Welcome to the
Howard Duncan story
Kilns were used to hold Plant celebrations
Claybank Brick Plant Site
HOWARD DUNCAN STORY
Howard was born to parents, Laura and Bill Duncan of Rouleau, Sask. in 1937. He attended school at Utopia and Rudolf and in 1949 the family moved to the Hearne district where Howard continued his education.
Howard's first job was as a farm labourer, but his real love was working with equipment. At the age of 15, Howard got a job with Ferguson's Construction, operating a Caterpillar.
In December of 1955, Howard married Heather Cameron of Briercrest and they moved to Claybank in 1956 after Howard started work at the Brick Plant in February of that year.
As a new man at the Brick Plant, Howard started where all the new men started, shovelling coal and breaking bricks. The starting wage was $.95 an hour. Howard was lucky, because after three days his experience with running caterpillars paid off, he was asked to operate the TD6 and TD9 Cats at the Plant. After 30 days, Howard's salary increased to $1.00 per hour.
In his spare time Howard set up a small garage in his yard at Claybank and did mechanical work there for his customers. The garage floor was quite an oddity - it was made of bricks, which Howard said were reasonably priced.
Howard's mechanical jobs often took longer than they should, but his customers never seemed to mind, they felt right at home in his little garage at Claybank. Many a night the lights were on into the wee small hours of the morning.
In 1966, Howard decided to try his hand at farming, he left the Brick Plant and moved his family 2½ miles south of Bayard and then in 1974 they moved to the Alfred Schick farm.
Ten years later in 1976, a job opened up at the Brick Plant and Howard was more than happy to go back, his Cat was waiting for him. In 1979 when one of the on-site residences at the Brick Plant became vacant Howard and Heather move their family in. This made getting to work a lot easier and he would often be called in to work overtime. Albert Reed was fussy about who ran the Cat, but he knew Howard was good at his job.
By 1983, things were slowing down at the Plant, so Howard started firing the kilns, operating the pay loader and any other job as required.
Meanwhile, Heather was busy! They had five children - David - 1956, Diane - 1958, Jim - 1962, Scott - 1964 and Laura - 1974.
One Fall, Howard and another employee purchased chickens from a local farmer. The weather was cold and the group wanted a warm place to scald and pluck those chickens. Howard was always thinking! What better place than the boiler room! After all it was warm, there was lots of hot water and the work could be done after hours. They managed to get the job half finished, when who should walk in but the boss, Dick Welch. His only comment was "now, I've seen everything!" and he walked out.
Howard worked at the Plant until it closed in 1989 - 23 years in total. He was the Fireman that shut down the last kiln. Howard said "the work was hard, but hard work never hurt anyone. If I had to do it all over again, the only thing I would change, would have been quitting in between and trying farming. I would have stayed at the Plant."
After the Plant closed Howard and Heather bought a house in Hearne, where they still live today.
Howard took over a garage in Briercrest from his brother in law, Ross Cameron in 1990. He took it over for six months, but was still there after many years. His business is well known, not only in Briercrest but in the surrounding region.
The Filter House with its concrete walls submerged 8 feet into the ground.
Claybank Brick Plant Site
Pictured Howard's truck parked by the Plant Garage and Pump house