Immigrating to Canada & Homesteading in Saskatchewan

160 Acres for $10

Bill Irvine was born April 4, 1892 in Crumlin County, Antrim, Ireland.  He left when he was 19 years old, landing at Halifax, Nova Scotia on April 21, 1911.  He proceeded to Duval, Saskatchewan and worked a year at Strasbourg.  He came from Ireland with a family named John McClughan* who lived near Duval.

Irvine Farm Yard - Saskatchewan

Irvine Farm - Saskatchewan, 1950s?

Bill travelled to Nokomis, Saskatchewan, to file on a 1/4 section (160 acres for $10) SW 1/4 15-30-28 W2 which is situated 20 miles southwest of Young in the McCranny municipality.  After three years of proving the land and building a shack, he and Mr. Ron Ronning, Sr. travelled to Humboldt to register the homestead.  Ron Ronning signed as a witness.  Bill’s shack was on the hill at the northwest corner of his homestead.  This was a very windy spot.  Sometime between 1915 and 1926, he used that shack for a granary and built a three room house on the southeast corner.  He planted a shelterbelt of trees.

[*Skip forward a couple of generations – John McClughan’s grandson married Bill Irvine’s granddaughter Ellen Kerr of Nokomis, not knowing of the past friendship until a short time before their wedding].

Source- writings of Isabel Irvine, wife of Bill Irvine.

William John Irvine – 60 Years of Diaries

What prompts a person to write in a diary for sixty years?

According to Wikipedi,

“A diary is a record (originally in written book format) with discreet entries arranged by date reporting on what has happened over the course of a day or other period.”

The word “journal” may be sometimes used for “diary,” but generally one writes daily in a diary, whereas journal-writing can be less frequent.

My grandfather did both.  For sixty years my grandfather William John Irvine documented his life as a young Irish immigrant and homesteader to Canada.

Why did he do this?  Perhaps he was lonely.  Perhaps he wanted a record to share with the folks back home.  For whatever reason he decided to faithfully record his life for so many years, his family is eternally grateful.

My name is Joan Miller and I am the eldest granddaughter of William John Irvine.   I’m one of two genealogists in this branch of our family.  The other one is my Uncle Bob, the eldest son of William Irvine. Bob has transcribed much of these diaries over the years.

On these pages we intend to share with you Grandpa Irvine’s remarkable story from his 60 years of diaries.