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Historic Reesor Ranch & Canada's 150th Birthday

1867 - 2017



Steeped in Canada's rich history with roots in Eastern Canada, Historic Reesor Ranch is pleased to celebrate Canada's 150th Anniversary of Confederation, along with millions of other Canadians.  We especially want to remember and honor our forefathers, Senator David Reesor and Honourable William McDougall, who were involved in this historic event in 1867.



Honourable Senator David Reesor was a  member of the Senate of Canada from 1867 to 1901.  He was born in Reesorville (later the Village of Markham), Upper Canada in 1823 to parents Abraham Reesor and Anna Dettwiler, descended from Pennsylvania Dutch Mennonite immigrants from Switzerland.   Reesor was editor of the Markham Economist. He was also a magistrate and notary public, Reeve of Markham and served as Warden for York and Peel counties. Though Reesor came from a pacifist Mennonite background, he became a lieutenant-colonel in the local militia. He was elected to the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada for King's division in 1860 and served until Confederation when he was named to the Senate. During the debates preceding Confederation, Reesor supported an elected Senate.  Senator Reesor Drive in Markham is named in his honor.

Father of Confederation Honourable William McDougall was born in 1822 near York, Upper Canada to Daniel McDougall and Hannah Matthews.   He was elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly in 1858 and served as Commissioner of Crown Lands and Provincial Secretary.  In 1863,  McDougall went to Washington D.C. to meet with President Abraham Lincoln in order to renegotiate the Reciprocity Treaty.  He accompanied Lincoln to Pennsylvania where Lincoln presented his famous Gettysburg Address.  In the 1950s, then US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, when addressing a joint session of the Parliament of Canada, recounted the tale of the friendship between McDougall and Lincoln as an example of the long history of friendship between Canada and the US.  McDougall is considered a father of Canadian Confederation as he attended all three Confederation conferences in Charlottetown, Quebec and London.  Once the country formed, he served as Minister of Public Works in the McDonald government.   McDougall was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory in 1869 - 1870.  He served as an Independent-Liberal from 1875 - 1878 for the electoral district of Simcoe South.




Original log home built in 1906.   The Reesors lived in this home for 10 years before building the present ranchhouse in 1916.


  New Reesor Ranchhouse built in 1916.  Original log home is partially encased in this home.


Reesor Ranchhouse today.  Five generations of the Reesor family have lived in this home.

Antique brass bed in WD & Alice Reesor Guest Bedroom


           Alice (Moffatt) and W.D. Reesor

On February 25, 1847, David Reesor, one of Canada's first Senators, married Emily McDougall, sister of William  McDougall, one of Canada's "Fathers of Confederation".   David and Emily had four daughters, Marion, Jessie, Annette and Nellie.  Then they had a son, William David, better known as WD. 

WD married Alice Moffatt, from Carleton Place Ontario, the second youngest  of eighteen children.  They met in Pilot Mound, Manitoba, and were married in 1883.  They moved back to Markham Ontario, and lived there raising their four sons, Bruce, Frank, Harry and Colby.  WD farmed and raised registered  Jersey cattle, but times were hard and there was no room to expand.   With  the future of their four sons to think of,  the west with its boundless horizons no doubt called again and in 1900 WD headed west to the Cypress Hills, Graburn, Assiniboia, NWT (renamed Saskatchewan in 1905) to manage the Markham Ranch Company.  Alice and the boys followed by train in 1902.

A bad spring storm in 1903 killed 350 cows, over half of the Company's cattle which in turn wiped out the Ranching Company enterprise financially, but  WD and Alice were determined to continue ranching for themselves and in 1904 they filed for a homestead claim on NW-22-8-30-W3, the present location of the ranch.  According to their homestead file, WD, Alice and their four sons "moved into a shanty April 1905 and began to build house at once, but only got painted and plastered - ready to move into December 1906."   This log home is partially encased in the large ranchhouse which stands here today.  In 2016 we celebrated the centennial of this original home's humble beginnings in 1906.

The present Arts & Craftstyle ranchhouse was built in 1916 and was one of the first in this area to have electricity and running water. WD and Alice hired a well known Building Contractor from Calgary, Alberta, A.B. Himmelman, to design and build it.  It was built for two families, themselves and one of their sons, Frank, and his wife, Hazel. 

Starting the construction of their new ranch home in 1916 was a dream come true and today the Reesor family proudly displays and shares the family's history with guests as they carry on with the 100 year family tradition of cattle ranching.

GUEST COMMENTS:  I admire the continuity, stability and love of the land represented by the enduring care for the house and the memories.  Cathy McClusky, Calgary, Alberta



Provincial Heritage Property Designation an Industry First for Saskatchewan Ranch

Released on September 18, 2017

Acknowledged for its historical integrity and association with the ranching experience in Saskatchewan, the Historic W.D. & Alice Reesor Ranch has been designated as the province’s 52nd Provincial Heritage Property.

“Our government is pleased to recognize the Historic W.D. & Alice Reesor Ranch as a Provincial Heritage Property,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Gene Makowsky said.  “This property tells the story of a family’s life on a Saskatchewan ranch for more than 100 years.  This story will help future generations to understand the historical significance of the ranching industry in our province.”

The designated portion of the cattle ranch, founded in 1904 and located south west of Maple Creek, includes the ranch house, several barns and sheds, and natural landscape elements.  The main buildings were erected between 1906 and 1916 and display original construction and functionality, as well as modifications made by the Reesor family to adjust to the evolving ranching industry and family life.

Today, the buildings operate as the headquarters of the Reesor’s family ranching operations and as an award-winning bed and breakfast business.  The family feels this designation is another milestone in celebrating the hard work and legacy of their parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

“We see it as an honour to the family, the Cypress Hills community and the province, being the first ranch in Saskatchewan to be designated,” current resident and operator of the ranch Theresa Reesor said.  “We have been here 20 years, and our focus has always been on emphasizing the history of the family and of ranching in Saskatchewan and in Cypress Hills.  It has been part of our mandate to tell the story and keep it alive.”

Provincial Heritage Property designations play an integral role in the conservation and protection of Saskatchewan’s heritage.  For more information about Saskatchewan’s Provincial Heritage properties visit www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/parks-recreation-heritage-and-arts/heritage.

For more information about the Historic W.D. & Alice Reesor Ranch, please visit their website at www.reesorranch.com.

For more information, contact:

Katrina Robinson
Parks, Culture and Sport
Phone: 306-787-3506
Email: katrina.robinson@gov.sk.ca
Cell: 306-550-5927


Reesor Lake, Cypress Hills


1960 article title "New Lake Name Honors Family":

A family of Canadians that reaches back to confederation has been honored through the efforts of the Medicine Hat Fish and Game Association.  The association carried out a proposal and recently received confirmation that Twin Lakes, in the Cypress Hills east of Elkwater, had been re-named Reesor Lake, in memory of William David Reesor, father of Colby Reesor, a long-time member of the Medicine Hat Fish and Game Association.  W.D. Reesor was the son of one of the early Canadian senators, also named William David Reesor, whose picture hangs in our Senate gallery today.  W.D. Reesor Jr. came to Gap, Sask. in 1900 and returned east for his family in 1902.  The original Reesor house still stands, eight miles from the site of Reesor Lake.  It has been continuously occupied by the descendants of Mr. Reesor and the present occupants are the fourth generation to live there and the seventh generation of the family in Canada since 1804.  Colby Reesor, secretary of the local fish and game association, was presented with a plaque commemorating the occasion at the last meeting of the Medicine Hat Association.  The name change came into effect November 6, 1960.

Click here to view the Reesor Family in Canada website.  

Call to book now 1-306-662-3498 or email