and (3) “Cowpunchers bustin’ broncs –
24th May, wasn’t it” (at left) – presumably some sort of rodeo show.
The town of Chaplin was a coal and water point
for the CPR, and never had a population of more than a few hundred.
A bridge – at that time the longest in the country – had been built over
Chaplin Lake the previous year.
There was obviously plenty to do, as Ed Pye reminisces
in 1936: “What a flood of memories flashed back over the years ; 1912
by CLLP to “?1913”] at Chaplin – fixing a cultivator – The little old
Scotsman who flunked his job and frequently was under the 'influence' –
The Mountie coming down to my abode for my attempted murder of a Galecian
[sic]. Do you remember the two Cookees (real wise birds) who pushed
a wheelbarrow load of flour over to the General Store and returned with
new overalls ; mitts and boots ? The alkali lake to the south – Our swimming
expedition to Valjean when we rode down the track per handcar and got eaten
to death by mosquitoes and ran along in our bear pelts donning our shirts
as we ran.” And further in another letter, written in 1939:
you recall getting brew by the pailfull at Chaplin?”
Then there is a series of three photographs,
all of which must have been taken more or less contemporaneously, and which
may also relate to this period. In the first (at left), possibly
a studio portrait, although there does not appear to be a studio mark,
Leslie is seated on a high stool, with a young man standing next to him;
both are dressed in suits. The second shows Leslie with the same
young man, although they are standing outside in a wood, shaking hands
(above). The third was obviously taken on the same occasion and location
as the second, but Leslie is alone and seated on a boulder, with hat on
and pipe in his mouth (at right). In Ed Pye's 1936 letter to CLLP,
he also says:
'I forget the name of your erstwhile
"sidekick" who homesteaded at Piapot (or was it Maple Creek ?).'
Perhaps the gentleman in the photos above was
Leslie's "sidekick", but if so, what was his name?
In February 1914, when his grandmother died in
England, Leslie was living at Swift Current, Saskatchewan. This was
another CPR bridge and water depot, although in 1914 it started to grow
into one of the first of the province’s cities. It's a pity that
Leslie never annotated the CPR company map, dated 1st January 1911, that
he brought back with him from Canada, but it shows the railroads between
Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton in some detail (above). This must have been
his and Ed Pye's "old stamping ground" - Chaplin, Maple Creek, Piapot and
Swift Current are all shown, being stations on the line between Regina,
Saskatchewan, and Calgary, Alberta. CBP reports: "I remember his
speaking of Swift Current and Medicine Hat in the C.P.R. context"
At left is a hand-tinted photographic postcard
(Courtesy & Copyright of the Provinicial Archives of Manitoba) of the
CPR Railway Station in Winnipeg c. 1909, showing more or less how it must
have looked when CLLP arrived there in 1914.
Leslie probably moved back east to Winnipeg,
in the adjacent province of Manitoba, soon after February 1914. In
a notebook used at around that time he showed his address as 36c Broadway,
Winnipeg, located not far from Timothy Eaton's Department Store at 320
Portage Avenue, where he worked as grocer's clerk until his enlistment
in November 1914.
The last four images shown are also courtesy
and Copyright of the Provincial
Archives of Manitoba. Broadway West, circa 1910, is shown
at top left. The then fairly new department store built by Timothy
Eaton on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg is shown at top right c. 1910, and
in a more general view looking down Portage Avenue (above left).
Above right is what must have been a fairly typical daily sight for Leslie,
the arrival of goods ready for off-loading at the rear of the Eaton's building,
also c. 1910.