Chapter Twelve: Early Families of Tofield K-L

Charles Joseph Kallal p.268
Edward Robert Kallal p.272
Letourneau p.275
Logan p. 278

Chapter Eleven: Here and There
Chapter Twelve: Early Families “M”
Table of Contents


The committee responsible for the compilation of this book felt that for practical reasons the accounts of pioneer families should be limited to those families who were in this area by 1910. After this date, a large influx of immigrants entered the Tofield district; the pioneer era was over.

Members of the pioneer families were asked to submit their family histories. If direct contact was impossible friends of the family were consulted.

Since the excellent history of the Bardo district, “Pioneers of Bardo, Alberta” by Ragna Steen and Magda Hendriksen contains biographies of the families in that district, no attempt has been made to duplicate this material. We are well aware, however, of the invaluable contribution made to Tofield area by the Bardo pioneers.
Those submitting biographies were encouraged to record family legends and experiences as well as the relevant statistics and dates. While this anecdotal approach has enlarged the book, thereby increasing its cost, we feel that the spirit of the pioneer era has been accurately presented for future generations.

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The Charles Joseph Kallal Family

The material for the following article was supplied by Margaret Kallal Dickson.

Charles Joseph Kallal was born on May 25, 1884, to Joseph and Mary Jilek-Kallal, one of eleven children. His parents, prominent in the farming and livestock industries, lived in Jersey County, Illinois, where they owned hundreds of acres, raising large numbers of cattle for the Chicago market.

Pg. 269

Charles Kallall’s early education was obtained in a country school and a business school in St. Louis, Missouri. A good student, he was fluent in three languages. He travelled extensively in Mexico and U.S.A.
An older brother, Edward, who had emigrated to Tofield, Alberta, invited Charles to visit him and in 1910 Charles arrived in Tofield; in 1911 he joined his brother in a real-estate business in pioneer Tofield. The brothers also opened a pool hall. Charles soon became a Canadian citizen.

Shortly, he sent for his bride-to-be, Frances Loretta Hanson from Carrollton, Illinois, who packed her trousseau and ventured forth to Canada to be married. Frances had been born in Green County, Illinois on March 16,1890; she was educated in High Street School. She early learned to drive a Model T Ford owned by Mr. Knight, for whose family she worked. This was before women drivers were common and Frances generated much excitement rolling along dusty country roads on her errands.

Frances met her husband-to-be through one of his cousins; this meeting led to the marriage of Frances Hanson and Charles Kallal on April 15, 1915 in St. Joachim’s Catholic Church in Edmonton with Frances attired in traditional bridal finery.

To this union, six sons and three daughters were born. Charles Jr., for many years a Tofield business man, with his wife, Nan, and their four children, James, Linda, Jerry and Vernon, now reside in Edmonton. Joseph with his wife Genevieve and children David, Anne, Bruce Michael, Mary and Evelyn live at Thorhild where Joe feeds commercial cattle. Prior to ranching, Joe worked for twelve years for the Alberta Government, promoting the cattle industry. Paul, his wife Esther and their children Patrick, Edward, Ronald, Theresa and Catherine live northwest of Tofield. He too is a cattle rancher, taking prizes at the Spring Show in Edmonton, though holding a teaching certificate and the Military Medal for gallantry in action in World War II.

Pg. 270

Kenneth, still a bachelor, is the welder and mechanic of the family. He ranches with the youngest brother Lawrence, assisting in the raising of pure-bred Herefords. Constance (Hatherton) a graduate of McTavish Business College and an X-Ray technician from the St. Joseph’s Hospital, Toronto, School of Radiography lives with her husband and son Donald in Vancouver. Margaret (Dickson) widowed in 1965 lives in Tofield with her children Robert, Ruth, Rita, and Allan. Margaret was a Sgt. with the C.W.A.C. and is a registered nurse, now employed at the Tofield Hospital. Anthony (Tony) and his wife Jacqueline live in Edmonton with their children Denise, Lawrence, Albert, Bernard, Lorena, Susan and Rosanne. Tony has degrees in Engineering and in Pharmacy. Dorothy (Shewchuk), her husband Louis, and their children Daniel, Louise, Rosemary, Betsy-Anne, Michael, Stephen and Sandra live southwest of Tofield. Grain-growing and stock-raising are their occupation; Dorothy has artistic pursuits as well. Lawrence, his wife Theresa, and their daughters, Carol, Debra, and Margaret live on the original Kallal ranch where Lawrence raises purebred Herefords; he is the cattleman, also judge and showman of the establishment.

In 1917, Anthony (Tony) Kallal joined his brothers in Tofield; in the same year, he and Charlie bought property on the southeast edge of Beaverhill Lake known then as the Morton and Adams land. This holding was later expanded to include 2000 acres north of Shonts; it bordered on Beaverhill Lake and contained much of Amisk Creek — ideal ranching land.

In 1927, the partnership was dissolved; Charlie and his family moved to the site of the present Kallal Ranch; here Charlie both grain-farmed and raised cattle, at first commercial and then purebred. The cattle became of prime importance; between 200 and 300 head were fed each year and in the early ’30’s, a shipment of choice steers was sold to Scotland for 2 ¢ per pound.

While her menfolk were building up the ranch, Frances built up her reputation as a rancher’s wife, capturing many prizes at the Edmonton Exhibition for her culinary entries.

Pg. 271

In spite of the responsibilities belonging to a home and a large family, Frances found time to be a good neighbor to all and to participate in church and community affairs. She held office in the C. W. L. and the F. W. U. A.

In the 1940’s, the Kallal ranch turned from commercial to purebred cattle. In April 1945, Lawrence, then 11 years old, won the Prince of Wales Challenge shield with his baby beef calf which was also judged the best animal at the Edmonton Spring Stock Show. In 1950, C.J. Kallal showed cattle at the Toronto Royal; here too, a Kallal palomino was chosen to compete. This year, the C.J. Kallal family was given the Master Farm Family award which consists of a $1,000.00 cash award, an engraved plaque and a name plate for the farm entrance. The Tofield Community League tendered the Kallals’ a banquet in recognition of their achievement. Members of the Department of Agriculture, neighbors and friends all participated in honoring the Kallals.

In 1958 Charles was a guest of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on his return from the Toronto Royal. He was awarded the Canadian Hereford Breeders’ and the Canadian Hereford Exhibitors’ awards. Once again, the community of Tofield officials of the government, and the Livestock Breeders’ Association joined to express thanks to the Kallals for bringing to this district continent wide recognition. In 1961, the Alberta Livestock Breeders Association honored the Alberta winners at the Toronto Royal.

In 1962, the Kallal home was chosen to be one of the stops for the Nash Farm Tour of the United Kingdom. The members of the tour inspected the Kallal farm and enjoyed the hospitality of the C.J. Kallal family.

In 1963 and 1965, members of the Agricultural Department of the U.S.S.R. on a cattle-buying mission, purchased a number of the Kallal Herefords which were shipped to Russia to improve the herds of Russian Cattle.

Pg. 272

In November, 1962, Charles suffered a stroke while attending the Chicago Livestock Show. Charles Jr. and Margaret flew to Chicago to bring him back to Tofield. At this time he had retired from active farming: the Kallal Hereford Ranch was incorporated with sons Kenneth and Lawrence taking charge. In 1964 Charles and Frances retired to Tofield where, in 1965, they celebrated their Golden Wedding. Later in 1965, Charles Kallal died, his six sons carrying him to his final resting place.

Frances Kallal still resides in Tofield maintaining her interest in her family, and her church. Her daughter Margaret with whom she lives, says of her, “Very humble with a heart of gold – a real mother and a real friend.”

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The Edward Robert Kallal Family

The material for this article was supplied by Mrs. Malisa Nomeland,, step-daughter of Edward Kallal.
The third of eleven children, Edward Robert Kallal was born near Jerseyville, Illinois, to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Kallal, a Bohemian Catholic Family, on April 11, 1878. He learned to speak three languages: German, the language of the school where he obtained his early education; Bohemian, which was spoken in the home; English, the language of the school where his late education took place.

Until the age of 21, Edward helped his father and brothers on the farm. Then, given an option of $1,000 cash, or a farm as a gift, he chose the cash and travelled through the U.S.A. and Mexico. Canada attracted him; he arrived in Tofield in 1906 but shortly moved to Vegreville where he sold real estate. In 1907, he returned to Tofield, building the first pool hall and bowling alley. In 1908, his building was moved from the old town to the G. T. P. town site. Mule trains were used to move the building.

Edward, who was fond of animals, was given a black bear cub which he raised and trained. Kept in the Pool Hall, it was everyone’s pet as it danced or boxed with great gusto and was sadly missed when, after becoming old and cross, it had to be destroyed.

Pg. 273

Widowed Mrs. Jennie Harnish, born February 3,1884, came to Tofield with her small daughter Malisa, in 1909. Mrs. Harnish, born of Pennsylvania Dutch mother and an Irish father, had lived on a farm at Lacombe. On coming to Tofield, Jennie Harnish worked at the Queen’s Hotel. Here she met Ed Kallal; they were married in 1911.
Shortly after their marriage, the Kallals moved to Edmonton, where real estate again engaged Ed; later, a pool hall in Evansburg occupied him.

As well as Malisa, the Kallals had three other children; Edward Robert Jr. on April 5, 1912; Joseph Thomas on October 23, 1913; Mary, on December 29, 1916.
After returning to Tofield in 1917, Ed ran a pool hall till 1921 when he returned to farming. For two years, the Kallals farmed what is now the Bill Davison farm; in 1923 they farmed the present Art Francis farm, then known as the Ball place. In 1924, Ed bought 385 acres just south of Tofield; the family moved into a log house with a big kitchen addition on what was known as MacKenzie Hill. Here they remained till 1929.

From here, Malisa recalls, the Kallals ran the first milk delivery in Tofield. Malisa herself was the milkman, covering the route with the help of a democrat and a sway-back mare. Before delivery, of course, the hand-milking, the water-carrying for the cooling the milk, the bottling, all had to be done.

Malisa remembers her childhood pet – a pig called Jiggs. Jiggs, a “runt” was raised by Malisa and spoiled by the entire family to the point where he did not accept the fact that he was a pig. He had his own little house but in time grew so big that he could carry it on his back so Ed put him in with the other pigs. Jiggs squealed so loud and long that night that Ed went out to investigate early in the morning where upon he found Jiggs crouching in the corner of the pen terrified of the pigs! His aversion to others of his own kind was so great that, when the time came to ship him, Ed had to lead him on a leash to the shipping point. “Ed”, says Malisa, “almost had tears in his eyes when he left Jiggs to his fate.”

Pg. 274

An avid hunter, Ed delighted in the hunter’s paradise around Beaverhill Lake where the geese, ducks, and upland game were to be found in unbelievable quantities.
In 1929, when the family moved to the farm north of Tofield, Joe was old enough to assume much of the field work. A tractor eased the effort of farming 385 acres south of town and 640 acres north of town, but a hired man was necessary as Edward Jr. had a badly damaged heart, the result of rheumatic fever. Joe, the farmer, went to school only in the off-season of farming but managed to get his grades. At 17, he attended the Vermilion Agricultural College from which he graduated with honors and an award. He had also participated in all sports activities at the college.

In 1933, Joe and Helmer Moen won a trip to the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto (as members of the Tofield Beef Club Calf Team) where they won second place in the Dominion finals judging competition. In 1932, Joe concluded two years of Junior Swine Club work by
representing the Tofield club in the provincial finals. In 1933, he was runner-up in the grain-judging team representing Alberta at Regina. In 1933, Joe and Ed placed second and third respectively in the Junior wheat class at the Toronto Royal Winter Fair.

On July 29, 1933, the Edmonton Journal reported, “Ed Kallal Sr. helped put the Edmonton district to the fore at the world grain show in Regina. In the Hard Red Spring Wheat 10-bushel class, he won fifth prize ($300) and in the 50-pound sample class won sixteenth ($45).” Entering the Chicago World’s Grain Show in the 50-pound class, in 1933, Ed won fifth prize.

Pg. 275

This prize-winning wheat was grown on a hundred-acre field broken by Joe in 1931, seeded, cut and threshed 1932 yielding fifty bushels per acre. It was Reward wheat bought from Herman Trelli, who had developed it. The Kallal exhibit weighed 70 pounds to the bushel the average weight of championship wheat samples was 67 – 68 pounds per bushel.

Always interested in hog-raising, Ed. Sr. increased his herd in 1930 to 300 per year. The first in the district to raise purebred Yorkshires, he constantly improved his stock and from 1930-1933 won many prizes, including the Grand Champion Boar at the Edmonton Purebred Yorkshire Show.

In 1928., Ed. Sr. purchased a tiller for the control of weeds by cultivation. This, the first tiller north of Calgary, was of great interest in the community.

Ed. Sr. farmed till 1948.He enjoyed retirement until his death on November 16,1956. He is buried in St. Joachim’s Cemetery, Edmonton. Jennie Kallal died on January 4, 1968, having spent the last five years of her life in Tofield.

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J. O. Letourneau

The first mayor of Tofield was J.O. Letourneau. The following account is an account of his life in Tofield written by his daughter, Mrs. C.C. Spence of Edmonton. His other children were: Oliver Letourneau,, who was killed in a car accident October 22, 1939; John W., who died July 9, 1956 and Mrs. R.H. Woodford on the teaching staff of Baker Sanitorium, Calgary. Mrs. Spence wrote:
“Dad was born at Trois Rivieres (Three Rivers) Quebec on June 10,1860. His schooling gave him a third class certificate for teaching in French and English and he taught a few years in Quebec. Tiring of this he went to the States, ending up in Argyle, Minn. Here he clerked in a general store, was married and became a county sheriff.

Pg. 276

In 1892 he, his wife and son Oliver, came to the area that is now Tofield. They spent the first winter with a Mr. Lafond who had a log house and barn on the S.W. 1/4 6-51-18 and built a small log house, dipping into a small reserve of cash to put shingles on the roof. The “picture windows” one on each side and one in each gable were about 12″ x 18″. The chinks in the logs were filled with mud mixture. Interior decorating was taken care of by papering the walls with newspaper.

Bachelors and others leaning back on chairs often cracked this and children put grease and mud spots, so that a touching-up bee was often held and these spots and holes covered. Through the years this became somewhat thick and I suspect these thicknesses helped in the heating problem and also the bedbug problem. The homestead seemed to be on the highway from Edmonton and people often stayed overnight – especially when a larger barn was built that could take care of four teams. Women and children slept upstairs and men and boys downstairs, and often hardly enough room to turn over! Once in awhile these visitors had extra baggage they left behind, and in a few days we were being bitten – a search found these gruesome little bugs and as the beds were home made they had excellent places to hide. The bedding all went out in the sunshine and was turned and turned, bed-frames also went out and were scalded with hot water and lye and left in the sun. This didn’t hurt the “finish” on them but it did put in more cracks.

When dry they were dusted with bedbug powder, and so was everything else. The family must have eaten some, I’m sure, besides putting up with the peculiar smell- no wonder the bugs curled up! The next poor wayfarers were not very welcome and when weather permitted they were asked to sleep in the hayloft.

A well was dug that summer–lots of hard water and not too palatable but you grew accustomed to it — also a pole shed was built to hold two horses and a cow. The hay was placed over this and fenced, and before spring had been eaten by the “stock.” A small field was broken and this gave the family a few vegetables and oats for the second winter.


In the succeeding years more land was cleared, roots grubbed, and broken for crops. The first fields were enclosed by rail fences – very picturesque but not too good at keeping pigs, cows, or horses enclosed. There was always repair work to be done. Later when wire became available humans were the trouble for a while. People objected to prairie trails being fenced off and simply cut the wires, drove through the crop, cut the other side and did no repair work – you knew what had happened when you saw the stock in the crop.

Gradually stock was acquired, horses, cattle, pigs, chickens, geese, turkeys. Dad kept improving his horses and cattle, being very interested in Clydesdales and Shorthorns.

Marketing was quite a problem, Edmonton being the nearest town with no road to it and refrigeration only by nature. You carried an axe or two, a shovel and a load and allowed a day at least to rest the team and shop, and two days to return.

Cattle buyers came through and often bought cattle “delivered to Edmonton” and you were paid for the number delivered. If any got away, you lost. Pigs had to be butchered after freeze-up. Chickens, geese and turkeys were dressed. Butter was saved in crocks, eggs gathered, held and packed in oats and you hoped for the best. Goose oil was rendered., bottled and sold to the drug store. Wheat was taken in and traded for flour. Bachelors provided the only market as some of them bought butter, eggs and sometimes bread.

In the earlier years, there was plenty of pasture, and hay. Before haying season you “sneaked” out early and cut a swath around the dry slough or patch of prairie, and claimed it for you or caused a local dispute.
As settlers came in and fenced off their places, pasture and hay became harder to obtain and it was a case of getting more land or quitting the homestead. Dad talked of going to the Peace River area, but Mother vetoed that. She had pioneered enough.

Pg. 277

The G.T.P. was coming through and the town of Tofield was starting up. They sold the place and Dad started up a furniture store with Joseph Harper (Harper and Letourneau) where the Red and White now stands. Mother started up a millinery store where the former Crown Lumber was located. Sometime later they lost everything in a fire that cleaned nearly the whole block. They rebuilt the millinery store and Dad took over the Tofield buying station of the Edmonton City Dairy, east of the present Bank of Montreal.

He was a keen booster for Tofield and had high hopes for it when the town tried for gas. And when they lit the gas flare at the station they thought they had arrived. Water got in and they lost. Twenty years later his granddaughter sat in a class in Tofield High and heard the teacher say that Tofield had been sunk in debt by an error in judgment of the Mayor and Council of 1912.
Dad was very active in the Oddfellows and Masonic lodges. He passed away in April, 1922.

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Robert Logan

Robert Logan, born in Winnipeg in 1864, became one of the first settlers on the western shore of Beaverhill Lake. He came here in 1886, having worked, prior to that time, for the Hudson’s Bay Company in Edmonton from 1864 to 1874 in partnership with John Norris. In 1886, he sold his share of the business to his partner and came to Beaverhill Lake area where he became widely known as friend and neighbour as well as a storekeeper. As well as operating a trading post, Robert Logan farmed and kept stock.

At one time, he owned thirteen quarters of land which he later sold to G.A. Trent. Moving into Tofield he built two large stores and became a noteworthy pioneer merchant. Later, he retired in Edmonton where he lived until his death. He left to mourn his widow, three sons and three daughters.

Pg 279

His eldest son, John Robert, had been born in Winnipeg in 1874 and had come to Tofield with his parents in 1886. In January, 1897, John Robert Logan married Emma Rowland whose father was an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company from 1864-1875 during which time he worked as a special trader and interpreter. Rowland Road in Edmonton perpetuates the memory of William Rowland who had his home where Alex Taylor school was later built.

John Robert and his bride Emma, drove in a sleigh to the town of St. Paul on their honeymoon. Here John had a small store and a freighting business which operated between St. Paul and Edmonton.

To this marriage was born three girls and six boys. The eldest son, Robert, was killed in April, 1917 at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

In 1902 the John Logan family returned to the Tofield district settling on a farm in the Summer School district. Here the Logan home became a “stopping place” for the men hauling coal from the Tofield mine to Chipman and Mundare. Frank Saver who used to haul freight, passengers, and sometimes mail also made the Logan home his stopping place. All such travellers carried their bedrolls, consisting of a large warm feather tick, which they spread on the Logan floor for the night.

In 1924, the Logan family entertained an escaped prisoner from the Fort Saskatchewan Jail for a few days. They were quite unaware of their guest’s record until they discovered his prison suit hidden in nearby bushes. Somewhere between the Fort and Logan’s the escaped prisoner had raided a clothesline and then discarded the evidence of his incarceration.

John Logan worked on the railroad in company with William Hopgood during a period of 1920’s, as well as working at Lake Wabamun. After selling his farm at Tofield, he and his family moved to Camrose and later to Dinant.

Pg. 280

John Logan served on the school board of the MacKenzie School District. His family name was frequently used to designate the area north of town where he had lived. Old timers refer to the area between the Lakeshore and Summer School as “Logan”. This name was given in the early 1890’s to the first post-office north of Tofield.
John Logan died on November 25, 1942, and his wife Emma, followed him on January 22, 1945. One daughter of the pioneer Logan family, Mrs. Myrtle Nerland, still lives in the Tofield district.

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Chapter Eleven: Here and There
Chapter Twelve: Early Families “M”
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