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This week in Church history

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The desire of the Church to have more Saints locate in Alberta, Canada, led to the survey for the townsite of Magrath, 20 miles south of Lethbridge, in March 1899, according to the Encyclopedic History of the Church by Andrew Jenson, pp. 460-461."Magrath owes its first existence to the construction of a canal extending from the St. Mary's River to the railroad station of Stirling on the Alberta Railway and Canal Company's road," the encyclopedic history states. Leaders of the Church entered into an agreement with the Alberta Irrigation Company to construct such a canal.

The history continues, "In order to make the undertaking a success the Church authorities called men and their families to work on the canal and also to become settlers in [Magrath and Stirling]. . . .

"The first permanent settler on the Magrath townsite was Charles Heber Dudley, who arrived on the townsite and located on Pat Hole Creek April 20, 1899. The first families to reside on the townsite were those of Rasmus Rasmussen and Parley Pratt Carter. The first house erected in Magrath was built by James Evans and three associates. The labors done on the canal the first season were very satisfactory and a number of comfortable dwelling houses were built."

By the end of the century, there were 313 members of the Church living in Magrath.

There was some resistance by the early settlers because the settlement was a long distance from a railroad, "but Apostle John W. Taylor, who listened to the objections, prophesied that in less than two years a railroad would be built through that county, a prediction which was literally fulfilled," the history noted.