Located to the east of Castor, along Highway 599, you will find the Talbot Community Hall. No, that was not named for Cam Talbot, current goalie for the Edmonton Oilers. In fact, it comes from the name of a bustling town that once occupied that location many years ago.
It was back in 1905, the year Alberta joined Canada as a province, when a man from Kansas came to the area and saw several wooden pins in the ground. These had been put there years earlier by surveyors with the belief the railway would be coming through. It had not, but the pins remained and the man, named Samuel F. Davis, felt it was a good location to live. Bringing along his wife, seven daughters and two sons, the family lived in tents for the first four months of living on the land. They would finish building their home on July 22. For many years ahead, July 22 would be when the community would hold an annual picnic.
The family soon founded a business and Davis installed himself as the postmaster. As postmaster, he would have to choose a name for the area and that name he chose was Talbot. He chose the name in honour of Senator Peter Talbot, a man who had done much for the farming community of Alberta. He had been elevated to the Canadian Senate in 1905 thanks to his work in getting Alberta into Canada.
In the store, the Davis family carried groceries, clothes, shoes, hardware and dry goods. Since ranchers often travelled long distances to get to the store to buy goods, the family began to adjust the business to help them. A barn was soon built to house the teams of horses that brought in wagonloads of people. Meals were served to everyone in the living quarters and beds were also provided. Even the NWMP would make Talbot a stopping point once a month as they came through from Battleford on their way to Stettler.
Before long, a lumberyard popped up, owned by a Mr. Bentley. A blacksmith also soon appeared, owned by Andrew Young.
Many people began to hope that the community would grow even more but when the change in the anticipated railway had it run ten miles farther south through what would be Coronation, instead of Talbot, all hopes for a bustling community ended.
Nonetheless, the post office continued to operate. William Balley worked as a carrier, along with a Mr. Maxon. Residents continued to attend church services as well. They were held in the home of the Davis family. Reverend MB Osmond would conduct the service and he would officiate the wedding of Agnes Davis to Hiram Vought.
On Oct. 4, 1908, the Davis home was destroyed by fire. The very next day, residents of the community rallied together and hauled lumber from Hardisty, cleared away the debris and built a two-storey home with eight rooms for the family. It was decided to retain the post office and discard with the business. A new store was established a short distance away, owned by Albert Caseley.
In 1912, the Davis family moved to California to live out their days. Eventually, the Davis home would become a husk of its former self, standing without doors or windows.
Information for this column comes from Botha Memories.