Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Franklin County and Saskatchewan

A query from a resident of Nokomis, Saskatchewan led us to research the role that two Franklin County, NY companies and numerous local individuals played in the development of that town in Western Canada. 

Following the 1904 opening of the area to homesteading, the first settlers began to arrive in the area that would become Nokomis.  The Franklin Realty and Trading Co. was incorporated April 30, 1907, with brothers-in-law Aaron (A.C.) Allison of Malone and George Brush of Brushton as its principals.  Allison had previously been a railroad superintendent and partner in the Symonds & Allison confectionery business and now turned his attention to the real estate and land development business.  Beginning in 1907, Mr. Allison spent summers in Nokomis and winters in Malone for many years:

And George Brush appears to have moved to Nokomis entirely, although by 1917 he had sold his farm and returned to NY:

A November 6, 1907 article in the Malone Farmer highlighted the charms of Nokomis:

The article goes on to describe the geographic situation and development possibilities of the area, and refers to Mr. Allison as the "pioneer and king of Nokomis."  The hard-working settlers and entrepreneurs were lauded thus:
"The men who are making Nokomis seem to have confidence in the camp.  They believe that Nokomis is the coming town and her merchants will recognize it at once as a great distributing point, a sort of commercial center for the Last Mountain Valley and Quill Plains country."
and the boom is described:
"More than thirty buildings have been completed in ninety days, all fairly good-sized buildings up-to-date, and really remarkable for so new a town.   ... While the development has been remarkable at Nokomis during the past three months and will continue until winter sets in, the real push will probably not be in full swing until next spring, when both the Grand Trunk Pacific and the Canadian Pacific will have a regular through service from Winnipeg to Edmonton."
In 1909, A.C. Allison was already reporting success in his land development and farming operations:

From the start, Franklin Realty & Trust Co was hiring other North Country men to help manage its Nokomis interests, thus deepening the ties between NY and Saskatchewan:

A.C. Allison was not the only Franklin County son to try the bounty of Saskatchewan.  Herman Phelps of Brushton conducted a livery business in Nokomis beginning in 1907.  In 1912, the Carter Land Co., another Malone-area business, was incorporated in order to take advantage of the Nokomis boom:

More than a decade after its founding, the Franklin Realty & Trust Co. was still reporting success in Nokomis:

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