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James McDowell Hastings

Male 1862 - 1955  (92 years)

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  • Name James McDowell Hastings 
    Born 20 Sep 1862  Lemonville, Whitchurch Township, York County, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 11 Jan 1955  Regina General Hospital, Regina, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 14 Jan 1955  Regina Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I05321  All
    Last Modified 21 Mar 2009 

    Father Adam Hastings,   b. 17 Nov 1827, near Belfast, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 May 1910, Rouleau, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years) 
    Mother Alice McDowell,   b. 12 Jan 1844, Upper Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Dec 1928, Regina, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years) 
    Married 10 Apr 1860  Dundalk, Grey County, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Adam Hastings was raised on his father’s homestead in Whitchurch Township. His meagre education would have been in the village school at Lemonville, and would have comprised reading, writing and arithmetic. He followed his father as a yeoman or farmer and remained with the father until the latter’s death. While he had purchased the homestead (west half of Lot 12, Concession 6) in 1851 and 1854, his father bequeathed it to him in his will. In addition Adam purchased the west half of Lot 15, Concession 6 November 22, 1854 from John Stickley.

      It is said his marriage was “arranged” by his twin sister Mary Anne who married John McDowell of Dundalk. The bride to be was Jane McDowell, John’s sister; however, on meeting Adam, she declined the offer. Adam, not to be deterred and, in view of the long expensive trip from Lemonville to Dundalk, simply turned his affection to her younger sister Alice who consented. The marriage would last 50 years and be blessed with 15 offspring. The young bride was never accepted by his mother, which led to unhappy times since the home had to be shared. The mother regarded the bride as a “mere child”.

      He sold his land holdings in 1870 and became a merchant operating a general store in the village of Lemonville. He was postmaster of Lemonville from 1870 to 1873. The “Old Lemonville Store” still stands as a private residence on the 6th Concession, Whitchurch Township.

      He turned his efforts to lumbering in 1874 in Laxton Township, Victoria County at Elliott’s Falls on the Ghost River two miles north of Norland. By crown grant he acquired 21 acres on the west side of the Ghost River and 102 acres on the east side and established a sawmill and shingle mill, both power operated by the falls. The sawmill represented an investment of over $4,000, a considerable amount at this date. In November 1886, he retired to Norland and rented the mills to Jos. McLaughlin. The Victoria Recorder dutifully reported: “Mr. Hastings is to become a citizen of Norland. Happy to have Mr. Hastings and family amongst us”.

      While residing in Elliott’s Falls and Norland he played an active part in local and public affairs. In 1874 he was elected councillor, Laxton Township Council. The same year the swamps were corduroyed on the tenth line north of the Cameron Road with Adam Hastings in charge of the work. He assisted in establishing S.S. No. 2 Beech Lake School which his children attended. In 1880 he contested the government’s right to lengthen a timber slide on the west side of the river and forced construction on the east side. On October 10, 1876 we won first prize for “sawn shingles” in the manufacturer’s section, Laxton and Digby Fall Show. Town records indicate Adam Hastings supplied 100 4x12 13R. maple planks for deck on bridge at Norland for $36 or $7/m.

      He believed in total abstinence from alcohol. It is interesting to note that he, Charlie, James, Jennie and Samuel were all members of Crystal Fountain Lodge No. 215, British American Order of Good Templars, a fraternal order advocating temperance. It held regular meetings with regalia at which spelling matches, debates, religion and prayer were the order. A true Ulsterman, he was a member of the Loyal Orange Lodge, playing dues of .10 cents per month. A devout Methodist, Sunday evenings were occupied with the traditional family hymn-sing around the organ.

      A strict disciplinarian, he was at the same time a kind, considerate father and husband, but he did demand instant obedience and respect. He was always respectfully referred to as “father” by family members. From his wedding picture of 1860 one is immediately impressed by his most notable feature; his determined cold eyes – slightly crossed. Combined with his height, moustache which droops downward and goatee, he seems to portray a pragmatic man not easy to know nor easy to cross.

      In September 1888 a fire roared out of control north of Norland resulting in the complete destruction of the mill, leaving the family without income. It was quickly decided that the West offered the best prospect with available land “for the boys”. On October 1, 1888 he bid farewell to the family and departed for the great North West to seek the fortune that awaited all who would face the ordeal of homesteading on the prairies. He would send for the family when he was established.

      He would have taken the narrow-gauge Toronto & Nippissing Railway for the 87 mile – 10 hour trip to Toronto from Coboconk. In Toronto he transferred to the C.P.R.’s “Pacific Limited” for the three day journey to Troy. On the trip westward he joined other eager settlers making their way to the “promised land” all crowded into the famous colonial cars with their uncomfortable wooden seats and wooden berths. Designed specially by CPR president Van Horne, these cars would transport thousands to the North West along with their meagre belongings.

      The mill was never reconstructed. The land was abandoned and seized for non tax payment in 1899 by the county. A power plant was later constructed at the Falls but is now abandoned. Today, there is a provincial government campground on the 20 acre site which offers a place to rest beside the river and Falls for highway travellers.

      In 1888 the prairies of Western Canada were known as a great lone land. Alberta and Saskatchewan had not been established and settlers were slowly commencing to move westward from the newly organized province of Manitoba. The Canadian Pacific Railway had been completed in 1885. It triggered the greatest wheat rush ever known. Land, land without end, to be had for the asking – rich land that would grow forty bushels to the acre. The Adam Hastings family would be one of those families that flooded the prairies from Eastern Canada, the U.S.A. and Europe.

      Adam Hastings arrived in Troy (Qu’Appelle) in October 1888 to be met by his nephew George Senze Davidson who owned and operated the Queens Hotel. He would stay with him while searching for a homestead. He walked the Regina plains but was unimpressed by the area, flat as a table with its rich black earth, because he observed “it took one extra ox to pull a plow”. Fourteen years later he would realize his error and eagerly accept homesteads on the plain.

      He filed an application for homestead on NE 24-18-12-W2 on October 11, 1888 and immediately sent for his son Samuel Thomas to join him. During the winter of 1888-89 they constructed a house on the land. On May 9, 1889 he wrote: “My dear alice spring has finally arrived in the North West, the crocuses are in bloom the house is __ so please make haste Sam and i are fine love Adam” (sic). “Make haste” she did for on June 9, 1889 the family left Norland to join him.

      The homestead was located in the Rose Valley district about seven miles north east of Indian Head just above the Qu’Appelle Valley. A small coulee and creek cross the land so he maintained the objective of always seeking land with water.

      Rose Valley was described by the Winnipeg Free Press on October 25, 1901 as being “one of the best in the Territories for farming purposes” and listed Adam Hastings as “following that pursuit in the region”.

      Adam Hastings established Rose Valley Protestant Public School No. 191 on an acre of his land for the benefit of his children and in 1901 his son Hugh A. Hastings is recorded as being secretary.

      He and the family proved the homestead by construction of a 12’ x 18’ house with a 14’ x 18’ kitchen valued at $400, along with a pole straw stable and a log granary. He cleared over 50 acres. In 1892 he owned four cows and three horses. On February 27, 1892 Patent was issued. The land was sold and transferred to William John Orchard on March 21, 1902 in consideration of $2,000.

      Early in 1902 with some interesting help from his friend William J. Bulyea, Liberal member of the N.W.T. Legislative Council, Adam Hastings was successful in obtaining five homesteads on the Regina Plains for his five sons: Samuel Thomas, Adam Luther, Clarence Beverly, Hugh Alexander and Robert William Gordon.

      The family moved to the homesteads located north of the town of Rouleau in April, 1902 and established the family home on the NE 20-15-21-W2, being the homestead of Adam Luther who was otherwise occupied as a grain buyer at Balgonie.

      Politically, Adam Hastings was a Liberal; of this there is not the slightest doubt. As a young man he was nurtured in the Clear Grit Methodist tradition of Ontario. A reform movement advocating simple, responsible government and fervently opposed to political or religious privilege. In the North West he revered Sir Wilfrid Laurier with the chieftain’s picture occupying a place of honour in the living room.

      He and his sons were “Clifford Sifton Men” and later “Jimmy Gardiner Men” and were organizers for both. So strongly did he inculcate his political Liberal beliefs in his children that every son, many grandsons and grandchildren actively organized and supported the part in Western Canada.

      Clarence, his son, travelled by horse and buggy throughout South Saskatchewan in 1905 spreading the message. Clarence would summarily discharge a deputy returning officer who was doubtful about his wife’s vote with the comment “any man who cannot control his wife’s vote is unqualified to be a DRO”.

      In 1935 his daughter, Mary Ann, in congratulating her nephew, Gordon Hastings, on his marriage “hoped his bride was a Liberal and not Roman Catholic”. His son, Adam, would “deliver” a Liberal nomination to James G. Gardiner in Cupar, Saskatchewan in 1912 and his youngest son, Hugh, in his retiring years would faithfully and regularly canvass Regina city on behalf of the party.

      His granddaughter, Marjorie Pearl Hastings Guy was secretary of the Saskatchewan Liberal Association and served as executive assistant to the part leader and late premier, W. Ross Thatcher.

      Adam and Alice Hastings celebrated their golden wedding anniversary April 10, 1910. The family presented father with a gold-headed walking cane from Ireland on the occasion.

      He executed his last will and testament on April 23, 1910 in which he bequeathed his personal estate to his beloved wife of 50 years.

      Adam Hastings died at Rouleau, Saskatchewan May 9, 1910. His funeral was held in the family residence with five sons and son-in-law Thomas Matchett acting as pallbearers. Because of his build – 6’4”, 250 lbs. – an oversized coffin had to be used which would not go through the doorway. The bay windows had to be removed from the house to permit the coffin to be taken in and out. The undertaker attempted to collect interest on the price of the coffin. He had specially ordered it three years in advance of Adam’s death. The interest was not paid.

      On his demise, his wife Alice moved to Sintaluta to live with her daughter, Mary Ann, who was employed as an accountant by her older brother James McDowell Hastings. Mother and daughter later moved to Regina and resided at 2130 Broad Street, 2277 Hamilton Street and 19 Crescent Annex Apartments.

      Alice McDowell Hastings died December 25, 1928 at Regina and was buried December 27, 1928 beside her husband Adam and their son Robert Andrew Gordon in the Rouleau Cemetery.
    Family ID F1159  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mary Jane Sherrick,   b. 12 Oct 1872, Collingwood, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Nov 1959, Wolseley, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Married 14 Apr 1895  Winnipeg, Manitoba Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Charles Clifford Hastings,   b. 19 Aug 1896, Indian Head, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Mar 1960, Toronto, York County, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 63 years)
     2. Noreine Hastings,   b. 19 Dec 1897, Indian Head, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 May 1903, Indian Head, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 5 years)
     3. James Gormley Hastings,   b. 12 Dec 1899, Indian Head, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Dec 1910, Sintaluta, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 10 years)
     4. Robert Meridith Hastings,   b. 7 Oct 1901, Indian Head, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 May 1903, Indian Head, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 1 years)
     5. William Hastings,   b. 9 Oct 1903, Indian Head, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Jun 1947, Port Alberni, British Columbia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 43 years)
     6. George Hastings,   b. 7 Jan 1906, Sintaluta, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Jun 1934, Sec. 20-21-19-W2 (Fairy Hill), Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 28 years)
     7. Marion Alice Sherrick Hastings,   b. 6 Mar 1908, Indian Head, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location
     8. Margaret Elizabeth Hastings,   b. 29 Dec 1909, Sintaluta, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location
     9. Howard Hastings,   b. 21 Oct 1911, Sintaluta, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1990  (Age 78 years)
     10. Helen Jean Hastings,   b. 21 Sep 1913, Indian Head, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Aug 1960, Vancouver, British Columbia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 46 years)
     11. Hazel Frances Hastings,   b. 5 Oct 1915, Indian Head, Saskatchewan Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Oct 1993  (Age 78 years)
    Last Modified 29 Feb 2008 
    Family ID F1271  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 20 Sep 1862 - Lemonville, Whitchurch Township, York County, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 14 Apr 1895 - Winnipeg, Manitoba Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Homestead Locations of Adam Hastings and James McDowell Hastings
    Homestead Locations of Adam Hastings and James McDowell Hastings
    Adam Hastings NE34-18-12-W2
    James McDowell Hastings NE32-18-11-W2
    Indian Head, Assiniboia East, The Territories, Canada
    Store in Indian Head, Saskatchewan
    Store in Indian Head, Saskatchewan
    5. L to R: B. Frethenberg, Adam Hastings (1874-1921), Mary Anne Hastings (1869-1946), Mary Jane Hastings 1872-1959), James McDowell Hastings (1862-1955), A. Collins
    Two Children: Alice Knowlson Matchett (1896-1990) (left) and Charles Clifford Hastings (1896-1960.
    Taken in front of the Indian Head (at that time NWT) store operated by James McDowell Hastings circa 1899.

    Death record of James McDowell Hastings
    Death record of James McDowell Hastings

    HASTINGS, James M. and Mary J.
    HASTINGS, James M. and Mary J.

    Obituary of James McDowell Hastings
    Obituary of James McDowell Hastings

  • Notes 
    • From the research of Earl Hastings:

      In Whitchurch Township, Ontario the story is still told of the proprietor of the Old Lemonville Store whose son fell in the molasses’ barrel as he attempted to sneak molasses in a spoon. The storekeeper hauled his son from the barrel and promptly hanged him from a meat rack with the comment: “Hang there you young ‘spalpeen’ till you dry”. The storekeeper was Adam Hastings and the son was James McDowell Hastings.

      James Hastings was raised at Lemonville and Norland, Ontario. In 1880 in order to escape the authority of his father he ventured forth to Toronto to work on the docks.

      In 1882 and 1883 he was part of that legion of over 3,000 men, who together with over 4,000 horses, scrapers and related material and equipment completed the prairie line of the C.P.R. to Calgary. In 1884 and 1885 he worked for Mackenzie Mann Ltd. on bridge construction contract in the Kicking Horse Rogers Pass. During a labour strike and anticipated violence at the town of Beavermouth, he was bodyguard for William Mackenzie.

      On November 7, 1885 James Hastings was at Craigellachie for that solemn ritual when Donald A. Smith drove “the last spike” joining the nation of Canada with a railway from sea to sea. Nine days later Louis Riel would keep his rendezvous with the hangman at Regina.

      At this time it is said: “Jim Hastings could lift 605 lbs. Above his head, he was 6’1” tall with a 53” chest”.

      He returned to Norland and in 1886 purchased a sawmill. The Victoria Recorder tells us that on January 7, 1887 “James Hastings is driving the saw in the Norland Mill now. You bet he makes it rip” and again in 1888: “The Hastings Bros. Are doing a rushing business in their mills”. However, by June of 1889 we learn “The merchants look quite blue at present. Times are rather dull. The mills are at a standstill” which may have been the reason James Hastings left Norland to join the Toronto Police Force on April 16, 1889. He served for less than a year and thereafter joined the family in the North West near Indian Head.

      He obtained a homestead entry to the NE32-18-11-W2 on February 20, 1891. The homestead was proven and Patent granted August 23, 1894. The land was transferred to his brother Samuel Thomas Hastings on November 10, 1894 in consideration of $1,200.

      In the years 1894 to 1904 he became a leading businessman of Indian Head with a flour and feed store, a confectionery and bakery with “wholesale and retail fruits and refreshments served at all hours”. He was a grain buyer and with T.H. Metcalfe of Winnipeg operated without the interference of regulation or supervision in a free and unfettered enterprise. There is a picture of six distinguished gentlemen, including James Hastings, taken about 1899, being the grain buyers of Indian Head.

      In 1899, during the Klondike gold rush, he accomplished the incredible (yet immensely profitable) feat of transporting three carloads of cattle from Indian Head to Dawson City in the Yukon. The cattle were shipped by rail to Vancouver, thence by steamer to Skagway, driven over the formidable Chilkoot Pass to the Yukon Valley. Finally, river rafts were constructed for movement down the Yukon River to Dawson where an acute shortage of beef meant an exorbitant high price for the animals.

      The following year under a contract from the Government of Canada, he repeated the feat with a cattle shipment to be used as beef for a crew in the Yukon erecting a telegraph line from Edmonton to Paris. His nephew, Gordon Hastings, clearly recalled in 1984 being told earlier by James Hastings of the cattle being shipped to Vancouver where hay was baled with compressed air into bales of 1 cu. f. for the voyage to Skagway. Delayed in Skagway, he took a contract from the American Government to excavate a basement for a post office using the cattle as power. The cattle were subsequently driven over the Pass 4 to 8 miles a day depending on grass and water availability. The Public Accounts of Canada 1899-1900 indicate a payment to James McDowell Hastings of $5,592.17 “on account of meat and cattle delivered” to Atlin, B.C. via the Stikine River and Teslin Lake.

      It would appear he prospered at Indian Head and that he sold his interests in 1904, moving to Sintaluta where he again established a general store and grain elevator for the Farmers Elevator and Milling Co. He was postmaster from 1909 to 1911 and a village councillor. A member of the A.F. & A.M. he initiated W.J. Patterson into the Order at the Wolsely Lodge – Patterson would later become Liberal Premier of Saskatchewan. In addition he had extensive farming operations and bred running race horses that participated in Saskatchewan race meets.

      In 1919 he purchased 480 acres in the Fairy Hill district. The farm would become known to the family as “the ranch” and was situated in the Qu’Appelle Valley about 21 miles north of Regina.

      Unfortunately, he had invested heavily in the Home Bank and when that institution went bankrupt in 1923, he suffered a disastrous financial loss. He tried to recover in 1928 by stocking the ranch with 300 head of registered Aberdeen Angus cattle only to have the total herd destroyed with an outbreak of tuberculosis. The depression followed, and he was never again to regain his losses or know the fiscal success he had enjoyed at Indian Head.

      In 1942 he quit-claimed the ranch to the mortgage company and retired to Regina where he lived until 1944 when he moved to Port Alberni, B.C. In 1952, after a short stay at Moose Jaw, he returned to Regina where he resided until his death.

      James McDowell Hastings and his wife Mary Jane Sherrick Hastings are both interred in Riverside Memorial Cemetery, Regina, Saskatchewan.

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