Robert Bell, raised at Isabella (Blaris to be precise), has completed two books of his series. Newfield House Homesteaders on the Canadian Prairietakes the reader back to the unbroken Prairie.
In this historical fiction, based upon accounts of Bell’s own ancestors and employing his family’s name, brave homesteaders stake out a quarter of land for themselves in the prairie sod.
With an axe to cut the sod and his bare hands to roll it off the virgin prairie earth, William Bell clears a garden patch before he and his son-in-law do much of anything else.
In the spring of 1881, Bell and his son-in-law Walter leave their families in Pickering, Ontario, and head west into the North-West Territories. At fifty-six William is determined to keep a promise made to his dead wife, Annie, that they find land and settle where they can make a life for themselves on their own terms, where their family can forge a future.
The two men make their way first to Winnipeg, then on to Portage la Prairie-where the railroad ends-passing north of Brandon on foot.
Virden, Arrow River, Beulah, Birtle, Birdtail, Sioux Valley and Miniota (Parkissimo) – all these places are referenced early in the first book: Land Ay Mah Ain. The next book is titled: There Will be War. A third novel is in the works.
Robert Kennedy Bell, grandson of John Bell, grew up with his two older brothers on Newfield Farm.
A former high school principal, wildlife administrator, and environmental consultant, he is now semi-retired and lives in Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan, in the heart of the northern Saskatchewan grain belt.
Published by Friesen Press these books are available though online book sellers and are sold locally by Bernice Still of Isabella as a fundraiser for Isabella Museum.