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Return to the Old Days

Winding Paths of Bragg Creek History:

Beginnings of the Fullerton Legend

by Jean Williamson

Born in Northumberland, England in 1852, Thomas Kerr, known as T.K., Fullerton is the patriarch of the Fullerton family so prominent in Bragg Creek    He played a vital part in its development, although he never actually made his permanent home in Bragg Creek. Emigrating to Marquette, Michigan in 1881 with his wife and three children, his fourth son, Jake was born there in 1882. Since the home was on stilts above a marsh, the Fullerton’s decided to move west although little Jake was less than two months old.  

Traveling in a covered wagon pulled by oxen they arrived in Canada and T.K. found work on the C.P.R.   The railroad was being pushed west as fast as possible to Swift Current and then on to Calgary. Arriving in Calgary in the spring of 1883, Mrs. Fullerton sat down and wept.   T.K. homesteaded a quarter section (later owned by W.E. Griffith) on the bank of the Elbow River just east of Twin Bridges.   T.K. built the Spruce Vale Farm and was the first tax collector in the area. His wife raised chickens and pigs and sold eggs in Calgary while T.K. made all the deliveries with a horse and buggy.   They endured great hardships and had frightening experiences in this new, wild land. There were prairie fires and the nearby Sarcee Indians were most unhappy when the North West Rebellion broke out. Again, tensions were high in 1885 when the Riel Rebellion erupted

In the Calgary Weekly Herald, in 1902 there was the following announcement:

“T.K. Fullerton’s cab is in good demand these days. It is quite a novelty for the people of Calgary to see a hack waiting for orders in the city and a number of people are taking full advantage of the convenience.   Mr. Fullerton is deserving of credit for his enterprise.”

Living near Twin Bridges, T.K. began investigating the Bragg Creek area due to the great potential of the forests.   He and his family began logging operations and a sawmill. By 1906 T.K. homesteaded NW quarter of section 12 in Bragg Creek.   He built a small log cabin on the banks of Bragg Creek near its confluence with the Elbow River. (Most Bragg Creekers would know this area as Elkana Estates and Elkana Ranch). Jake Fullerton, the fourth son, becomes a legend and the impetus behind the beginnings of the Round Dance Hall and the homestead that becomes Elkana Ranch.

Sadly, in 1913, on the first day the Calgary street cars were using the First Street East subway, T.K. Fullerton was driving his horse and rig along 9 th Avenue East when he was struck and killed by the street car coming our of the subway.

Reference:   Our Foothills   1976  

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