P.M. Sauder

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According to the records at the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association, Mr. Sauder became registered as an Alberta Land Surveyor on September 26, 1923 (#125). The last dated correspondence in his file is written on September 6, 1962.

A letter dated February 9, 1962 states, "I am very glad to hear that my talk at the Alberta Land Surveyor's Old Timers Dinner was appreciated. While I did quite a lot of the composition myself, I received quite a lot of data from the Glenbow Foundation, a research organization located in Calgary. The Alberta Land Surveyors' Association may publish the biographies of early land surveyors given by me at the annual meeting of the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association on condition that it says that I received quite a lot of assistance from the Glenbow Foundation in Calgary." (Note: no record of his address or those biographies could be located.)

The following is an excerpt from an obituary found in his file at the ALSA office. Born on a farm near Galt, Ontario, Mr. Sauder came to southern Alberta in 1904 after graduating from the University of Toronto with a diploma in mechanical engineering.

His career in promoting and working with irrigation projects in southern Alberta spanned 56 years. Long recognized as a leading expert in irrigation, Mr. Sauder received many honours for his untiring efforts in the field.

These included an honorary membership in the Engineering Institute of Canada; the Julian C. Smith medal received in 1947 for "outstanding achievement in the development of Canada;" and honorary life membership in the Agricultural Institute of Canada.

Mr. Sauder joined the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District at the time of its inception in 1920. Following the Second World War, he became general manager of the giant St. Mary-Milk River Development.

On January 31, 1999, Garry Allison of the Lethbridge Herald wrote the following column entitled "Sauder explored South one stream at a time."

Measuring stream flows in early 1900s was start of long career in irrigation

Penrose (Pen) M. Sauder, first came west in the summer of 1903, as a machine specialist for Massey Harris.

He worked on binders the agricultural implement company were just developing. Pen was so impressed with agriculture on the prairies that, in 1904, after he graduated in engineering from the University of Toronto, he returned to the west once more, this time as an employee of the Stream Measurements Branch of the federal Department of the Interior.

"He was setting up stream measurements through the west, working out of Regina to begin with," says his son Fred Sauder, born in Lethbridge, but now living in Indian River, Ontario.

"The idea of the Stream Measurements Branch was to establish water flow highs and lows, to determine how much water could be diverted for irrigation. The stream measurement stations these surveyors established on most streams and rivers, large and small, consisted of a cable strung across the stream, supporting a cable car or bosun's chair."

"From this chair a person could measure the depth of the stream every few feet. A little lead fish with a propeller on it helped them measure the velocity as well."

Fred says the surveyors would later engage a local rancher or farmer to take measurements, keep a log and fill out a form which was to be mailed to Regina."

Government surveyors would often travel by train as close as they could to the area they wanted to survey, then hire a democrat and a team of horses from farmers to complete the trip.

"Government supply teamsters would rendezvous with the surveyors every few weeks, bringing supplies of non-perishable food such as flour, sugar, tea and beans," says Fred. "However, the survey parties were always running out of fresh food, like meat and milk."

One of the areas visited by Pen's surveyors was the huge McIntyre Ranch, south of Lethbridge along the Milk River Ridge.

There was no one home. "As was the custom of the day in sparsely populated country, the surveyors stayed overnight anyway," says Fred. "In the morning, they helped themselves to some fresh beef they'd found hanging, in return leaving a supply of flour and sugar.

"Several years later the surveyors again visited the McIntyre Ranch while checking the Milk River. Billy McIntyre was away but some of his hands were at home and again they exchanged flour and sugar for beef."

McIntyre and Pen finally met, in the 1930s, through their involvement with the 4-H program, set up to assist the young, up and coming farmers and ranchers.

Pen was partial to Aberdeen Angus cattle, many found in the LNID's area. McIntyre, of course, raised Herefords.

Among other things, they both were supplying calves to young 4-H members to raise," says Fred. "One year an Angus nosed out a Hereford calf at the Lethbridge Fair. In the auction that followed, McIntyre outbid all others for the Angus just to put some fun in the 4-H work and perhaps to have a good beef to trade to wandering surveyors."

Pen went on to become manager of the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District in about 1921, a position he held for 20 years. In 1942, he went to Edmonton as director of water re- sources for the province, but by 1944 he was back in the south, managing the Western Irrigation District at Strathmore.

From 1946 to his retirement in about 1962, Pen managed the St. Mary-Milk River irrigation systems while living in Lethbridge.

He died in 1970 at age 88 and is buried in the city.