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
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.
.......GO WEST YOUNG MAN!
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,
Provincial Heritage Property Designation an Industry First for
Released on September
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
“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
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
For more information about the Historic W.D. & Alice Reesor Ranch, please
visit their website at www.reesorranch.com.
For more information, contact:
Lake, Cypress Hills
1960 article title "New Lake Name Honors
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.
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