“A Poetic Saskatchewan Town”
The vast prairie land of the Northwest Territories was opened for settlement during the latter part of the 1880’s and 1890’s. Prior to this, the whole area was home to the First Nations people and their culture. Settlement by Europeans and Americans followed the river valleys and then the eastward movement of the railway. The first early settlement in the Southey area consisted of ranchers north and south of the present townsite. H.B. Chandler, one of the first settlers, filed on land on the south side of town in 1903. When the railway arrived in the area, he applied for the site to be named “Southey”, after Robert Southey, one of his favorite English poets. From this point on, the town grew and developed with the appearance of the first stores, school, banks, elevators, barber shop, hardware and implement dealers, restaurants, lumber yard, telephone system, sidewalks, fire brigades and others in the 1905 – 1912 period. This growth allowed Southey to be incorporated in January, 1908. Subsequently, streets were named after other English writers and poets, so it is possible to travel down streets named Keats, Browning, Burns, Byron and Coleridge. From this early beginning, the town has grown and maintained its prairie vigor.
Who Was Robert Southey?
Robert Southey (1774 – 1843) was an English poet, historian, biographer, and translator who was England’s poet laureate from 1813 – 1843. He was a contemporary of and friends with Coleridge and Wordsworth. His writings were historical, satirical, and political in nature including “The Battle of Blenheim” and “The Life of Nelson”
Quotations from Robert Southey:
“How little do they see what is, who frame their hasty judgments upon that which seems.”
“The three indispensables of genius are understanding, feeling and perseverance. The three things that enrich genius are contentment of mind, the cherishing of good thoughts and exercising memory”
To check out old newspaper articles on the Town of Southey check out the following link:
To check old images of the Town of Southey and other Saskatchewan towns, check out the following link: