“The soil is ours to make or mar and we should aim to leave it. When the time comes for us to pass it on…, in as good or better condition than when it first came under our hand.” -Seager Wheeler.
Our beautiful province of Saskatchewan is home to many pioneers that have helped shape the history of agriculture and influence the agriculture practices used today. I am privileged to be able to represent the small town of Rosthern, Saskatchewan that was once a home to one of those pioneers, Seager Wheeler.
Seager Wheeler was born in England in 1868 and decided to leave school after the age of 11. In 1885 after being denied a position in the navy, he migrated to the Canadian prairies. After working a couple of years in Moose Jaw and Saskatoon, he moved to the district of Rosthern, Saskatchewan where there was better land selection and easy access to railway transportation. Seager was very intelligent and self-educated. Once he moved to the district of Rosthern, he exhibited his produce in local fairs and later on began to grow and breed his own plants. After winning first prize for his hard spring wheat while attending competitions in New York, Denver, Texas, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon, he was named “Canada’s Wheat King” due to his great contributions in the breeding and development of new strains in wheat.
Seager is primarily known for his development of three new strains of wheat: Marquis 10B, RedBob, and Kitchener. His greatest contribution was the breeding of the race Marquis 10B wheat, which represented most of the wheat grown on the Canadian prairies at that time and would later become the foundation stock of the Canadian Seed Growers Associations today. Seager continued to breed and further improve other crops up until the year of 1925, where after he focused on horticulture and the development of fruit trees. Many of the horticulture species he developed are common today including: Siberian Silver Leaf Willow, Ruby Cherry Plums, and Saskatchewan Crab apples.
Not only was Seager Wheeler well known for his intelligence in plant breeding, but he also contributed to the improvement and inventions of farm equipment, and was a well trusted writer in the area for his progressive farming techniques.
Threshing machine located at the Seager Wheeler farm.
Seven kilometers east of Rosthern off of highway 312 is where Seager Wheeler’s homestead is located. Today this land is preserved as a Canadian National Historic Site and people travel from all over Saskatchewan to see where Seager began his work as a plant breeder, horticulturalist, and an inventor. Below are photos of his homestead and barn that have been greatly preserved over the years!
Seager Wheeler’s contributions to plant breeding and the improvement of farming equipment and techniques greatly influenced the agriculture industry, and we still carry on and progress those contributions today. I am truly proud to represent such an amazing town with such great history that helped aid in the making of the agriculture industry! 🙂
-Miss Central Saskatchewan, Taylor Markwart.