In many ways, the modern history of the Southwest began with the start of the 76 Ranch, often known as the Old “76.” Its name hearkens back to the “76” brand of Tim Foley, who first kept the 4,500 head of cattle that grew to tens of thousands in the years to come. Its ownership ended up in the hands of Sir John Lister Kaye, with its land extending from Calgary, Alberta to Balgonie, Saskatchewan.
Following years of hardship, change, and settlement, the Old 76 saw its end in the 1920s. Its legacy lives with today’s local ranches and pasture land—and at Grasslands National Park.
Further reading on the 76 Ranch can also be found in The Grasslands: Ranch Stories from Grasslands National Park by Thelma Poirier, available for reading at Prairie Wind & Silver Sage and for purchase at the park visitor centre.
“Some Memories of The Old ‘76’”
Article from the September 1949 edition of the Canadian Cattlemen, called “Some Memories of The Old ‘76’” by Mrs. S. E. Warren:
‘”The Old 76″… the very name is suggestive of adventure. It echoes richly with that romance which always clings to what is definitely past. There are a few in the fast-thinning ranks of old timers who still remember it in all its greatness of thundering herds and vast open spaces.
Their voices still hold that note of warm respect and something of veneration when they speak of it. A few weeks I was talking to a man who as a lad lived in the Walsh district, and he spoke of the great herds of black cattle that often passed his homestead dwelling. These herds were so large that it often took hours for one herd to pass by.’
Reprinted with permission from the Canadian Cattlemen.
James Hunt and family photo collection
Photos supplied by James Hunt and family. James’ father, Albert (Ab) Hunt was born in 1902 and moved to the area in 1910 with his family. He stayed in the area until the early 1930s, during which time he worked on the 76 Ranch.