In December 1919, an arranged marriage was finalized between Alfred (Joseph) Brooks and Lauran (Laura) Farant of Ottawa.
The story is told that a girlfriend of the Brooks’ family in Peace River, who also knew Laura from Ottawa, wrote to her
one day telling her about this very suitable, eligible bachelor (Alfred Joseph Brooks) who had a ranch and was living in
Bluesky and how she thought that Alfred was just right for Laura. Apparently the positive buildup and description
of Alfred, the allure of the west, the fact that she was approaching 30 all factored in to compel Laura to accept the offer of marriage.
With a laugh, Laura Brooks later told her grand–daughter Brenda Brooks;
"The one thing I asked my friend in Bluesky was, "Does he have nice hands and nice teeth?" "
So in late 1919 Alfred paid for Laura’s travel to Bluesky.
This was quite the journey for big city Ottawa girl Laura. Finally making it to Edmonton’s Dunvegan Yards she boarded the train known as the E.D. and B.C. (Edmonton/ Dunvegan & British Columbia) bound for Peace River.
So the story is told, after many false starts the train finally got started spewing smoke and cinder indiscriminately. The train jostled and hurtled along. Most passengers were afraid to walk in the aisles. This train was the originator of the “rock and roll” movement, swung and swayed along through water, muskegs, forests etc. The passengers ate cold lunches. A lot of passengers were sick. Washouts on the line caused the train to remain stationary until the trouble was fixed. The roadbed around Slave lake was very new and spongy through the muskeg areas. The train moved so slowly that a lot of the passengers would exit and walk along the track to pick the remanants of wild berries. There was a lot of free bushland between Edmonton and Peace River with the miles of evergreen trees and the accompanying clean quiet solitude.
After about 3 days of this treatment Laura and her fellow passengers finally reached the end of the steel – a whistle stop called Judah at the top of the Peace River Valley.
It was here, at the Judah train stop, that she met Fred Brooks for the first time. They then walked down the steep hills to the little town of Peace River Crossing. This was a long mud road – no sidewalks. At the end of the road was a large wooden structure painted green with the sign “Peace Hotel" where they spent the night in separate rooms. In the Peace Hotel the bed legs were sitting in tins of coal oil -- they said to keep the bedbugs from getting into the covers. In the morning they took the “taxi” -- a model T open touring car driven by Mr. Oscar Johnson (known locally as the Swede) to Old Bluesky on the banks of the Burnt River. At that time no bridge existed across the Peace so everything had to be ferried across as the river had yet to be frozen over. Finally across, the trail up the hill was quite muddy until the first stop , Watson’s Stopping Place on the banks of the Strong Creek where a good cup ot tea and scones provided temporay relief for the journey to come. Some referred to this "road" as the Dunvegan Trail, and trail it was. Unditched and ungraded, smooth enough on higher ground but where it passed through wooded or bushy areas it was deeply rutted and muddy. In covering the distance of approximately 60 miles between Peace River Crossing and Old Bluesky the Swede had to change 2 or 3 tires on his taxi. Finally, Old Bluesky was reached and the couple-to-be stayed at the home/General Store of Fred's father Hubert Brooks.
On Saturday, December 13th 1919 Laura married Alfred and became Mrs. Alfred (Joseph) Brooks.
A brief review of the FARANT family lineage will be covered in the next chapter.
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The Life and Times of Hubert Brooks M.C. C.D.