Canada — History Comes to Life: The Horse Drive of Harry Adair

Play brings story of Harry Adair to the stage this weekend

Charlie Penson and Mary Nutting. Source image.
Charlie Penson and Mary Nutting. Source image.

CANADA — The South Peace Regional Archives and the Friends of the SPRA Society will be putting on an event featuring an original play about the Horse Drive of Harry Adair at the Scenic Heights Community Grounds on Sunday afternoon.

Charlie Penson, president of the Friends of the SPRA Society, wrote the play about Harry Adair to raise awareness of the roots of the Peace Country.

“The whole idea was to sort of bring history to life. I think we have a very interesting history and if people know a little bit more about it in the style of a play, where it recreates what really happened, I think they’d become more interested in our area and what built our area,” said Penson.

Mary Nutting, executive director at South Peace Regional Archives, supplied a bit of history on the horse drive.

“The horse drive covered three years. It started in 1906. Harry Adair had rounded up a herd of horses; he had his own herd of horses and then a lot of them were wild horses from Montana, and they started out (from) Montana in 1906. His main helpers were three women: His wife Tessa, his sister-in-law Inez and his (10-year-old) daughter Gertie… Their goal was High Prairie, that’s where they were hoping to bring the horses and they had to spend the first winter in Stettler because they were stopped by the RCMP, (who) had to check every brand on the 700 horses. So by the time they were done that, they thought they would just over-winter there,” she said.

As it turned out, High Prairie wasn’t ideal for the horses, so after reaching their destination, Adair began looking for a more suitable permanent home.

“(In 1909) he came alone up to the Scenic Heights area between Wembley and La Glace, and he thought that was a really good place for the horses so then he went back in the winter (of 1910) and brought his wife and the family and all their goods and the horses,” said Nutting.

Penson, who originally wrote the play in 2011 for the Scenic Heights Centennial celebration, said that the audience is bound to enjoy the show.

“It’s a very entertaining play. We have music in the play and just the story of the three years it took them to reach the La Glace area, where he established… the biggest ranch and farm in the Peace River country by 1925. He was a real entrepreneur, the type that we need… we really needed to promote the country,” Penson said.

“We are adding a couple of new scenes to this (play), just for the people that have seen it before.”

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This event takes place at Scenic Heights Community Grounds, on Sunday, July 12, 2015.

Scenic Heights is north of Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. Take Hwy 672 west to range road 82 and take a left. The community grounds are on the south side. It starts at 4 p.m. and goes to 8 p.m.

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