Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Monday, 31 March 2014

"It's not enough to be proud of your ancestry, live up to it "

The Horricks Family Motto (listed in Ref. Dept. of Ottawa Public Library) is "Industria et Spe" which means roughly, "Work and Hope".

This  post has  been  a long  time  coming. And is why I haven't  been posting  a lot  lately. You  see I felt  compelled to write it , yet I struggled  mightily  even to begin.
It is not about horses  this one, but it is a long  winded  post that I have  started and stopped  so many  times, so be prepared . Also be  prepared  to maybe  feel  the tears  I cried  writing it . Change is  inevitable  I know but it still  isn't always  easy.
Many  people   move  once  twice or  even  several  times in  their  lives. These  folks  have the blessing of a  wandering  spirit and  the ability  to take root  where  they  are. Me? not so much . I have  lived  in  2  houses  in  my entire  life , and my  roots are  dug in  DEEP

I have mentioned  before  that the old  family  farm site has  been  sold, and we  have been  very  busy  getting things  packed up and moved  into storage or  sold. Many treasures  have  come  home to Martin  and I , others  to friends and  family  members. And we  are  nearing  the finish  of all  this  hard  work. 50 years  my  folks  lived in  that  house , but over 114 that  place  was  home  to the Horricks  family . The  first and only place  my  dad, Grandfather  and Uncles  lived until  a short  time  ago . My  dad  of  course  moved  with  mom  last  spring to the  seniors  facility  for mom  to receive  ongoing  care. And Uncle  Bill has  bought a small  parcel of  land  in  the area.
I have  been  gone from  that farm now  longer than  I lived  there, but it  was still home, the place I started . Packing  has  been difficult  and melancholy  thing  for us, with  moments of  joy in  remembering the wonderful childhood  we  spent and the  amazing  people  who  were the  builders  of this wonderful  home and part of a  proud  heritage.
I could, and have  written  about the  farm and my  family  before , and also I believe  the  guest posts  that dad  shared  have  given  an  idea, of the  kind of  people  that  made, and make up  my  family . So because I cannot  type through  tears  very  well I will share  a little info  on the history  of the  family  name  Horricks  ( excerpts credit : the The House of names)

 The saga of the name Horricks follows a line reaching back through history to the days of the
Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It is a name for someone who worked as a shipwright or a
sailor. The surname Horricks is derived from the Old English word horrok, which means
part of a ship. Occupational names frequently were derived from the principal object
associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of
occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames.
During the Dark Ages men of the church were the keepers of the written word; surveys were
compiled for the purpose of the king's taxes, births, deaths and marriages were recorded and
land purchases were registered. Among these records are the Domesday Book, compiled in 1086,
the Curia Regis Rolls, drawn up in the 11th century and many other documents. Evidence
from these documents suggests that the name Horricks was first found in Lancashire where
they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest
and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
Early History
The Horricks family, which has descended from the Anglo-Saxon tribes, has a history that is
intertwined with that of the Anglo-Saxons themselves. In the 5th century first the Saxons, and
then the Angles, migrated to England and pushed the Britons into what is now Wales. They
established the kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, Kent, Essex, Sussex and East
Anglia. These rival kingdoms were united under Egbert, king of Wessex. Surviving periodic
Viking invasions, the Anglo-Saxon culture continued to develop. In 994 a successful Danish
invasion eventually led to the expulsion of the Anglo-Saxon king, Ethelred. Ethelred fled to
Normandy, where his family remained until 1042. Up to this time a Danish dynasty of kings
ruled, then Edward the Confessor, son of Ethelred, came to the throne. Upon the death of
Edward in 1066, Harold Godwin was elected king, however, this choice was disputed by Duke
William of Normandy. William led yet another invasion of England and its success brought
the reign of the Norman kings. Despite the ever changing leadership the country remainedpredominantly Anglo-Saxon.The first years of Norman rule were marked by rebellion and oppression. William sought to
achieve political stability by increasing the central authority of the king. But not all reforms
were tyrannical in nature; for instance, learning was greatly encouraged during William's
reign. After the reigns of William and his sons, the disputes over succession ended when the
Plantagenet dynasty was founded.
The Horricks family emerged at this time in Lancashire where they were recorded as a family
of great antiquity seated with manor and estates in that shire. Robert Horrocks was Lord of
the manor of Horrocksford Hall in the parish of Clitheroe in Lancashire. They later
established branched in the same county at Preston and Larkhill. The name was early associated
with the famous Lancashire cotton trade of which the Horrocks became magnates

Spelling Variations
Revealed in these documents are the various ways in which the Horricks surname was spelled.
This surname appeared as Horrocks, Horrock, Horrox, Horrocksford and Horrexand these
changes in spelling could even appear between father and son. It was not unheard of for the
same individual to be referred to with their surname spelled differently multiple times. Even
literate individuals such as Shakespeare spelled their own name in many different ways. This
famous playwright's name can be found recorded as Shakespere, Shakspere and even Shaxspere.
There are many different reasons for the variety of spellings a name many have, one of which
is that early English lacked spelling rules. Words were recorded as they sounded until spelling
rules were formalized.

Early Notables
Distinguished members of the family at this time included Jeremiah Horrocks (1619-41)
astronomer, born in Liverpool, who became curate of Hoole, Lancashire where he made his
first observation of the transit of Venus on November 24, 1639. He then deduced the solar
parallax, corrected the solar diameter and made tidal observations.

Intersting  and  a  proud heritage indeed, but those  Horriks/Horrocks  are a far  cry  from  the  family  I call mine.
The  Horricks  in  my  immediate  heritage include William Horricks  my  great  Grandfather.
Birth: Jul. 20, 1863
Ontario, Canada
Death: Jan. 15, 1939
Alberta, Canada


"William and Margaret first established their home in Westmeath, near Pembroke. The barn he built is still in use but the house has been replaced. The land was better for farming than in the Drummond area. William also worked in the lumber camps every winter to add to his income. Here, eight of their eleven children were born." "In 1899, still in search of better farmland, William decided to join the trek of settlers to the West. After stopping in Calgary to inspect property there, he decided to push on to Edmonton and there found what he sought - 640 acres of flat fertile land only six miles from the heart of the city. He bought it for $6 and acre. Thirteen years later, at the peak of the Edmonton real estate boom, he was to turned down an offer of $600 an acre for the SE 1/4.) With the help of his elder sons, the first log house and barns were soon built and the land cleared (no stones!) and brought into production." "In the early years of the new century, William worked every winter hauling freight with horses and sleighs to Athabaska (sic) before the extension of the railroad to that northerly point. Three more children were born..." "As the farm prospered, large frame barns, granaries and a frame house replaced the early builidings. William was fond of gardening, and his well-planned landscaping is still very much in evidence around the farm. He inherited his father's love of music and singing, and saw to it that all his daughters took piano lessons. He also liked the theatre and travelling. When William retired from active farming, the two youngest sons took over the "home place", buying additional tracts of land for their herds of beef cattle and dairy cows. Over the years, twelve more houses were built, some for the hired help, some for George's sons as they grew up and were married. William died January 15, 1939 of a heart attack following a stroke. Margaret outlived him by 14 years, dying on July 3, 1953, aged 89 years." Submitted by Emily Hebert as recorded by John and Ruth Armstrong, Family History in Six Volumes; Horricks-Magee, p. 220.)

They  also  include  brave  souls  who  fought  for their  country in the  1st  and second world  wars, William, and  Albert who's  records are  posted online and others . Young  boys really  who  fought  bravely and  died  for their  country. Men I never  knew  but have  been  raised to honor in memory. 

I am  sure  all  who  have  read  my  blog  for any length  of  time ,know how  very  proud I am  of  my heritage. They  have left me  some  pretty  big  shoes  to fill, and while I doubt  I will  truly  ever  live up  to  them , I am  sure  determined  to try.

There is a  lovely song  out there  that has  the line "Wild  flowers don't  care where  they  grow" 
They  may  not, but I am  a pretty  tame  plant  and I do  care and  as  I said ,my  roots  run  deep. 
I will  leave  you with  a picture  of  an old  sentry  left at the  home  place , still standing  guard  so  to speak ,in  the  remains of the old  dairy  yard 

Stay  safe my  friends 


Willow said...

his hit home for me too . Thanks for sharing your story.
Have been thinking a lot about those before me lately and heritage.
Our small farm was inherited from family before me my Great Uncle lived here until he was 94 , My mother and father had there wedding reception here on these grounds 57 years ago.

Willow said...

"This" sorry left out the "T"

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your family stories - they are very powerful. I never had a "home place" - my family moved a lot when I was growing up and I never lived near any relatives - but I can imagine how wonderful and powerful that could be.

Laura said...

Lovely! I really enjoy reading family histories like that!

My brother still lives on our family farm, so it is nice to have those roots still in place, even thought I can't visit often. I have long since moved away, but that family root is firmly lodged in my heart!

Neat that your ancestor initially settled in Westmeath - my in-laws live just a few mintues from there. It is beautiful countryside, near the Ottawa river. Not the best farmland though - lots of rocks, etc. :-)

kden said...

I am absolutely fascinated with family history. You have done a lot to learn and preserve your family name. Moving on can stir those emotions. Love that old truck!

aurora said...

I had to come back to comment, before saying anything on this heartfelt post. Must be so hard letting go of such a deep-rooted family farm...still don't know what to say that might be helpful, but I'm sending you a hug! Altho much different circumstances here at home, we feel your pain...

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Incredible history there. A fine family heritage!!!

I know only to well how difficult it is to see a home place go...We almost lost ours and those were traumatic times. Holding onto that property became the most important thing in the world to us kids because of the family history and the fact that it was HOME. I have been an adventure seeker every since I graduated HS and seldom live in any one place too long, but having been blessed with a place that IS my home, I've never felt the need to grow roots anywhere else. I just enjoy what the rest of the country has to offer and when I'm tired of viewing it, I'll always be able to go home. It's a rare gift and I'm a fortunate person to have that.

I understand that it was a willing sale of your family home, but that does not undercut the emotional impact that I'm sure all of this has had on you all. HUGS to you and your family.

Cut-N-Jump said...

It is tough to fathom the depth of things or the toll it eventually takes when you have to uproot everything and transplant it somewhere else after years of being in one location. Each piece holds a memory, some good, some bad, but a memory all the same.

I'm sure this was a tough one to write, but the good ones aren't always the easy ones. Hugs my friend. It will take time to sort thru not only the things, but also the emotions. The farm wasn't built overnight and won't be disassembled that quickly either. Sunny days lie ahead for you and your family.

Chin up :-)

Ami said...

A lovely post from your heart. I am glad that your family was able to be the ones who went through all the keepsakes, mementos and pieces of history instead of someone impersonal who didn't have any love for you and yours.


Anonymous said...

Old roots are hard to pull up. I loved your story.

My maiden name is Hawkes, an old Anglo-Saxon name. Maybe we are distant cousins.

Sherry Sikstrom said...

Thanks so much , I feel your kindness and support , each of you and you can't know how much it helps

C-ingspots said...

I'm sorry Sherry. I too understand just how you feel. It's been about 15 years since my mom sold our old home and moved to the city with my evil sister...not kidding, she is evil. It's very emotional saying good-bye to the homeplace where we've grown up. Just know that time lessens all pain. My grandma used to say that the only thing in life that doesn't change is change itself. You are very blessed to have such knowledge about your family's roots - wonderful!

Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh now I am crying I missed this post while dealing with somewhat the same situation. I am so happy you have all the documentation and stories to pass on, those will never be forgotten. I know this is hard so I am sending hugs. So B

Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh now I am crying I missed this post while dealing with somewhat the same situation. I am so happy you have all the documentation and stories to pass on, those will never be forgotten. I know this is hard so I am sending hugs. So B

GoLightly said...

You live up to your heritage, every single day, wonderful Fern.

I'm so sorry I haven't been commenting much, crazy busy, and grieving our loss of "our" farm, too. But my loss was only twenty years of farm life, (horse life really didn't count as "farm" life, to me, anyway.
Husbands' loss was only his whole 60 years...
Yours, a lifetime and a history, "lost"? No. Not while you have that history, keep it safe!
But OH, the loss of leaving.
I cannot imagine how hard it is for you, but I know your strength of spirit came from some of the finest people on earth.

Thank you.