Originating from Northern Ireland, this family traveled to Manitoba in 1899 from the Strathroy-London area in Ontario.  With them were 6 of their 8 children.  The family arrived in Deloraine and purchased land.


Two years later, they purchased this piece of land as well.  Over the years, their older children made their way to Manitoba.  Their son decided to move to Montana and later to California.  Their daughter, her husband and their children settled into the area.

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Mr died 10 years after arriving in Manitoba.  In 1911 Mrs. transferred ownership of this piece of land over to their youngest son Albert.


Albert was born in Ontario and traveled with his family to Manitoba in 1899.  He married Lillian in December, 1909 after she came to Manitoba to visit another family.  After their marriage in December, the couple headed to Ontario and returned to Manitoba in the Spring of 1910 and homesteaded on this land.

Baskier girls

Together they had 4 children.   Albert and Lillian were active in their community.  Albert was the secretary-treasurer of the nearby school and Lillian was a member of the Ladies Aid.  Their home was always open to friends and neighbors.  In 1942 they retired from the family farm.  Lillian passed away in 1951 and Albert in 1955.

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Jack worked for other farmers in the area but eventually took over the farm from his father, Albert.  He married Rita in 1942.  Tragedy struck the young couple the following year when their gasoline iron exploded, burning them both very badly.  Rita died shortly after.  Jack went on to meet his second wife, a widow, whom had two daughters.  Together they had 2 children of their own.

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Albert’s mother passed away in 1920 at 79 years of age.  At the writing of the family history, Jack was still alive.  This was a beautiful piece of land.  The lane way was treed on both sides and the property had a well established tree line on the north property line.  There were many remnants of old buildings.  The only thing left were the foot plates of where they once stood.


This beautiful home was built in the early 1900’s.

mansion from book

Mr. M. came to Manitoba in 1899 and married Bella in 1890.  Both were from Ontario. Together they had 4 children but sadly lost one girl at just 3 years of age.

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My photograph above was taken before I seen the photograph of the family and house from the Municipality history book.  A fellow abandoned seeker, Lee, who also photographed the house just days before me, took a shot at the same angle.  The house is a magnificent sight and I was determined not to miss a thing.

east side of house

I was told by the present land owner that when he purchased the home more than 20 years ago, the home was in excellent condition.  Over the years people have attended the home and stripped the brick of the front of the house, removed wood trim from the inside and broke the windows.


If you note the door on the second floor, from the other side of the house I could see the staircase that leads up there.  All of the wood banisters have been removed as has most of the wood trim around the doors and windows.  The lack of glass in the windows has caused extensive damage to the inside of the home and there are now large holes in the floor.  The owner asked me not to go inside the house so I only peered through the windows.

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There were many outbuildings on the property and a long stream flowed through the property.  The views from the home would have been spectacular at any time of the year.

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Mr. died in 1938 at the age of 77, 15 years after he lost his wife.  At that time, his youngest son, whom never married, took over the farm.  I am told that he lived in his own home across the road.  A friend asked his mother about the home and the family. She grew up in the small town near the home and she can remember them.  She remembers the son, a bachelor who wore a black top hat and smoked a pipe.

Years later when his sister lost her husband, he took her and her children in and eventually they moved back into this big, brick house.  When he retired in 1967 his nephew took over the family farm.





The trip to this old mansion was very eventful.  First and foremost, what we thought was the field lane to the farm was not.  My Jeep was very stuck and my husband was very grouchy!  We finally made it to the house, down a proper driveway.  If only we had just driven a little further.

Anyways, I didn’t know I got a photo of the owl in the barn window.  I didn’t know I got it when I checked the photos on the camera in the car.  That night when I downloaded the photos to my laptop, didn’t notice it.   That was two weeks ago.  Today, I noticed it.

Well played owl, well played.

Mills barn with owl


This past outing, Makenna was certain she was going to have a little photo shoot.  So at one of the houses Cade found, we decided that this was the perfect location.

Here are a couple of the shots.

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Makenna 4


This wooden grain elevator on the CPR Estevan Subdivision is the oldest grain elevator in Manitoba and is also believed to be the oldest standard-plan elevator in Canada.

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The elevator was constructed in September, 1897 although I have also read that construction started in 1892 and was completed in 1899, by the Lake of the Woods Milling Company.  In 1950 the footing was partially rebuilt and a scale was installed at that same time.  This led some to suspect that the elevator was rebuilt at this time. However, its characteristic squat style, quite different from those of other prairie elevators, supports a contention that it is original.

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The elevator became part of the Ogilvie Milling Company when, in 1954, the two companies merged. For reasons unknown, the elevator retained the original company name painted on its side. It was purchased in 1959 by the Manitoba Pool Elevators and then closed the elevator in 1968 and was sold to private interests.

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Considering the age of this elevator, I believe that it stands quite strong.


After a ratepayers meeting in 1901 and the assurance to two East Coast landowners that their land would only be used for a school, the sum of $700 was raised to build Peninsula School.  Miss Anges Moore, with a second class professional certificate was hired for the year for an annual salary of $420.  She resigned within one month.

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The school was heated with coal and wood.  In 1927 the school was equipped with flat bowl coal oil lamps and then in 1950, oil burners were installed.  The school had a well stocked library with two sets of encylopedia, the World Book and Book of Knowledge, and wall maps.   The students were active in sports and 4H as well as community centered activities such as Christmas Concerts, picnics and dances.  It even hosted a funeral.

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In 1934-35, it was reported that teachers at Peninsula School were paid $30 per month plus board.  The family boarding the teacher would receive a $15 per month credit to be applied to their taxes.

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The school closed in 1960.


The Belfry School District was established in January 1891 on land donated by local farmer, Warren Belfry from whom the school name was derived.

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Five years later, the building was moved to its present location where it remains somehwat stable.  The floor is caving in so I did not attempt to enter beyond the front step.

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Due to low numbers, the school was closed between June 1940 and January 1945. The school closed permanently in June 1962 and the remaining students were bused to Elva SchoolPierson School, or Melita School.

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Some of the teachers who worked at Belfry School included: Miss Hope (1907), Miss Wheeler, Miss Rodgers, Miss Carson, Miss Fizzell, Miss Pheonix, Miss Archibald, Miss Strong, Miss Wells, Miss Shands, Olive House, Ruby Fletcher Reddaway (1939-1940), Miss Munro, Melba Dobbyn, Miss Cooper, Miss Stamper, Hazel McLintock, Mrs. Baker, Mrs. Roblin, and Mrs. Betty Pederson (1961-1962).


Last week I stopped at this nest to try and get a photograph of this Momma.  I didn’t get a shot worth sharing so today on our way out we stopped again with the hopes that I could catch one of her snowy, white owelettes.

No owlettes today, unless she was hiding them really well to make sure the wind didn’t knock them out of the tree.

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My husband has eagle eyes and spotted this nest while driving.  Good eye Hon.


This little ghost town has been on my must see list for some time.  Being stuck in the house for 3 weeks, Friday was the perfect day to get out and see something different.
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Gordon Phillips, a Mechanical Engineer and notable resident of Lauder, wrote in his book “The Rise and Fall of a Prairie Town”:  The town of Lauder did not come into being until after the arrival of the railroad in 1891. The first settlers however came into the district eight to ten years earlier. The first one to settle into the area was  Mr. W. J. Higgins.
The first post office for the district as established in the home of W. J. Higgins in 1884 and was known as the Melgund post office. Before that, people got their mail from Brandon or Souris by anyone who happened to make a trip there. It closed in 1889 but there were post offices in Hartney and again Lauder, after the railroad was built.   The first school was built and opened on July 11, 1884. It was named the Rose School, later renamed Melgund School. There were multiple schools built in the years to follow.
There are conflicting reports on the naming of the town. One report says that it was to be called Bradford and another that it was to be called Rochester. In any event, the C.P.R. named it Lauder after the Venerable Archdeacon John Strutt Lauder, Rector of Christ Church in Ottawa.
In March, 2019 June Timms reported as follows:  Lauder was very well established for many years, but it slowly began to dwindle as the farm population grew smaller as well as transportation evolved. There two factors are the main factors as to why many prairie towns became nearly extinct to this day.   To this day the Lauder Community Inn is the hub of the community for the Lauder area.  It serves all ages in a variety of different ways. It provides a Postal Outlet for the community which is well used and includes mail services for Maple Grove Colony close by and, with the increase in online shopping, has become an important means of receiving parcels.  We are able to use the “Inn” to hold meetings, Sunday School, crafting events, exercising, “leave a book, take a book” and enjoying recreational time. It houses a piano, pool table, meeting room, and coffee shop/convenience store. We are also able to enjoy the fellowship of lunches together a few times per week.
Though the population of the town of Lauder has dwindled to only four people, six people at certain seasons, the surrounding community continues to thrive. We have an enviable array of age groups, from young families, to senior residents, who have chosen to remain in the community.
The community also has a community hall, and a United Church that are still active and viable. We are proud to say that we are still able to operate a Sunday School which has about ten members currently. The hall is used for funerals, or funeral lunches and many other rentals over the course of the year.
Coming into the town, this was the first home we came across.  I have seen many photos posted from this town but I had no idea that this was right there, in this little place, surrounded by other things. And where others live. Like, Snowflake, Manitoba, except there is more here than there.
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The resident of this house was out sunning himself in the grass when we pulled up. When I got out of the car he took off so fast that he didn’t even touch one of the steps going into the house.  He was a large, tabby cat. The kids figured they were going to lure him outside and rescue him!

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I’ve seen photos of this truck and house many times but it was what was behind it that really caught my attention.

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A Studebaker.  What an incredible old truck.  Possibly 1948 to 1953.  I was told today that its likely a 1950’s.  The old vehicles don’t typically get me too excited but these two old trucks were in excellent condition.  So nice to see.  When I posted same on Facebook, one lady even replied giving the name of the owner of this truck.  So cool.

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 A short drive down the street revealed more abandoned homes but also a couple of occupied residences.  My son wasn’t happy about me getting out and taking photos but I assured him that the people that live in this town are probably pretty used to people coming in and taking photos of the old houses.  And I had no intentions of taking photos of homes or properties of the homes that are lived in.

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I’ve seen this house posted numerous times.  I would imagine it was very elegant in its time.  Its very treed in at the front and I wasn’t prepared to tresspass.

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This nice brick house was right across the street.  There were several old homes in this town and I could have photographed several more but only stopped for the ones that really caught my attention.

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I wasn’t going to stop for this house but did when I noticed the sign above the door.  The home of G. Ramsay.  Of course the first thing I thought of was Hell’s Kitchen.

If your interested in this kind of stuff, I really do suggest you make the trip.  I do hesitate to post the location of this town but I know that most people know where it is anyways. I just hope that everyone respects peoples property and belongings.