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Church Ranches - A Brief History

Prior to the settlement of western Canada, buffalo grazed, coyotes roamed and the Stoney and Blackfoot Indigenous peoples traversed the land on and around Church Ranches. In 1880, the Dominion of Canada leased the land to the legendary Cochrane Ranche and the first herd of cattle grazed on these lands. In 1901, the lease ended and the title of this section (one square mile) was given to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).

For the next 40 years, various settlers, living only in sod or log dwellings, attempted to purchase the title of the section from the CPR. But, due to many setbacks, these settlers were never able to complete the payments required to obtain title.

Finally, in 1941, Henry Teghtmeyer, a farmer in the Bearspaw area, purchased the land for his cattle operation and the land title was transferred from the CPR for $7 an acre. Mr. Teghtmeyer built the first permanent house and barn on the section in 1942. The buildings are still in use on the SW corner of Church Ranches. He then sold the land to his son Carl, who together with his wife ran the cattle operation for 20 years.

In 1968 Stan and Frances Church bought the section and moved into the old house. From this base they started a purebred Simmental cattle business, importing cattle from Switzerland. They added new barns and corrals and in 1974 built a new house just west of the original home. Church Simmental Ranches grew to be one of the largest Simmental cattle seedstock operations in Canada.

Now, this land has evolved one step further....Church Ranches: A community of secluded properties with nature at one hand and all the conveniences of city living at the other. It is a very long way from being the home and range of the buffalo... and all those who followed the majestic herds.     

Acknowledgement of Treaty 7 Territory

With respect we acknowledge we reside                                                      on lands of Treaty 7 territory — the traditional and ancestral territory of the Blackfoot                                                               Confederacy: Kainai, Piikani and Siksika and the Tsuu T’ina Nation and Stoney Nakoda First Nation.      We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3 within the historical Northwest Métis Homeland. We acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit who have lived in and cared for these lands for generations. We are grateful for the traditional Knowledge Keepers and Elders who are still with us today and those who have gone before us. We make this acknowledgement as an act of reconciliation and gratitude to those whose territory we reside on.

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