JAMES FRASER?

When I photographed this house, I never expected to find anything interesting about it. In fact, I wasn’t even going to look but I thought what the heck. Well, the first registered homesteader was James Fraser! Of course I instantly thought of Outlander. James Fraser was recorded in the history books as taking ownership in 1895. Of course, I could find nothing about him. The second owner, purchased in 1901 was from Ivernesshire, Scotland!!

Albert and Ada married in 1903 and this was their land. Together they had 5 children. History says that Albert came to Manitoba in 1889 and worked for the local implement dealer. He became quite successful and retired in 1892. Upon his retirement Albert and Ada bought a fruit farm in Victoria, B.C.

After a few years in B.C. Albert heard of the hard times on the prairies of Manitoba and decided to head back and and “get his farms on a paying basis”. Things were going well until the 30’s and many of their groups were deemed worthless. On top of that, Albert sustained an injury wherein he was gored by one of his bull from his large herd of Hereford cattle. Albert was very proud of his herd but the injury would lead to his death. Albert lived a couple months after his injury but his lungs were so badly crushed that he eventually developed pneumonia and passed away in April, 1932.

Three years later Albert’s land produced good crops from the rains the prairies were receiving. One of Albert’s sons went on to work at the elevator in Elva.

Upon our arrival at this property, we weren’t sure what we were going to see. It was a long walk up the drive and I kind of had a feeling there would not be much to see. There were a gazillion grasshoppers along our route and these were the only two photos I took. I’m happy we stopped and I’m happy that I took the time to find a little bit of history on this place.

BOOTLEGGER’S CHURCH – COPLEY ANGLICAN CHURCH

This stone church, formerly known as St. George’s Anglican Church was fifty-six feet long, twenty wide and twenty tall is located approximately 5 miles from the Saskatchewan border and 2 miles from North Dakota. The organization and fundraising efforts to build this church were headed by Goddard Gale and construction of same began in 1890 by Mr. William Cornwallis. Two years later in September 4th, 1892 the church was consecrated by Bishop Robert Machray.

Goddard Gale was an artist from London and the son of a well-known barrister and a cricket player. Goddard is also rumored to be the first “white man” to set eyes on Lake Louise. Mr. Gale was a surveyor and engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railway and a staunch Anglican. When he took up residence is what was once known as Butterfield, he became a community leader and a council member for the RM of Arthur. Arthur is what this area of the province was before it was split into three smaller municipalities. In 2015 it was then reunified into one large RM known now as Two Borders.

When Mr. Gale started fundraising for the church on this 4.6 acres of land, stones were gathered as he wrote letters back home to his friends where he told them this would be the first Anglican church west of the Souris River.

As settlement started dwindling, church attendance also waned. In June, 1913 the church was deconsecrated. Some of the contents of the church were taken to a new building in Pierson but the organ and photos were taken to Eunola School.

Locals from the area told stories about Prohibition and how given the location close to the American border and the very isolated location of the now vacant church, it became an attractive hideout to bootleggers. I certainly didn’t get any Al Capone vibes while here.

Upon our arrival at the church, the sun was blaring, there were no clouds in the sky. I was a tad bit disappointed. Back at the start of Covid, Cade, Makenna and I drove out this way with the intention of visiting this location. We ended up heading North after a stop in Elva and I didn’t think I would ever make my way down here again. Yesterday a fellow bando hunter took me down here to do some touring. I’m glad he did. And I’m glad the sunset improved. Within fifteen or so minutes after our arrival, the infamous “golden hour” revealed itself.

After years of abandonment and vandalism, in 1932 the windows and doors of the church were boarded up in an effort to save the building. Inside the structure are obvious signs of a fire. I would have loved to have seen this place before Mother Nature and vandalism took hold.

In 1967 it was recorded that the building was still intact.

Driving around this area, there are very few cars and people. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, it is said that the government did all they could to entice people to this area. It is said that people from Britain and Northern Europe were heavily recruited. During the recruiting process no one took into consideration the climate these people would endure here on the wide open prairies nor did they consider if farming on this land would prove successful before they made their way to Canada from abroad.

And then there is this old truck. I will admit, at first I was a bit more excited about this old truck than I was the old church. What role this old truck plays to this historical site is beyond anyone’s knowledge. I googled it, but not to thoroughly, so I’m just going to pretend that a bootlegger parked his truck here to hide out in the church and then had to escape by foot and never came back for it. Its perfect right where it is and has been subject to many photographs in its time, as this old field stone church as its backdrop.

HUMMINGBIRDS

We don’t typically feed the birds at our place because of the cats. I have also put out a hummingbird feeder in the front though as the cats don’t really hang out there and well, I highly doubt they’d catch one.

As a kid my first encounter with hummingbirds came when my grandparents bought their cottage at Lester Beach. My Grandfather hung a feeder outside the kitchen window and for the longest time everyone would gather around to watch them. In no time he added more feeders to keep up with them. I remember my Grandmother making syrup every Friday when we arrived.

In the past we’ve had some fancy feeders for the birds but I find that they are hard to clean and you have to do it often to get rid of that black mold that grows on the inside so this year I just bought a feeder from the dollar store. I typically chuck them out at the end of the summer. Anyways, we’ve had a lot of action at the feeder between the hummingbirds and the orioles.

This was earlier in the Spring as the birds started to arrive. This bird spent a lot of time resting in the tree between drinks. He also had to wait his turn as the oriole tried to find a way to drink out of the feeder as well. There was also the odd oriole fight over oranges.

ORIOLES

Every year we have hummingbirds. One of the first years we were here we had orioles but they didn’t stay for long as I couldn’t find an oriole friendly feeder and I didn’t take the time to research what else they could eat. Somewhere I have a photo of the oriole hanging upside down off the feeder.

Well this year they are back! Lots of them. Instead of the grape jelly we went with oranges. Well they can eat one a day!

This photo was taken through our living room window.

JOHN & LENA, CARL & RETA AND SO ON

John, from Beauharnois Country, Quebec and Lena from Emerson, Manitoba married in Killarney on December 29, 1899 and raised 10 children together on this land which John acquired in 1898. John earned an income to support his family by farming and running a hardware store in Neelin. He was also a carpenter. Lena was known to be a stern mother who instilled good values and principals. John passed away in 1937 and Lena in 1973.

In November of 1923, newly married Reta & Carl made their home on this land where they lived and raised their family. In 1966 the semi-retired to Killarney. The frugal couple raised two children on this homestead. Reta & Carl were the second family to own this homestead.

Carl & Reta, determined to make a living and “owe no man nothing”, worked from dusk till dawn to make a living and raise their children. It is said that Reta would do the work of a man and did things such as driving fence posts with a maul as heavy as herself. She broke horses, milked cows and raised chickens. She would support her family by trading milk, butter, chicken and eggs for food. If her grocery bill was more than she had in cash or trade, Reta would put the unneeded items away until next time. Reta & John would not hold a charge account. They prospered and made a good life for themselves and their children.

Upon Carl and Reta’s retirement, their son Glenn stayed on the farm and raised Aberdeen Angus cattle. He then raised four children on his own on this farm with his wife whom he married in June of 1955.

In 1982 Glenn and his wife purchased a family restaurant in Killarney while living on the home farm which he purchased from his parents in 1974.

This is a beautiful homestead. The house and outbuildings are very nicely treed in and its not far from your basic needs like food and gas. The homestead is no longer owned by one of the two original families.

BEING STRONG DOESN’T MEAN YOU WILL NEVER FALL DOWN

Back in June, 2018 (yes, 2018) I went out to this house. It was one of the first I got permission to photograph and I have gone back a few times since.

Back to that 2018 thing. I cannot believe that I have been doing this since 2018. Wow!

Anyways, here it is back then. The floor was giving out, the roof was caving in and the stairway was a mess. I did not step inside the home but I could get up to the windows and doors and see inside.

Today I went back. Mother Nature has had her way with this place.

BUBBLE GUM SKY

Last night as I was trying to weasel into my bed with a book, Colton called me out to check out the sun. Glad he did. He figures he should get photo credits too!

Of course it dropped a lot faster than it usually seems to but that is only because I was struggling with finding the best setting for the shot.

ST. PAUL’S ANGLICAN CHURCH

I seen this little church online and thought I’d stop by on one of our roadtrips. There wasn’t a whole lot to see here and I couldn’t find any info on it. I do not know when it was built or when the last service was held here.

The new resident pigeons didn’t seem to mind me taking some photos.

HOLMFIELD

Last weekend I drove out to Holmfield which is not far from us. I was searching for two old trucks that were tucked away in the trees when I was there years ago! I could not find them but I did find this!

I posted this photo on Instagram and it was featured. I regret passing by many of the old vehicles I’ve come across over the years.

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE

I think I’ve used this title before. I spotted this house on the way home from Wilcox. Can’t tell you anything much about this home. I did request the books for the library but I haven’t received them yet. So this will be one of those picture posts.

A LITTLE TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

I can’t tell you anything about this house.  I would love to know more but I cannot find anything.  Seems to be the story of my life with my current outings.

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This home is over 100 years old and the current owner told me they moved out of it because it was very hard to heat in the winter and was always cold.

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The home was purchased by the Brander Family in 1958 and has had some upgrades to windows. The first time I stopped for a roadside shot in the winter time, the pigeons took off very quickly and hovered around.

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This big old barn is currently occupied by a family of turkey vultures who were very unhappy about my visit.  I swear one thought about swooping me.  I didn’t get to close to the barn because the closer I got, the more active the vultures became.  Typically my experience with them is that they fly away and watch.  These ones hoovered above the barn and driveway the entire time I was at the house.

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There are some white pillars around the front and side of the house where I’ll assume walkways led to the home.  In the yard we found an area that I will assume was once a large flower bed.  The only thing left in the tall grass were some white and pink peony’s.

 

GREGORY

I’ve known about this house for many years.  I’ve shot it from the highway a couple of times.  This winter I asked a hockey Dad if he had info on it and he got me in touch with the owner.  I headed out there early this summer on a super hot, no cloud day!  It was a trek in and Cade came with me, for added security.  He also went to make sure I didn’t zap myself while dealing with the electric fence.

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The current residents are of the beef variety but we didn’t see any actual cows, just patties.  You can get right up to the house but there isn’t really anything to see.

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The house is on a bit of a tilt althought most of the time I figure its just me.  The one thing I miss on the Canon T6i is the level built into my screen.  My Powershot SX60 IS has it but I rarely use that camera anymore.  Like I said, it was REALLY hot out and I didn’t stay here for very long.  This is really a house that should be photographed on a day with stormy skies or a stunning sunrise or sunset.  For me, its just a tad to far from home for that.

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There is no history on this home in any book I could get my hands on.  I am going to assume that the home was purchased many, many years ago for the purpose of farming and the house has not been lived in for a very long time.  The bay window on this old farm house is what always got my attention and I’m happy that I got to see it up close.

 

ST MARY ST ALBAN ANGLICAN CHURCH

This impressive 28-foot by 44-foot stone church south of Manitou, just passed the town of Kaleida was designed by Winnipeg architect, Charles Wheeler.  Built in 1892 for a cost of $6,500 by W. H. Bowler and the construction firm of Kerr and Magee.

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The church was originally named Winram Memorial Church in commemoration of W.J. Winram.  Born in the Isle-of-Man on 8 January 1838, and the son of shipbuilder, he worked as a mechanical engineer in his father’s shipyard. Upon coming to Canada around 1866 he settled in Simcoe County, Ontario and resided there until May 1878, when he came to Manitoba.

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In 1860 he married Catherine Ingersoll and together they had 3 children.  He won his first seat in the Manitoba Legislature by acclamation in 1879 and was re-elected or acclaimed at the general elections of  1883, 1886 and 1888.  He was also a Speaker of the Legislative Assembly from 1888 until his death.

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Upon my arrival at the church which is down a horrid PTH (that’s not surprising in this Province right now) to this well kept church and cemetery, it wasn’t what I was expecting.  When I came around the back I found the headstone of a friend’s Dad.  She told me today that her parents were also engaged at this church and her Mom grew up not far from here.  Her maternal grandparents are buried beside her Dad.

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I’m happy I made my way down here.  Of course I tried to avoid going back down the PTH and ended up in a maze of gravel roads and pouring rain but with Colton’s keen Snapchat mapping skills, we made it home.

 

 

 

KEEP GOING BACK

This is one of the first houses I photographed and one of the first houses I actually went inside of.

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I love this house.  So at least once a year I go back to visit it and see what’s changed.  I can’t believe how much its grown over since my last visit.

When I started taking photos of the old houses, I didn’t really focus much on the barns and other out buildings so because the skies were amazing that day, I did.

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This yard is still used for storage and there is a path leading out to a field.  The current landowner frequents this location often.

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According to my research, this yard that was known for its stunning flower gardens.  On our way out, we spotted a lone pink peony growing in the tall grass.  I had put all of my stuff away as we were traveling by side by side down the dirt roads so I didn’t want anything getting dusty.

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My daughter was very interested in this van and what happened to it.  I’ll have to do some asking around and find out for her.  I wonder if she would believe me if I told her that the accident was a result of texting and driving.

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And you may recall this little blue truck, from previous posts, although Mother Nature is really taking it over.

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I would LOVE to see a photograph of this house when it was in its prime.

THE DAILY MILK RUN

W.S.S was born in Tyner, North Dakota on December 22, 1881.  He worked on various farms until 1910 when he decided to seek a “non-flooding area to farm” and moved to Canada.

family

He came to this area and purchased this land.  He didn’t live there right away and lived in a rental or “boarded” across the road in a small village.  In 1922 he purchased a house that he purchased from the local blacksmith and moved it onto his property.

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I do not know if this is the original house that was hauled onto the property but I do know from the current land owner that the house was small and as the family grew they added more and more on to it.  It makes perfect sense to me that this could very well be the original house just from the layout of it.

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W.S.S. eventually got married and together they raised 3 children on this farm, not to mention the grandchildren that would also be raised here.  The family pasture was the site of many baseball games.

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W.S.S. and his wife were community minded people and his efforts were instrumental in forming the local elevator, Co-Op and united church.

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The family kept Percheron horses and they jointly owned a Case tractor and separator with another family.

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In 1927 this barn was built and the family ran a dairy cow operation.  The cows were milked in the morning and the children would deliver the fresh milk in little bottles to village members, by cart, on their way to school.

The boys farmed with their Dad for some years until the oldest left and moved to Oregon.  Father and remaining son farmed together until Mr. & Mrs. retired and moved to town.  Mr. passed away in 1968 and Mrs. in 1972.  The son continued farming on the land and married and raised 4 children of his own on the family farm until he moved to town in 1990.  The current landowner purchased the property in approximately 1996/97.

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M & M were very active in their community, just like his parents.  For many years the basement of their home was used to collect, sort and wrap gifts for the Christmas cheer.  Upon moving to town Mr. was very active in establishing the recycling project.

 

STRATFORD, ONTARIO

This was another property with not much history but as you can see, there’s not much there to report anyways.  With the skies, I had to stop a take a couple of photos.

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All that’s left is an old grainery and a shed of some sort.  It was a warm but very windy day when I ventured out on my own and I didn’t feel like trekking through the snow which was still quite deep at the time.

Aitken farm 1 for email

 

 

LANCELOT

R.W. was born December 4, 1882 in Cumberland, Ontario and moved to Manitoba in 1886 when he was just 4 years old.  His Grandparents immigrated to Canada from Belfast, Ireland.

Roberta and Adealine

Upon arriving in Manitoba his father listed his worldly possessions as his wife, children (4 at the time), two horses, two colts, two cows and $7.00 in cash.  They knew their destination and settled in a one room 14 x 16 log shanty with a sod roof.  Within 4 years, 4 more children were born.  His wife was considered a frail woman.  At the age of 36 she developed a cough and died.

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Their son R.W. settled on this piece of land and in 1905 he married a woman from Fairfax.  Their home was said to be very welcoming and the door was always open, so much so that ministers and evangelists made it their headquarters.

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They lived first in a log house and then built this beautiful brick Eaton’s Earlsfield home which was later occupied by his Grandson and his family.

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When I first spotted this house from a mile over, pulling up I knew this had to be an Eaton’s home.  This is the 3rd one in my area that I have found.  This was Eaton’s most popular style.

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R.W. served on the local board for many years and was the chairman of the yearly local Christmas concerts.

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Mrs. died in 1947 and Mr. eventually re-married and moved to Calgary.  He passed in 1965.

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Their son, L.W. married a widow with four children.  Together they had a son of their own who went on to farm on the land.  L.W. married and together he and his wife had three children.

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Grandfather, son and grandson were all educated at the same school.

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BELFRY SCHOOL No.: 627

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).

GHOST TOWN

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.

house 4 Ramsay email

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.

 

 

THE MOVE FROM HOWICK

On June 8, 1881 this family left their 50 acre farm in Ontario and headed to Manitoba with a cow, calf, wagon, a small amount of oats and a few small articles.  Arriving in Portage la Prairie by rail, the family waited there for two days before making their way west.  At that time they bought a Red River cart and a team of oxen.

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Upon arrival to the designated spot to choose a homestead, all the decent farming land was spoken for.  While having pancakes with another farmer, the man advised Mr. of land in another range.  The next morning he set out and this land was his.  Newly acquiring the property, the necessary arrangments needed to be finalized so he set out the next day to walk to Deloraine.  The walked seemed to take forever with nothing or no one in sight.  He finally came upon some aboriginals and spent the night with them, breaking bread.  They next morning they finished the trek together.  He then set back to Portage la Prairie for his wife and 3 children as well as their trunks, bedding, a churn for water and 7 fowl.  Mrs. and the 3 kids slept in the covered wagon at night during the week long trek to their land.  Upon their arrival they set up a tent at another farm while Mr. broke the land.

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Mrs. was handy when it came to bread making and baked many a loaf for the bachelors.  At the time flour was $1.00 for a 100 pound sack.  She also tended to the ill and was a huge help to other pioneer women.

In 1882 the family sowed five acres to wheat and broke more to oats.  The crop was cut by cradle and was made to bands out of wheat ties sheave and stacked.  The following year, two men came along with a threshing machine they had just purchased in Brandon.  They cut the families crop for $25.00 and the families oxen were used to haul the machine to its final destination.  Mr. sold his wheat in Brandon, a trip that would take him 3 days  to make.

cradle-scythe

In the winter of 1884 the wife and 3 of the children came down with diphteria.  One of the children passed away as well as a female neighbor.  The family traveled to Brandon for medical attention.  That same winter, Mr. suffered from snow blindness but Mrs. poulticed his eyes with tea leaves until they were better.

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The men traveled to 8 to 9 miles for wood.  They always took the cattle with them to allow them a good drink in the nearby river.

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The family built their first home in 1899 with logs from the Turtle Mountains.  During their life they had 9 children, two of which died very young.  Mrs. passed away in 1932 at the age of 80 years and Mr. passed in 1937 at the age of 96.  Mr. was the son of Samuel, a descendent of Ireland to traveled to Canada by ship.  James obituary stated he was  practical farmer and a first class manager which resulted in him being a great success in his farming operation.  He was a great friend and was made an honorary member of the Manitoba Grand Orange Lodge.  At the time of his passing, he was the oldest Orangeman in the Province.

Their son Samuel who never married took on the family farm and upon his death gave it to his nephew Harvey.