John arrived in Oak Lake, Manitoba from Dunboyne, Ontario in 1881 while working with C.P.R. From there he went in search of land to farm. He purchased a section of land and took up homestead where he built a small house and planted a few trees with seeds he brought with him from Ontario. He brought three oxen and a 3 year old colt which was the horsepower behind his homesteading duties. While plowing his land, the oxen required frequent rest breaks and would lie down. While this is not common practice for horses, the young colt would watch his teammates go down and would end up laying down with them. When the local school was moved John donated a piece of land for the new school yard.
In 1882 when John’s sister and husband arrived in Manitoba, he purchased another piece of adjoining land. Here he set up his permanent residence, planted a shelter belt and built a hipped roof barn. The farm was dubbed “Glenview”. It was a beautiful sight on the bare prairies with its large garden, fruit trees and bushes.
In 1907, after falling in love with his farm hand’s sister, Lilly, they married and spent their married life at Glenview.
The couple never had children of their own but it is said that the home was always full of friends and children. And visitors leaving the home would leave with fresh veggies and berries from the couple’s garden.
John would often send his niece and her friend to school on his small driving horse, Skip. Once Skip delivered the girls to school, the girls would turn her around and she would go home on her own. John and Lilly were fondly remembered by their niece.
John was often sought after for advice. He was known to be quiet, unassuming and deeply respected. Himself and Lilly supported every good cause in their community.
In 1917 Lilly passed away. Now living alone, John encouraged his sister and her family who lived in Saskatchewan to come to Glenview. John lived with them until he passed in 1935. In 1942 his sister sold the farm and it was then sold again in 1954 to the family that still owns the land.
Colton and I came across this property on our way home from Wilcox in August. The barn no longer stands and the little cottage that was built for John after the death of his wife was later moved to a neighboring town.