The "Rocking P Gazette" newspaper was the creation of two young girls aged 12 and 14 living on their family's ranch in the foothills of southern Alberta in 1923. Dorothy Margaret Macleay and her younger sister Gertrude Maxine produced the paper, edited it, acted as its principle reporters, wrote many of its articles and stories and sketched and painted nearly all its art. This seems all the more remarkable as during the time when these two young ladies generated the 17 monthly editions of the paper they also attended school and regularly contributed their energy to both the Rocking P and Bar S ranches, which their father Roderick Riddle Macleay and mother Laura Margaret Macleay (née Sturtevant) were industriously attempting to put on a sound financial foundation.
The Macleays would eventually achieve that end but not without some very creative planning. The methods they utilized indicate the strategies family ranching operations have sometimes turned to since the beginning of the 20th century to stay in production. To appreciate this and at the same time visualize the part the Rocking P Gazette played, as well as the geographic and cultural setting in which it came to life, it is necessary to follow the development of the western Canadian cattle ranching industry as it evolved from its birth in the 1870s through to the Second World War.
Clay Chattaway and Warren Elofson, 2014
Clay Chattaway is the son of Gertrude Maxine Macleay and lives and works on the Bar S Ranch.
Warren Elofson is head of the Department of History at the University of Calgary.
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