book of the Tofield Union Ladies' Aid, now in the United Church Archives in Edmonton states that on Thursday, January 28, 1904, a meeting was held to organize a union ladies' aid society to raise funds for the Tofield Union Meeting House. The ladies present were: Mrs. J. W. Cookson; Mrs. L.H. Harriman; Miss Ada Cookson (who were elected president, vice-president and secretary, respectively); Mrs. J. 0. Letourneau; Mrs. C. Harriman; Mrs. M. McCauley; Mrs. Rickner; Lily Rickner; Oma Rickner; Mrs. William Wood; Mrs. J.C. Phillips; Miss A. Story; Mrs. Harry Neal; Miss May Williams; Mrs. Felix Paradis; Miss Lena Whillans; Miss Clara Thorsley and Mrs. George Cookson.
Annual membership fee was set at 2S cents. At their first regular meeting at Mrs. Rickner's in February, it was decided to offer to buy the old Tofield school "for the purpose of retaining it as a Union Meeting House to be used by all denominations, the offer to be made at the school meeting."
Their next meeting at Mrs. Harriman's saw arrangements made for holding their first "social" on March 29 at 7:30 with admissions of 15 cents for adults, 10 cents for children from 9 to 14 years. The financial return from this enterprise was $9.50. This included the returns from a sale of cakes.
In the minutes of the May meeting we find it written that "we should spend our time at our meetings on sewing or useful needlework." That day, too, plans were completed for the first Ladies' Aid Booth on the sports grounds on July 1, where they planned to "serve meals and light refreshments." Provisions except fruit, were to be purchased in Edmonton on credit.
Some of the money from this effort was spent on cups, saucers, and spoons for use at socials, and for materials to be made into bazaar articles
and to renovate the old school house. The building was plastered with mud, both inside and out, and whitewashed inside by Mr. Louis Pruden for $7.00 and afterwards scrubbed and cleaned by Miss G. Francis for $2.00. Lunches at socials were served in paper bags. The members of the Ladies' Aid found it necessary, as the ladies of the Community League still do, on show nights, to puncture each bag in advance to forestall a noisy evening.
Prices for some of the materials purchased by the Aid were: White cotton at 15 cents a yard; Turkey red cotton at 12 1/2 cents a yard, 6 spools of thread for 25 cents. The bazaar articles were sold on credit, a months time being allowed for payment.
In October that year, the ladies bought a pig from Mrs. J. Cookson for $2.00. The pig was sold in 1905 for $7.50, having been kept with the Cookson pigs till ready for market.
The candy left over from July 1 booth was given to the children the following Christmas; two dozen chairs and a table were ordered for the meeting house as well as wool for comforters and yarn for knitting.
In January, 1905, they ordered half a cord of firewood to be sawed, cut ready for use and delivered by Jim Francis for $1.75.
The audit of the books for the first year showed total receipts of $173.20 with expenditures of $100.40. Each of the student ministers of the Presbyterian and Methodist churches received $4.00 from the Aid.
Nina Wood was the first regular caretaker of the meeting house. She was followed by Venah Rickner. Both were paid at the rate of 15 cents per week for building the fire, sweeping, dusting and tidying up.
The biggest expenditure in 1905 was for an organ. One member made a cover for it; another made a feather duster for cleaning the instrument.
The members of this pioneer Ladies' Aid applied the commandment to "love thy neighbour." When Jeremy Gladue's house was destroyed by fire, he was given a donation towards replacement. Another time, a girl was hired and paid to help a sick mother.
By 1906, various denominations were beginning to establish churches in the district. The Methodist parsonage and the Presbyterian manse each received $50 for furnishings from the Ladies Aid.
In 1907, $400 was donated to each of the above churches, Mr. A.J.H. McCauley's audit of the books for that year showed that the Ladies' Aid had raised $500.62
When the churches decided to separate, the ladies decided to divide the goods and possessions equally between the two churches e.g. the curtains to one church, the ice-cream freezer to the other, and so on. From then on each church was large enough to have its own group of women workers.
The Merchant' Bank established a branch in Tofield in 1907 near the site of the present school. When the town moved, in 1908 to its present site, the bank moved from its rented frame building to its newly - built structure on Main Street. This building still stands across the street from the Royal Alexandra Hotel.0n the second floor were four rooms used as quarters for the staff. In a booklet published in 1913 by the "Industrial League of Tofield" there is an excellent picture of this pioneer bank.
The bank began with a staff of two to serve a population of two hundred. Mr. R.I. Stinson was the first manager in 1907.He was succeeded in 1908 by N.C. Legge. Other managers have been: C.H. Rowe; 1913, IV. C. King, 1917; H.A. Doak, 1921; J.A. Constantine, 1925;C.H.Rowe again in 1928; L.W. Smith, 1931; A.E. Allan, 1936;D.R. McKay, 1946; E.O. Pederson, 1947; H. Seller, 19S4.
A branch of the Dominion Bank opened in 1922 closed a year later.
In 1936, the Bank of Montreal was moved to its present site, though it was housed in the building now used as the Legion Hall.
On June 6, 1955, the present premises of the ban were opened. The staff was made up of: Horace Seller manager, Ernie George, Margaret Sware, Joan Fraser Sophie Haugen and Malissa Nomeland.
In April, 1957, the bank celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in Tofield. The staff then consisted of:Horace Seller, John Weir, Margaret Sware, Verna Baergen, Irma Thiessen, Isabel Dunki and Dolores Wideman.
In 1959, Horace Seller's staff were: Steve Falabrenza, Lloyd Horn, Inez Kauffman, Sylvia Wideman, Isabel Dunki and Patsy Roth.
In 1967, Canada's Centennial year,the Tofield bank celebrated its sixtieth year in Tofield as well as the 150th anniversary of the Bank of Montreal in Canada.
A commemorative historical plaque, was placed on the original bank building (now owned by Conrad Patterson). The ceremony was attended by the members of the Tofield town council, members of the Chamber of Commerce and Mr. Harold Weatherill, representing the County of Beaver.
The ceremony was enhanced by the presence of Mark Ferguson, one of the original councillors of Tofield and one of the first customers of the bank, in 1909.
At this time the bank staff, in addition to manager Horace Seller included Gordon Penny, Dean Niemetz, Margaret Jensen, Diane Ferguson, Dolores Lehman, Barbara McGinitie and Shari Ast.
In July 1967, Margaret (Sware) Jensen took over the post of second officer of the branch. The remainder of the staff consisted of: Diane Ferguson, Dolores Lehman, Gloria Hoover, Fern Stauffer, Isla Hjelter and Bob Knull.
In 1968, an addition to the premises of the Bank of Montreal was constructed to accomodate the growing business of the Bank.
The Tofield Agricultural Society originated in 1909 and continued until 1923, sponsoring an Agricultural Fair each year. The booklet "Tofield, the Heart of the Beaver Lake District," published by the Tofield Board of Trade in 1910, states: "The Agricultural Society will hold its annual exhibition this year on September 27," thus indicating the existence of a Fair in 1909. The minutes of the Town Council dated September 13, 1910 note that "the Agricultural Society requests the loan of one of the town fire engines." (At that time, the town had two fire engines stationed at J. Gladue's livery barn).
The two livery barns of Tofield played an important part in the Agricultural Fair. Mr. Gladue's barn on Lot 19, Block 14 where Watson's have (in 1967) their West lumber yard and Mr. Josh Noland's barn across the avenue on Lots 1,2,3, Block 13, housed the livestock exhibits.
Grains, grasses, vegetables, cookery and fancy work exhibits were on display in the building Mr. W. C. Swift had contracted to display Massey-Harris machinery just east of the present (1967) Calgary Power office.
There were no loading chutes in the barns so it was not surprising that it took five men and a boy to load the 600-lb. winning Berkshire sow when it was time for her to return to the Olsen farm. Someone (probably the boy) twisted her tail to speed up her progress; the resulting noise would drown out any brass band.
Several early residents were responsible for the inception and administration of the Agricultural Society Wm. Thompson, the first president and R. W. Whillans, the first secretary were assisted by J. L. Gray, Jack Cookson, R.E. Emery, George Didon, John McGinitie, D. Francis, Billy Wood, Sam Bethel, Sam Stirrett, Jack Willis, John Morton., Mrs. Morton and Pete Lee.
Soon, the Agricultural Society needed room to expand. The town minutes of February 3, 1910, note, "R. W. Whillans was present on behalf of the Agricultural Society, seeking a piece of land to hold Tofield's Fair on.
In 1911, the present Exhibition grounds were set a side and town and country worked together to improve the site of the Fair.A long, narrow building was constructed about where the west sheet of curling ice is now; this housed the ladies' fancy work, cooking, vegetables and grains. To the north was a shed for horses pens were made for sheep and pigs. Cattle were exhibited much as they are in the present calf club shows.
A half-mile race course was constructed for the trotting horses pulling their sulkies as well as for the race-horses. A judges' stand, large enough to hold six or seven men, completed the race-track equipment.
When the Fairs were first instituted they were divided by the Dep't of Agriculture into classes A,B,and C. Edmonton and Calgary Fairs ranked as Class A; those in Vermilion, Vegreville and Camrose as Class B; Tofield., Holden and Ryley were in Class C. The Government of Alberta provided two-thirds of the prize money the remaining third was raised by the local directors who canvassed the district. Later, the grant was cut to SO% this meant more work for the directors; they had t8 secure bigger contributions from the community.
Some prominent exhibitors were: J. S. Gray and John McGinitie for their vegetables; Mrs. John Morton and Mrs. Peter Lee for fancy work; Mrs. Jack Cookson, Mrs Gray, R.N. Whillans, D. Francis, E. Hardy, and Mr. Goeglein Sr. for poultry; J. McGinitie, D. Francis , Sam Bethal., George Quam, Tofield Coal Co., T. Noland ,J.B. Warner for livestock.
The Fairs continued successfully until 1922 when the Government reduced its financial support to one third of the prize money. The increasing use of the automobile also contributed to the demise of the fairs as people could now travel further and more easily; local events were no longer the only available attraction
The rivalry between the Clyde and Percheron horse breeders also contributed to the downfall of the already declining Fairs.
The Government used to supply the judges for the live-stock. One year, the horse judge from the U.S.A. was a short, stout man whose body seemed much too heavy for his legs to support. He had a decided preference for a special kind of horse; if the horse was a black or an iron-grey, he was sure to be awarded the prize money. But tastes differ and the next year the judge was a tall bony Scotsman who preferred a fine team of bays with white faces and white stockings. When a team answering this description appeared, a prize was surely in the offing!
When the Fair was no longer held, one of the exhibition buildings was cut up and hauled up to the school to make a barn for the horses driven by school children. About twenty horses were stabled there at one time.
The other exhibition building seemed to disintegrate as the town boys discovered that the ten-foot planks of which it was composed made excellent material for rafts!
So passed an era in local history!
As early as November 30, 1909 the town records show that "a petition was received from 20 ratepayers praying that a library be established in town." In 1910 the minutes of the town council state: "The secretary (A.J.H. McCauley) was instructed to write to Dr. J.E. Hammond advising that those who signed the petition for a library appoint a committee to write to Mr. Andrew Carnegie for full information regarding the conditions he would require in the event of a library grant being given by him." Somewhat later, a form to be filled out if the town wished a library grant was received from Mr. Carnegie, but apparently no grant was received.
Mrs. Crawford Baptist, who has always been an avid reader as well as a community worker, said "The first public library to be established in Tofield was due to the efforts of the Women's Institute when, in 1916 each member agreed to donate one good book as the nucleus of a library."
At that time the W.I. meetings were held at the homes of the members and, a little later, in the upstairs rooms of the present Red and White Store. They had dreams of establishing a W.I. rest room for local and district women. This would also house the library.
A committee was appointed to take charge of the venture. It was responsible for the books, for soliciting donations, for supervising the material. At that time Mrs. Jacobs (mother of Mr. D.W. Jacobs) was president and members of the early executive were: Mrs. Ward Somers, Mrs. Herb Ward and Mrs. Raymond Pincott.
Mrs. Pincott will be remembered in Tofield as a member of the famous Palmatier family of entertainers. She was known and beloved as a concert violinist and even better known as a comedienne. She was a real acquisition to Tofield and had a vital interest in the Library. When her sister in Edmonton died, her large and valuable collection of books were offered for sale. Mr. Pincott (who was Mayor of Tofield in 1919 and '20) informed the
W.I. of the opportunity of buying these books. While the W.I. was considering ways and means, Mr. Pincott bought the whole collection and presented it to the W. I. so the Tofield Public Library got an enormous boost.
Grateful members willingly took charge. Rows of bookcases were built and established in the Institute rest rooms, which had been purchased by the W.I. The building served for many years as a meeting place and recreation centre for town and country women. It has only recently been demolished to make way for the Lion's Club Museum.
Mrs. Gilbert McCarthy, among others, will always be remembered for devoted management of the library which under her capable administration grew to the two thousand volume mark.
Mrs. Baptist was also librarian at that time.
"Later," to quote Mrs. Baptist again, "other interests and exploits diverted the Institute members and the organization quietly died out. The rest room was taken over by the Holden School Division and used for a Home Economics room. The library was shifted from one place to another."
The following information was supplied by Mrs. W.H. Freebury,
"In 1944, the library was housed in the town hall (on the site of the present drug store) and the librarian was still Mrs. Gilbert McCarthy, who was on duty every Saturday afternoon. When Mrs. McCarthy was forced by illness to sever her long association with the library, the work was carried on by Mrs. Ray Coatta until the new town hall was built in 1951.
The library books were then sorted. Those suitable for youth reading were given to the Tofield High School the remainder were stored in the Old Methodist Church building until the new Community Hall was built and the use of the meeting rom was donated to the library by
the Community League.
For some years there were various book clubs formed among ardent readers of the town and country. Books were passed among members at two-week intervals. In 1954 one of these book clubs became the fore-runner of our library. When Mrs. Marguerite Anderson, the organizer of this club, left Tofield, she bequeathed her record books and information regarding the libraries supplied by the Department of Extension to Mrs. W.H. Freebury who then took over the task of organizing the library.
The Tofield Community League supplies the meeting room of the Community Hall, rent free, as its contribution to the library. The Town of Tofield donates a sum yearly. The table and chairs were purchased by the Jubilee Committee of 1955 with the proceeds of the booklet "A Concise History of Tofield."
On October 19, 1964, as a result of a petition received by the Town of Tofield, a by-law was passed establishing the Tofield Municipal Library. The advantages of changing the status from the Tofield Library were that a larger grant could be obtained from the Provincial Government and that the financing, policy setting, and administration of the Library are the responsibility of a Library Board and not the Library Staff as was the case under the Tofield Library. The first library Board appointed consisted of Mr. E. Watson, Chairman; Mrs. Joan Dunham, Treasurer; Mrs. Rita Halverson, Secretary; Mayor Dr. W.H. Freebury and Mr. D.L. Jefferson, representatives from the Town Council; Mr. D.E. Hardy and Mrs. Hazel Patterson. The Tofield Municipal Library is under the custodianship of Mrs. Dorothea Freebury, Librarian, and Mrs. Georgia Christensen, Assistant Librarian. Volunteer helpers are "Friends of the Library."
Those who have, through the years, assisted in the library are: Mary Stinson, Minnie McConnell, Dorothea Freebury, Melita Wall, Evelyn Richardson, Rosella Dodds.
On the evening of July 21st, 1909, the Masons resident in Tofield held a meeting to discuss forming a Masonic Lodge. These men were:
Alfred Fugl, Brittania Lodge #23 of Saskatchewan;
Charles Spilsted, Wellington Lodge #341 of England;
Charles Cress, Norwood Lodge #223 Canada;
James Hammond, Palestine Lodge #357 of Detroit;
James Letourneau, Warren Lodge #150 of Minnesota;
Clarence Jamieson, Fidelity Lodge #428 of Canada;
James Mafaffy, Pawnee Lodge #17, Oklahoma;
Alfred Schultz, Enterprise #332, Iowa.
As a result of this meeting and after the necessary correspondence between the Grand Lodge of Alberta and the petitioners, a dispensation was granted on September 23, 1909, on the recommendation of Camrose Lodge #37.
On October 13, 1909, Palestine Lodge #46 U.D. was instituted and the following officers were installed and invested:
Worshipful Master: A.F. Fugl
Senior Warden: C.H. Cress
Junior Warden: J.L. Hammond
Treasurer: J.A. Letrouneau
Senior Deacon: A.E. Campion
Junior Deacon: A.F. Schultz
Inner Guard: J.F. Mahaffy
Palestine Lodge #46 was named after Palestine Lodge #357 in Detroit which was Dr. J.L. Hammond's Mother Lodge.
At the time of Institution in 1909, Palestine Lodge in Detroit presented Palestine Lodge In Tofield with a lovely Lodge Bible.
As of 1968, Brother Hammond is the only surviving charter member. He now resides in California, but is
still a member of Palestine Lodge. Brother Hammond has attended Lodge here on two occasions in the last eight years.
In the summer of 1910, fire destroyed the building in which the Lodge Hall was situated. Temporary quarters were used until the new Hall Block was completed.
On October 24, 1934 the 25th anniversary of Palestine Lodge was celebrated by a banquet at which over 130 guests were seated. The head table was decorated with yellow chrysanthemums sent by Palestine Lodge #357 of Detroit, Michigan. Sixteen Lodges were represent at the meeting which followed the banquet.
During the years of World War II, parcels were sent overseas, and financial support was given to the Victory Bond Campaigns, the Red Cross, and the I.O.D.E.
At present there are several second generation members of Palestine Lodge. These are Graham Allan, D Dodds, Thomas Jacobs, Arnold Swift, Douglas Murray, Malcolm Murray and Allan Maxwell.
In the Spring of 1955 the old United Church was purchased by the Lodge and after some renovations the first meeting was held in the new quarters on the 21st of June 1955.
In 1958 an addition was built to the Lodge Hall. Kitchen facilities and a new heating plant were added.
The 50th anniversary of Palestine Lodge was held on March 15, 1960, with several Grand Lodge officers present. A service on Thanksgiving for a half century of Freemasonry in Tofield was conducted by Rev. Brother Dr. E.J. Thompson, at that time, Principal of St. Stephen's College.
Brother Penman of Edmonton presented Palestine Lodge with three handmade, inlaid gavels which he had made from Oak from the old Hudson's Bay store in Edmonton.
In the course of fifty years' use, the Bible, which had been presented by Palestine Lodge #357 of Detroit, Michigan, had become rather shabby. So, Brother Bernie Brown, of Edmonton, had it recovered and it was presented anew by Brother D.W. Jacobs.
In the evening 175 guests were served a turkey Banquet by the ladies of Ionic Chapter of the O.E.S., thus bringing to a conclusion, a most successful 50th anniversary celebration.
Over the course of years several of the members have been appointed officers of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. These were:
District Deputy Grand Master
District Deputy Grand Master
District Deputy Grand Master
District Deputy Grand Master
Rev. D.K. Allan
District Deputy Grand Master
In 1968, Palestine Lodge A.F. & A.M. #46 was host to 274 Masons from many points in Alberta and beyond on Tuesday, April 16, on the occasion of the visit of a Masonic Degree Team, arranged by Corporal Roy Murray of Tofield, Worshipful Master of Palestine Lodge.
Preceding the meeting, which was held in the Tofield Community Centre, members of Ionic Chapter, O.E.S., served the guests a turkey banquet.
Seated at the head table and introduced by Bill Christensen, banquet chairman, were: Grand Master, Bernie Brown; Senior Grand Warden, Dr. P.J. Kendal; District Deputies, Cliff Jones, Edmonton, and Frank Rogers, Blindloss; Chairman of the Higher Education Bursary Fund, Ken Crockett; Captain of the visiting Degree Team; Stan Harbin; George Thiessen,Don Goss and K. Schroeder.
Following the banquet, the regular April meeting of Palestine Lodge was held, during which Harry Wilkie, John Wall and Floyd Irwin, all of Tofield, were received into Masonry.
Following a short business meeting, the chairs were turned over to the visiting degree team, who conducted the ceremony for Messrs. Wilkie, Wall and Irwin in a brilliant display which set a high standard for the work. Both visitors and members of Palestine Lodge were especially impressed with the crisp precision and perfection displayed by the highly-famed team, whose reputation had brought the large turn-out in the first place.
The guests represented 64 Alberta lodges, including 21 Edmonton lodges, two lodges in Ontario, and one lodge in each of British Columbia, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
As well as those Grand Lodge Officers introduced at the head table, there were present six Past District Deputies, two Past Grand Registrars; two other Past Grand Officers, 76 Past Masters, and 15 sitting Masters.
The register was signed by members from Calgary, Oyen, Mannville, Stettler, Cold Lake, Athabasca, Coronation, Westlock, Chauvin, Camrose, Vegreville, Tawatinaw, Edgerton, Sedgewick, Viking, Rimbey, Hughenden, Wetaskiwin, Wainwright, Whitecourt, Two Hills, Chinook, Castor, Alix, Blindloss, Lamont, Greisbach, Irma, Alliance, Forestburg, Holden, St. Paul and Edmonton, which sent 98 members.
When in 1955, the Masons moved from the room over the former McLeod's store to their new lodge room, an interesting document was found. Apparently the room had been shared by other lodges because this document is a report of the committee on selection of officers for the Knights of Pythias Lodge in Tofield. While the document is not dated,it must have been formulated prior to 1912, since one trustee's term of office expired then. The list of officers is as follows:
Chancellor, Arthur McMullen; Vice-Chancellor, Ernest W. Rogers; Prelate, Rev. Allan M. McColl; Master of Work, Morris Mahaffay; Keeper of Records, John C. Kelley; Master of Exchequer, Roy S. Rudd; Master at Arms, Johnston Ferguson; Inner Guard, Dr. Norman Terwilliger; Outer Guard, David H.Mitchell; Past Chancellors, James A. Younie, Frederick McHeffey, Rev. Allan McColl, John C.Kelvey; Representatives to Grand Lodge, James Younie, Morris E. Mahaffey. Trustees Ralph Davison to January 1, 1912; Norman Smith to January 1, 1913; Robert Mitchell to January 1, 1914.
The document continues: "In making these recommendations, your committee has borne in mind only what it considered to be the best interests of the lodge and its future success, and has endeavoured to select those who have manifested an interest in the lodge and its work. The remaining portion of the present term is very short and makes necessary a change of officers at the new year, so that practically all the new members will have ample opportunity to manifest the faith that is in them by practical service in official station."
In selecting those upon whom the honour of Past Chancellor shall be conferred, we have considered the matter only from the standpoint of equitable merit for the following reasons:
Had the lodge continued, Brother James A. Younie would have earned the honour of service. He had done much toward the re-organization of this lodge and we believe he deserves the honour.
Frederick McHeffey is one of the old-time members of the former lodge and one of the first to lend encouragement to the formation of the new lodge. His faithfulness and fidelity will be augmented and the necessity of serving will be more than counter-balanced by the generous assistance he will gladly render the lodge as proof of his appreciation of the honor conferred.
The position of Prelate will be honoured and dignified by the services of Brother McColl in that station and the peculiar duties of the office should make it specially fitting that one of his profession should be placed therein. It follows, therefore, that so long as he remains a member of this lodge, he should remain in that position, thus precluding the possibility of his earning the honour by service in other capacities. Hence, we have suggested he be rewarded in advance for the duties we believe he will cheerfully and acceptably perform.
The position of Keeper of Records and Seal and Master of Finance is one of the most important in the lodge, about which revolves all the business procedure and without faithful and competent service therein, the lodge cannot hope for a full measure of success; when once the right member is found for that place, he is invariably retained there indefinitely, thus precluding the possibilities of his earning honours by service in other capacities and we believe, therefore, that the Keeper of Records and Seal should be given the honour of Past Chancellor, so he may devote his time and energies to the proper discharge of the duties devolving upon him, without feeling he is being deprived of honors that otherwise might come to him. In that spirit, and for that purpose we have named Brother Kelley as one of the Past Chancellors.
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Enterprise... Initiative ... Community Pride: These are the marks of the Women's Institute. And so it was with the Tofield Women's Institute. The first written record we can find is of meetings being held in 1915 with Mrs. Thomas Jacobs, Sr., as president. These meetings were held in the homes of various members.
It was the ambition of these ladies to have their own club rooms and so it came about they were able to rent the upstairs rooms of Mr. Taylor's Store. Here they had rest rooms and a club house till March, 1921 when they moved into a small building on Main Street, known to many old timers as the Institute Rooms.
With them, moved the Tofield Library which had come under their custody in May of 1920. Mrs.Innes Sr. was librarian.
The first Women's Institute Convention to be held in Tofield was March 15 and 16, 1921 in the Variety Theatre.
In May, 1921 a Child Welfare Clinic was held. Institute members urged all parents both town and country to bring their children.
The ladies worked hard for their money, sponsoring an annual banquet and play each year. One play held in March of 1921 was called: 'My Wife's Relations.' Admission for adults was 50 cents, and for children it was 35 cents. A dance was held afterwards, with admission being a dollar per gentleman.
Many a whist drive was sponsored by the organization and we find that Mrs. Wm. Glover was awarded a nice pair of towels for regular attendance in 1922.
Apparently the ladies worked for charitable causes for in 1922 a plant sale was held for the benefit of the Salvation Army. "If you cannot bake, bring fruit. If you cannot do anything else, bring a quarter." was their slogan.
In July of 1922, the Women's Institute donated the Lunch Booth erected on the Fair Grounds. They also sponsored the yearly clean-up program of the town and offered prizes for the nicest yard.
Perhaps for aggressiveness, enterprise and progress made, the Tofield Women's Institute ranks first among local organizations. From a small beginning they reached membership of nearly 50 by January, 1923. Their activities enterprised large numbers of people. (One of the best concerts, both in respect to attendance and talent, ever held in Tofield was presented by the Women's Institute at the Variety Theatre. With an attendance of 25O people. Mrs. Harold Hicks immensely pleased the audience with a Lancashire song and dance).
By 1924, the library had grown to nearly a thousand books. Tea was served every Saturday afternoon fr?m 2 to S o'clock and many tired mothers found the Institute Rooms a haven after shopping.
The list of officers for the year 1925 was as follows: President Mrs. M. McHaffey. lst vice - Mrs. Innes. 2nd vice - Mrs. Parkers. Secretary - Mrs.McKerrol. Assist. Sec. - Mrs. Baptist. Treasurer - Mrs. Doak. Press Agent - Mrs. Wright. Boards - Mrs. Hopgood. Librarian - Mrs. Parker. Assist. Librarian - Mrs. Allen. Directors - Mrs. Ward, Mrs. North, Mrs. Dodds. Auditors - Mrs. Baptist, and Mrs. Swift.
One especially enjoyable meeting in 1923 which provided a huge success,was held in the home of Mrs.J.B. Warner but as the Warner children had the chicken pox it could not be held in the house, so all moved down to the banks of the creek for a very enjoyable afternoon.
The Women's Institute financial report of 1920 reads Total Receipts $1199.04 from which donations were made to 'Alton House for Girls,' Pencil Sharpeners for the School,' 'Fair Building,' 'Children's Playgrounds' 'Social Service League,' and 'The Xmas Box.'
At 15 cents for tea and 25 cents for membership, this shows what an energetic club they were. However, membership dwindled in the 1930's till the officers of the day, Mrs. Ward (president), Mrs. Pincott (secretary) and Mrs. Peter Lerbekmo (treasurer), felt they could not accept another term and the Women's Institute sadly closed its doors.
Mrs. John Thomson