Robert McKay Brebner, a farmer and amateur photographer, immigrated from Scotland to Alberta in 1882 and secured a homestead in Spruce Grove. About 1894, he married Emily Wrench, and after the birth of their first child, Alan, in 1896, they built a two-story house. Robert died suddenly in 1909, and Emily ran the farm with hired help until Alan could take it over at the age of 17.
“Alan Brebner with a cat,” ca. 1900, Spruce Grove, Alberta, by Robert McKay Brebner, via the Provincial Archives of Alberta Commons on flickr.
Wild on woodland ways your sires
Flashed like fires:
Fair as flame and fierce and fleet
As with wings on wingless feet. . .
— Algernon Charles Swinburne, from “To a Cat“