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conveyancer for 10 years in Vancouver, B.C. before he came back east as far as Regina, Saskatchewan where he became a Weights and Measures Inspector!
Mr. Eadie recorded his personal knowledge of transportation in pioneer days which will be best told in his own words. Quote -
"The Red River ox-cart, the shaganappy pony, and the flat bottomed river boat with large rear paddle wheel were the only means of transportation in Western Canada prior to 1880. The old ox-cart train carried provisions and merchandise to the prairie pioneers up to 1882 when the C.P.R. reached a few towns in Manitoba, but the use of the ox and cart was about finished in 1885 on the completion of the C.P.R.
In the year 1880 there was one long ox-cart trail from Winnipeg through Manitoba and Saskatchewan which was about one thousand miles by ox-cart trail.
I am speaking from actual personal experience, as I have ridden many days in the old ox-cart, which had a railing around the top to keep you and the contents from falling overboard.
Ox-cart trains would be made up at Winnipeg of from fifty to one hundred and fifty oxen and carts - some train! One half-breed would drive and look after some five oxen and carts. This would mean some fifteen to twenty half-breeds and a manager on a shag anappy pony directing the ox-cart train. Companies were formed at Winnipeg to finance these transport trains. The supplies these ox-carts would carry included flour, salt pork, oatmeal, hard-tack, sugar, treacle, tea, coffee, tobacco, whiskey, pain-killer, blankets, overalls, etc., and came from Chicago and St. Paul to Winnipeg by ox-cart and river boats. There was no such thing as canned goods in those days, but there was some sacks of old, dried apples. There were no white collars, broadcloth shirts or silk hats in these shipments. The trasnportation charges would likely be about $5 per hundred for about 1000 miles.
These ox-cart trains would average about 20 miles per day, which would mean about two months travel from Winnipeg to Ed monton, and two months to return. This meant one round trip during the summer months. On the return trip they brought back dried pemmican and furs from the Hudson's Bay posts. The half-breed drivers had to walk half way; no place for him to ride.