Peppered with lively stories, literary references and pithy observations on the emerging culture and future development of the Dominion of Canada, this 19th-century travelogue is a remarkable and authentic slice of history. In these accounts of his travels in North America, Alexander Staveley Hill weaves together details of Canadian and American history with practical advice on such matters as what to wear while ranching and considerations for British investors thinking about buying ranchland. English gentleman ranchers, outlaws and whisky traders, Native cowboys and guides, practical boarding-house landladies and cheery ranchers' wives who fed hungry travellers and put them up on the parlour are just some of the colourful characters in From Home to Home.
Alexander Staveley Hill (1825-1905) was the founder of Alberta's famous Oxley Ranch. A British Conservative MP from 1868 to 1900, he travelled to North America annually between 1881 and 1884, exploring the land and buying cattle and horses from the ranch. From Home to Home, first published in 1885, is an account of those travels. Hill founded the Oxley in 1882, persuading veteran livestock breeder John R. Craig--later the manager of Oxley and who wrote his own memoir, Ranching with Lords and Commons--to drop his Canadian investors in favour of some English gentlemen whom Hill claimed had much more to invest. Ironically, a bitter feud later developed between Craig and Hill when the latter could not (or would not) supply enough money to run the enterprise properly.