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Historic Reesor Ranch History


History of Reesor Lake

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Original log home built in 1906.   The Reesors lived in this home for 10 years before building the present ranchhouse in 1916.


  New Reesor Ranchhouse built in 1916.  Original log home is partially encased in this home.


Reesor Ranchhouse today.  Five generations of the Reesor family have lived in this home.

Antique brass bed in WD & Alice Reesor Guest Bedroom

On February 25, 1847, David Reesor (one of Canada's first Senators) from Markham Ontario, married Emily McDougall, sister of William L. McDougall, one of Canada's "Fathers of Confederation".   David and Emily had four daughters, Marion, Jessie, Annette and Nellie.  Then they had a son, William David, better known as WD. 

WD married Alice Moffatt, from Carleton Place Ontario, the second youngest  of eighteen children.  They met in Pilot Mound, Manitoba, and were married in 1883.  They moved back to Markham Ontario, and lived there raising their four sons, Bruce, Frank, Harry and Colby.  WD farmed and raised registered  Jersey cattle, but times were hard and there was no room to expand.   With  the future of their four sons to think of,  the west with its boundless horizons no doubt called again and in 1900 WD headed west to the Cypress Hills, Graburn, Assiniboia, NWT (renamed Saskatchewan in 1905) to manage the Markham Ranch Company.  Alice and the boys followed by train in 1902.

A bad spring storm in 1903 killed 350 cows, over half of the Company's cattle which in turn wiped out the Ranching Company enterprise financially, but   WD and Alice decided to continue ranching for themselves and in 1904 they filed for a homestead claim.  According to their homestead file of 1904, WD, Alice and their 4 sons "moved into a shanty April 1905, and began to build house at once, but only got painted and plastered - ready to move into December 1906."   This very log home is partially encased in the large ranchhouse which stands here today.  In 2006 we celebrated the centennial of this original home's humble beginnings in 1906.

The present Arts & Craftstyle ranchhouse was built in 1916 and was one of the first in this area to have electricity and running water. WD and Alice Reesor hired a well known Building Contractor from Calgary, Alberta, A.B. Himmelman, to design and build it.  It was built for two families, themselves and one of their sons, Frank, and his wife, Hazel. 

Starting the construction of their new ranch home in 1916 was a dream come true and today the Reesors still proudly display and share the family's history with guests as they carry on with the 100 year family tradition of cattle ranching.

GUEST COMMENTS:  I admire the continuity, stability and love of the land represented by the enduring care for the house and the memories.  Cathy McClusky, Calgary, Alberta


Reesor Lake - History

  Reesor Lake shoreline.


1960 article title "New Lake Name Honors Family":

A family of Canadians that reaches back to confederation has been honored through the efforts of the Medicine Hat Fish and Game Association.  The association carried out a proposal and recently received confirmation that Twin Lakes, in the Cypress Hills east of Elkwater, had been re-named Reesor Lake, in memory of William David Reesor, father of Colby Reesor, a long-time member of the Medicine Hat Fish and Game Association.  W.D. Reesor was the son of one of the early Canadian senators, also named William David Reesor, whose picture hangs in our Senate gallery today.  W.D. Reesor Jr. came to Gap, Sask. in 1900 and returned east for his family in 1902.  The original Reesor house still stands, eight miles from the site of Reesor Lake.  It has been continuously occupied by the descendants of Mr. Reesor and the present occupants are the fourth generation to live there and the seventh generation of the family in Canada since 1804.  Colby Reesor, secretary of the local fish and game association, was presented with a plaque commemorating the occasion at the last meeting of the Medicine Hat Association.  The name change came into effect November 6, 1960.

Click here to view article about Reesor Lake at Atlas of Alberta Lakes.

Click here to view the Reesor Family in Canada website.