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WEBSTER-MacLEOD FARMSTEAD

Ohaton, Near

Other Names:
Leeb / Webster Homestead
Webster / MacLeod Farm
Webster / McLeod Homestead
Webster Farm
Webster Farmstead

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place


Heritage Value


Character-Defining Elements


Location



Street Address:
Community: Ohaton, Near
Boundaries: Portion of the northeast quarter of Section 24, Township 45, Range 19, West of the Fourth Meridian
Contributing Resources:

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
4
4
4
4
19
19
19
19
45
45
45
45
24
24
24
24
09
10
15
16

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
52.895227 -112.618546

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Registered Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2003/09/15

Historical Information

Built: 1905/01/01 To 1905/01/01
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s)
Historic Function(s): Food Supply : Farm or Ranch
Current Function(s):
Architect:
Builder:
Context: HISTORICAL CONTEXT

With the completion of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway in 1891, land along the rail line became immediately viable for agricultural settlement. In time, settlement spread out from the rail line, where vast acres of newly surveyed prairie land lay waiting to be cleared and broken for farming. With so much land thrown open for homesteading at once, group settlement became viable, whereby members of a particular ethnic or religious group, or other people who simply wished to make a new beginning in the northern prairies, could do so in the same vicinity. This was the case in 1894, when four Norwegian families from Minnesota settled in the Bardo district near present day Camrose. They were soon joined by other settlers from Norway as well as the northern mid-western United States, and, soon, the district took on a distinctively Norwegian and Lutheran flavour. Among the early migrants from Minnesota was Michael Leeb, who, at age 34, took out a homestead on the northeast quarter of Section 24, Township 45, West of the Fourth Meridian in May 1901. This was near Dried Meat Creek, 15 kilometres southeast of Camrose. Along with his wife and six children, Leeb soon proved up his property and obtained a patent for it in February 1905. In 1908, however, he sold his farm to William Webster of Ontario. Webster had come to the area the previous year to join friends who had already settled nearby at Bawlf. He was soon joined by his bride from Ontario, Annie, who later bore them a daughter, Mary.

For a while, the Websters lived in a log cabin which had been built by Leeb and is still standing. On Leeb's application to patent in 1905, it is described as 24x 32 feet and valued at 250 dollars. In about 1914, however, Webster contracted a Bawlf carpenter named Nels Quittem to build a two-storey log dwelling on his farm from a standard design devised by the T. Eaton Company, intended specifically for western homesteaders. In the years that followed, the farm no doubt prospered, being near Ohaton and a CPR branch line that was extended through the area in 1909. The Websters continued to occupy the house and farm the land until their daughter, Mary, moved out to join her new husband, Peter Macleod, in 1934. When William passed away in 1939, Peter and Mary Macleod took over the farm and moved into the Webster House. Annie lived there too until passing away in 1945. The house remains standing today, next to the original Leeb homestead house built shortly after 1901.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE

The historical significance of the Webster Houses lies in their association with the development of the farming district around Ohaton, southeast of Camrose, shortly after the turn of the last century. The original Leeb homestead house relates to the Norwegian beginnings of the district. The 1914 Webster House is also significant in that it represents a typical T. Eaton design that was adopted by many homesteaders on the Canadian prairies.

(Historical Interest Summary)




Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0847
Designation File: Des. 2069
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 18054
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 2069)
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