Robert Gunn Families
In 1911 John A. Gunn filed on W ½ 19-4-12-W3, an area soon to be known as the Coriander District. Coming directly from England, the Gunn family came to Manitoba and caught a train to Swift Current. Then they traveled by wagon and ox team to the banks of the east branch of the Snake Creek. On their
John and Sarah Gunn brought their six children. They first farmed with oxen and later with horses. John hauled lumber from Swift Current to build their story and a half home. He broke up some prairie sod for a garden and turned prairie land into a plowed field where he planted grain to feed the horses. His sons, George, Harry and Robert found homesteads of their own along the creek near the family farm.
They often bought their supply of groceries and clothing from Swift Current, often enough to last six months. The closest store was at Notre Dame, near the present site of Pontiex. The same year they homesteaded in 1911, a post office was opened at Wallard almost 30 miles northeast of the Gunns. The following year a post office opened in Coriander in the home of Clene Arendes. During this time between 1911 and 1914 many settlers moved in. John Gunn was later appointed postmaster and at times his daughter Edith helped him out in the post office. The last postmaster was George Hurst who took care of the mail until it closed in the 1940s. Louis Denniel was the first mail carrier; however, John Gunn also carried mail by horse from Wallard. Later his son Bob delivered it by car.
The Gunns’ three daughters were Nellie, who married Stanley King; Edith, who married Walter Gough, and Gladys, who married Ray Walker. The women all used the sewing machine as well as sewed by hand the garments that the pioneer men and women wore in their everyday working lives.
Kerosine was bought for the lamps while the men brought wood for heating and cooking from Pinto Horse Butte. Coal was hauled from Swift Current.
Before the homesteaders began farming the Coriander prairies, the vast grasslands had been grazed by cattle from Texas, wearing the Turkey Track brand. Once the homesteaders arrived they began fencing their crops. One of the men who hauled fencing supplies and other freight was Shorty Anderson. Story has it that Shorty had a daughter named Cori and it was from her name, Cori Anderson, that the district Coriander was named. Not only did the post office carry the name but the Coriander school opened in 1915. It soon became the center of the community, the site of dances, social gatherings, rodeos and picnics. The first teacher at the Coriander school was George Simpson, while the school trustees were Frank Walker, John Erickson and Sam Torrance.
Sarah Ann Beecroft Gunn married John Edward Gunn. They emigrated to Canada in 1903–1920. John Edward came over 1903–04 on a cattle boat with sons George and Robert. They settled at Crystal City. John Edward was horticulturalist to the first Liberal Premier in Manitoba, Thomas Greeway. In 1910 Grandma Sarah Ann, her sister Elizabeth and Harpham came over on the Boat Virginia. Gladys, the youngest was about six years old and Aunt Edith was nine. Nellie (Margaret Elenor was 12. Uncle Harry came too as did Grandpa John Edward and full sister Mary Ann Polly. She had cancer in 1910. Grandma Gunn nursed her. Later, about two years, the family settled in Coriander, Sask. Harphams settled in Mankota. They did a lot of building and they had trades as carpenters. Great Aunt Elizabeth and Great Uncle George went to Moose Jaw, where they lived out their lives and are buried there.
Margaret, eldest daughter of John and Sarah Gunn, and fourth child, married on August 9, 1916, in Pontiex. They had a son, Gordon Stanley King, and, after the death of Margaret, he has been married twice since.
Gladys Mary Gunn
Gladys Mary Gunn was born June 17, 1900, in West Bridgeford, Nottingham, England, and came to Canada in May of 1906 to Crystal City, Manitoba. Went with her parents 90 miles south of Swift Current to homestead. Married Ray Jonathan Walker on Feb. 11, 1918, in Hazemore. He was born in 1895 in Butte, Nebraska, and was in Class E Canadian Army in 1918.
Iris Margaret Gladys Walker was born in Vanguard, Sask., Jan. 31, 1919. Moved with parents to Coriander District NE of Val Marie.
In the spring of 1919 Ray and Gladys went to Jansen, Sask., to put up hay for cattle feed. In January of 1920 they lived in Spokane and Farmington, Wash., and Deer Park until June of 1920. Gladys worked in a hotel in Deer Park, Wash., until June 14. They left for Oregon and she cooked for hay crews in Stanfield, Oregon (near Pendleton). They left Oregon for Valentine, Nebraska, and moved to St. Francis in South Dakota, visiting Ray’s relatives in Winner, S.D.
In 1921 Dorothy Ruth was born June 8, in Rosebud, S.D., but shorty after left for North Dakota to work in the harvest on a farm at Ellendale for Mr. and Mrs. Boeling’s hog ranch. Gladys worked a lot and the next baby, a girl, Elaine Edith, was born in Napoleon, North Dakota, on Feb. 1, 1922.
The family moved northward and lived in Woodward. Ray was always unstable, working in garages and they went through hard times. He worked briefly for Delco Lighting Plants. He was very clever with machinery, but left to visit his uncle George at Pilot Mount, where they rented a house in Sarles, N.D.
In 1923, they left to visit Grandma Walker at Leroy, Sask., and stayed there all summer. Ray and Uncle George bought a lot in Sylvania, Sask. They built a garage and got their first car. Poor roads. The family moved back to Coriander to visit Gladys’ parents, Postmaster J.E. Gunn. Stayed until Christmas and left for Mossbank, where Ray worked in a garage. Another baby girl, Virginia Helen “Betty” was born April 15, 1925. They then moved to Watson, Sask., where he worked in another garage, which was later destroyed by fire. They left for Coriander and after much heartache in the family, Gladys had a baby boy, Francis Raymond, born July 25, 1926.
It was here that Ray’s affections turned to Katherine Bakrud. He would later leave with her from Leroy to Montana (Wolf Point). Story has it that after Roy and Katherine left Saskatchewan, they ended up in California and changed their name to Wilson. Nowhere is there any proof of this, but Wilsons do show up in modern day DNA tests.
Gladys left for Washington with Dorothy, Betty and Francis. Elaine stayed with Aunt Edith and Walter Gough and Iris stayed at the post office with grandparents, J.E. Gunn. According to Iris’s account of the story Gladys tried to save the marriage but failed. Gladys had no support from Ray and with five children had to work. She kept house for Louis Amland and later moved back to keep house for her husband’s brother, Ural.
After the divorce she married Ural, her brother-in-law. The divorce was witnessed by Frank Walker. The children attended school, except for Elaine. Iris passed into grade 12 attending school in Idaho and later went with an aunt to Yakima, Wash., and later coming back to Coriander to Grandma Sarah, who was very ill and succumbed to cancer in May of 1935. Iris stayed with Grandpa Gunn for a time where the children studied at home.