Maple Creek News
These days, most of us have trouble making something last an entire calendar year, as we fall further into a disposable society. So it’s of particular note when we learn of anything that witnesses December flip to January for a 100th time.
That’s just the case for Melvin and Laurie Moorhead, who recently received the Century Farm/Ranch Award for the Furgeson family homestead about 12 miles east of Maple Creek. The award is given when a property has been with one family for 100 years.
“It was my grandfather’s homestead,” says Melvin, whose mother was the third of eight children. “He came here from North Dakota in 1910, and raised his family on (the land).”
Melvin says grandpa Furgeson, who built the home after he arrived in the area, was the regional veterinarian, and he would travel around the province’s southwest taking care of local animals. Melvin still has some of his grandfather’s equipment from those days.
Melvin laughs as he talks about how the homestead came to be as it stands today. With a large family building fast, his grandfather had to build onto the house just as quickly, using wood leftover from a big red barn to add a lean-to whenever a new child would arrive.
Funnier still was that he gave up the effort after the fourth room was added, leaving the family and its eight children dealing with quite a shortage for space.
When his grandfather passed on, Melvin decided to buy the land, and has owned it ever since. He and Laurie do not live there however, and the homestead is currently vacant.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a big sense of pride for the land, which Melvin already showed when he bought it, and that only grows with the recognition of reaching the century mark.
“We’re really proud that it’s still in the family,” he says.
Holding onto things is clearly a theme with Melvin’s entire family tree, as they also still have a homestead from another side of the family which is even older than the Furgeson home, and Melvin and Laurie’s son lives at that one.
“We are up to the sixth generation on that place,” Melvin says.
As for the newly honoured Furgeson home, Melvin hopes it remains in his family once he can no longer own it.
“Oh I hope so,” he says. “As long as somebody (in the family) wants it — you know how that goes.”
If they have some of the pride Melvin does, there’s no doubt it will remain where it belongs.
NEWS PHOTO DOMINIQUE LIBOIRON
Laurie and Melvin Moorhead received an award for their ranch being in their family for a century. The recognition was given during Maple Creek’s Heritage Festival July 22. Also pictured are David Anderson (left), the MP for Cypress Hills-Grasslands, and town councillor Kevin Rittinger (right).