Our family is rooted five generations deep in these hills and grasslands of Southern Alberta.  Preserving our heritage happens daily as we care for the land and animals under our charge.  Along with the blessings of being stewards of these lands, comes a responsibility to understand and share our collective history.  The first generation felt the same way. Together Fred and Edith Ings composed Fred’s memoirs and published Before the Fences, now a widely-respected text in the historiography of the Canadian West.  Today, their great-granddaughter Rachel Herbert has completed an MA in History with a particular focus on pioneer ranching women.  She was fortunate to work with a rich collection of family documents that convey a deep commitment to a way of life tied to raising cattle and family on the land. Her first book Ranching Women in Southern Alberta, was released in October 2017.

Ranching Women in Southern Alberta

Published in 2017, Ranching Women in Southern Alberta, pays homage to the brave and talented women who rode the range, carving out a role for themselves during the dawn of the family ranching era.  Inspired by the example of three generations before her, author and rancher, Rachel Herbert, demonstrates that the west was not simply “hell on horses and women,” but an environment that fostered women’s resourcefulness and independence and in turn led them to transcend the restrictions of traditional gender roles and participate as active and essential players in the emerging cattle industry.

Currently available at the ranch, online, or at your favorite local boutique. In Calgary visit Cody & Sioux. In Nanton visit Tap Town Books or Because I Said So.

“I don’t think people have changed that much. Circumstances change and the way you do things changes, but I think there’s always been strong women.”

Mary Guenther   Rancher
women ranchers book history
Ranching Women in Southern Alberta
paperback, $30 plus shipping

Before the Fences: Tales from the Midway ranch

With his remarkable memory, humor, anecdotes, and poignant human (and animal) stories, Fred Ings brings to life the brief bygone era of the open range and the first pioneer settlement of southern Alberta.
He established the OH ranch in 1883 and later Midway Ranch near Nanton. Completed in 1936 when Ings was the last survivor of his pioneer period and first published in 1980, Before the Fences is his tribute to his contemporaries – princes, cattle barons, Northwest Mounted Police, outlaws, cowboys and courageous pioneers. Full of action and the sensibility of its time, it is an invitation to join him around the campfire and on the long roundup trail from the Highwood to the US border.

“Fred Ings was one of those rare people who recognized that he lived in a significant era of history. His memoirs show his keen eye for detail and an encyclopedic knowledge for the history of ranching in southern Alberta…..Fred’s knack for storytelling, coupled with his grasp of the facts, make Before the Fences essential reading for those who want to understand the West and its past.”

David Bly    Calgary Herald
Before The Fences
paperback, $20 plus shipping
Edith Scatcherd came West in 1910, tempted by the promise of a fast horse, to marry Fred Ings.
Correspondence between Fred and Edith provides an insight into pioneer sensibilities.
Fred Ings came west in 1882 to play cowboy, and put down roots that have anchored five generations.