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News and Events: November 2017

Lest We Forget
Remembrance Day. Services were held across the municipalities November 11 to pay tribute to the young men and women who gave their lives in service of our country. These Remembrance Day services are one of our most enduring tributes to our past. Sadly, memories of our veterans and of the families who mourned their loss or celebrated their safe return are fast becoming lost to present generations. This is an area C/D MHAC will focus on as we work with local communities to research and compile inventories of their heritage resources.

Homewood Reunion. How many of you were a bit astounded when you read the article in this week’s Valley Leader (‘Marking Homewood history with helicopter cairn’, Thursday, November 9, 2017, p.4) and learned that Homewood was the site of the first helicopter flight in Canada and second only in the world? We would bet it caught a bit of attention amongst readers and that it will swell the ranks of folks who head to the community on July 15, 2018 for the local school reunion. Co-chair Stuart Breckon kindly forwarded the following information about the event:

In April, 2017 a group of former Homewood School students met to organize a reunion and arrange for a cairn to be placed in memory of the school. A committee was set up with Deanna Mutcher and myself (Stuart Breckon) as co-chairs.

Homewood School 1952

Here is the progress to date:

The date of July 15, 2018 has been set for the reunion and dedication. As Homewood tended to be the center for several other local schools, the organizers wish to celebrate Homewood village as well as the school.

All friends of Homewood are welcome. Whether it was school picnics, field days, curling, skating, church or just going to the co-op, grain elevators, or Latham’s store we’d love to see old friends.

A web site has been set up. It contains the history of both the school and the village, class lists from each year and pictures.

The reunion will be an afternoon event with lots of time to visit with old friends. Events will include the dedication of the school cairn and a walking tour of “old” Homewood. At the end of the afternoon there will be a meal served with more time to visit.

Prior to the dedication of the school cairn, the Canadian Aviation Historical Society will be dedicating a cairn for the first helicopter flight in Canada. As many know, in the 1930’s three Froebe brothers built the first helicopter in Canada that actually got off the ground. It happened right in Homewood. We are excited that this dedication will be part of the day.

Another part of the reunion will be the “History of Homewood” project. This will include the overall history of the school and the village plus histories of individual families that lived in the area. Copies will be available at the reunion. Merle Kluczkowski (nee Cutting) is coordinating this project. Merle’s email is:

What you can do:

1. Plan to attend and let us know that you are coming. Send a reply email to Deanna or myself or respond in the Reunion section of the web site. We need to know you’re coming so we can plan accordingly.

2. The dedication events are free and open to everyone. There will be a charge for the meal. The meal tickets will be sold in advance and a further email will outline the details.

3. The school cairn will be funded by individual donations. Particularly if you went to Homewood School please consider a donation towards the costs. The donations will be tax deductible. A follow up note will outline the cairn, the costs and where to send your cheque.

4. Help us with contact information. If you have any information about former students or any friends of Homewood who should be at the reunion, please send their names.

5. Plan to get your family history written up so that it can be included in the Homewood history. Many will be able to update their family history from the Dufferin Municipal history book of 1980. Others will have to start from scratch. Please note that the histories will also be turned over to the Carman/Dufferin Municipal Advisory Committee (CDMHAC) to be sure that none of the old history is lost.

6. If you would like to volunteer to help on July 15 or help with the histories or with other preparations, please let us know. Everyone is welcome to join the committee.

We look forward to seeing you on July 15, 2018!

Deanna Mutcher: Co-chair.  Phone: (204) 745 2719
Stuart Breckon: Co-chair. Phone: (281) 450 1884

If anyone has photographs or information they can share with the committee, or can assist them in any other way, let’s help Homewood community make this an event to remember!

Graysville Heritage Inventory. Graysville heritage committee members are hard at work locating local heritage resources and sorting out what needs to be copied, archived or otherwise preserved. They all have firm ties with the past in a community that is rich with local heritage. We’ll be looking forward to seeing the results of their work as well as getting ideas about how to proceed in other communities in the municipality.

Graysville heritage group – Coordinator Judie Owen, Carrol Bruce,
Neil McNair, John Murray







Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden. The final construction phase of the garden has been completed.

Rod McPherson (Carman Legion) George Gray (Reeve)
Marg Neumann (Rose Garden Committee)







In mid-October, a ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the installation of a second water feature and completion of the final phase of the project. Under the dedicated leadership of Diane Gillingham, the committee and other volunteers have worked diligently over the past three years to landscape and fence the site, install water and lighting in the area and plant rose bushes in memory of the individuals and families who built the community.

The garden surrounds and highlights metal craftsman Cliff McPherson’s ‘Roseisle Rose”. A special feature of the garden is a section honouring local soldiers who died in WWI. C/D MHAC contributed along with other groups towards placing an obelisk at the WWI site. Thanks to the committee and other volunteers for many hours of fundraising, planting, weeding, watering, dead-heading and otherwise maintaining a beautiful tribute to the community and to the past.

News and Events: October 2017

Nedra Burnett and Bill Curtis set up equipment

Genealogy Workshop #3. The third in our series of genealogy workshops was held at the GPAC Saturday, October 28. Bill Curtis gave an informative overview of DNA testing – from the X and Ys to the how and whys. This session took some of the mystery out what happens when you send off that saliva sample and where best to send it. Over the next few weeks there will be a number of local folks who are anxiously waiting to see what surprises are hidden in the roots of their own family tree.

Participants discuss progress on finding their roots


New Arrivals (continued). In our September update, we spoke about the great work being done this summer by the Multi-Cultural Committee and related a story told by a new arrival to the community back in the 1940s. This prompted a bit of feedback and recounting of similar tales. Here is one from an even earlier era that caught my attention. It’s from a book put out this summer in honour of the 125th anniversary of the family-owned Burrows homestead. The story was related by a family member and is reprinted with permission of the authors.

I was told that the first winter on the land was not an easy undertaking. The first temporary shelter for James, Betsy, Tom (4) and William (2) was quite sparse….Food and other provisions were limited and survival for the first winter meant that hunting and gathering from the land was vital to their existence. As the story goes, James was away from the shelter during mid-winter hunting for game when unexpectedly, a lone Indian entered the shelter and started rummaging around the meagre food cache obviously looking for something to eat. Betsy was shocked, alarmed, and uncertain about this intrusion and the only means of communication between herself and this apparent intruder was a hastily cobbled together form of basic sign language. There was absolutley no meat to be had in the larder and Betsy out of desperation hastily prepared some oatmeal porridge which, after his first taste of this gruel, was quickly rejected by the hungry visitor.

The visitor resumed his search throughout the shelter for something to eat that his palate was more accustomed to and finding nothing to his liking, finally left. Betsy’s relief was short-lived when, in what seemed like a short passage of time, the shelter entrance flew open once again. This time, the first thing through the door was a deer carcass closely followed by the hungry visitor. Through sign language and gestures Betsy came to realize that the visitor fully expected her to skin and butcher the deer, which was something she had never done without her husband’s assistance. She started to dress the deer and in the eyes of this hungry man must have appeared sadly lacking in terms of traditional food preparation skills and not a good choice for a frontier wife. She was promptly scurried away from the carcass and the visitor took up the task of preparing this anticipated feast in a manner more to his liking.

While Betsy was in the process of cooking the visitor’s choice of the tenderest cuts, James returned home empty-handed from his hunting expedition. Once again, sign and body language introductions cleared the air of caution and a hearty meal was shared and enjoyed by all. The vistor, however, must have concluded that James was not a capable hunter and if the family was going to survive the winter, some help would be needed. For the remaining months of that first winter a much appreciated skinned rabbit or skinned deer would mysteriously appear in the snow just outside the entrance of the family’s shelter. (The Burrows Family by Brian Burrows & Dianne Swain, 2017).

This photo of James and Betsy’s sons, Charlie and Tom, which was taken after a grouse hunt some years later, supports the authors’ speculation that this first winter may have been a prime motivator for males in the family who all became “excellent marksmen and very capable hunters.”


Wellness Fair. The C/D MHAC and Dufferin Historical Museum shared a display table again this year at the local Wellness Fair. Knowing our heritage—getting in touch with our roots and our connection with the community—is all part of our sense of belonging and our personal well-being.

Trish Aubin, President of the DHM and Shirley Snider (Sec.-Treas., C/D MHAC)
at Wellness Fair Oct. 25, 2017

News and Events: September 2017

Genealogy Workshop. Our second workshop with Bill Curtis of the Manitoba Genealogical Society was held Sept. 9 at the Golden Prairie Arts Centre. Bill lead an informative session on navigating the internet, offering helpful hints for locating your ancestors or just for general searching. The third workshop will be on DNA testing and will likely be booked for November when Bill Curtis is next available. Nedra Burnett will contact everyone who attended earlier sessions when she has a firm date. For further information, contact Nedra at or telephone 204-435-2217 or watch for posters.

Heritage Grant. We just received word that our application for a heritage grant in the amount of $2,650. has been approved. The grant will pay for signs for sites short-listed in our recent Heritage Inventory project.

Missouri Trail sign. Debbie Nicolajsen and her committee have been working hard on putting together a proposal for replacement of the former Missouri Trail sign in the R.M of Dufferin just east of Carman. The earlier sign noted that the trail originally was formed by Indigenous tribes and buffalo herds following higher ground west of the Great Marsh. Later used by fur-traders, hunters and settlers, the trail became a rutted highway linking Fort Garry to the north with the Dakotas in the south-west. The trail crossed the Rivière-aux-îlets-de-Bois (renamed the Boyne River) a short distance north of the sign.

Traces of where Missouri Trail travellers forded the river

As the land has been cultivated, most traces of the trail have vanished, other than at the point where it crossed the river. This area also is of interest as the location of the abandoned Kennedy Burial Site. A member of the Missouri trail Committee has ancestral connections with the site and has a list of persons buried there. Several of these were young children, lost during a typhoid epidemic. The dual importance of the site adds to the relevance to this project.

Multi-Cultural Committee Events. Congratulations to the Carman/Dufferin Multi-Cultural Committee who just wound up a successful month of events in the community. The committee reports that at least 28 different countries are represented locally. During September, the group hosted a series of cultural events including music, film, displays, ethnic foods and talks, winding up the series with a colourful ‘dress expo’ and dance display this past weekend at the Active Living Centre.

This is great news for other heritage groups such as the C/DMHAC. One of the messages we try to promote is that ‘heritage’ is more than just preserving buildings and putting up signs and monuments. It also embraces our traditions, culture, memories – all the individual and family experiences that enrich community life. Getting to know our neighbours and learning more about their transition to Canadian society takes on special importance at a time of reaction to worldwide movements of refugees and immigrants. It seems timely that this ‘one small step’ towards understanding our local diversity coincides with the installation of our new Governor General, a former astronaut whose message is one of global inclusiveness.

Our families have all, at some point, been new immigrants to Canada. Accounts of adapting to life in a new land are among the more striking stories that have emerged in interviews and family histories we have been collecting over the years. If you are one of the many local folks just getting started on the journey into your family’s past, be sure to ask yourself: ‘What do I know about my family origins - why they came to Canada, where they came from, what it was like when they arrived, what was their reception by those who were here before them, the ease with which they integrated into the community?’ Here is an excerpt from just one local story:

“Our family was of German origin but we had been in Canada many years already when we moved to [this] town. It was 1942, during WWII. A friend told me later that when we arrived, a local man said: ‘We’re going to get rid of those Germans.’ But two years later he told her: ‘You know, when you get to know that family, you wouldn’t find nicer people anywhere.’ That’s the thing, to get to know people….”

The Multi-Cultural Committee is making a great start in that direction.

News and Events: July 2017

Genealogy Workshop. The second in our series of genealogy workshops will be held Saturday, September 9, 1:30 p.m. at the Golden Prairie Arts Centre. Bill Curtis from the Manitoba Genealogical Society will lead the workshop, which will focus on use the internet to locate your ancestors. No fee. Please contact Nedra Burnett at, or telephone 204-435-2191 if you plan on attending.

Museum Activities. An appreciative crowd turned out June 24th to the reopening of Boyne School. The event was part of local Canada 150 celebrations. It was highlighted by speeches, tours of the school, exhibits, refreshments, launch of their new book, 150 Memorable Stories of Carman and Area, plus lots of reminiscence about the good old school days.

Ribbon-cutting at Boyne School Re-opening


Is that really where our milk comes from?

C/D MHAC shared a table with the museum again this year at the Carman Fair. It’s a great opportunity to promote our website and other projects. The museum folks started a time capsule that will be opened for Manitoba’s 150th anniversary in 2020. And, as always, they came up with some creative displays, such as this milking demonstration, which fascinated a group of local children.

Other Summer Activities. C/D MHAC takes a break from meetings in July, but committee projects are still moving forward. We have launched our grassroots initiative to do inventories of heritage resources in our small and abandoned rural communities. The lists include everything from designated and repurposed buildings and cairns through histories of local organizations, family histories, interviews, photograph collections, cemetery records and much more. The Roseisle inventory is already six pages in length and growing. A group of interested volunteers from Graysville plan on launching their collection and preservation this fall.

Our signage committee installed a couple of new Business Signs in Carman last month. The signs trace the history of two of the Town’s early buildings. The Leader Block was built in 1897 by architect Edmund Watson and was part of a complex of five similar buildings built to promote the economic development of Carman. The other building, which now houses Nine Lives Fashions, has always housed clothing stores. It originally was a two-story building, built around 1896. The Victoria Hall, located on the second floor, was used for town gatherings, political meetings, stage and theater groups.

Finally a heads-up on an upcoming event: Homewood district is planning a big community reunion for July 15, 2018. This will be another great opportunity to visit the past. More information on their website.

News and Events: June 2017

Bill Curtis at genealogy workshop
Genealogy workshop. The Introductory Genealogy Workshop, given May 13 by Bill Curtis of the MGS, was enthusiastically received by participants. The second workshop on use of internet resources is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 9 at 1:30 p.m. at the Golden Prairie Arts Centre.

Century Farm Interviews. Jack McKinnon and C.J. Piatowski have plans in place to begin interviews this fall with owners of Century Farms in the area.

Collections. The Smith Family materials, donated recently by Bev (Garwood) Russell, are finally sorted, with photos in archival envelopes, everything scanned, printed and organized in binders, along with a DVD copy of the whole works. This process always seems to take a lot of time, much of it spent studying photos or becoming distracted by interesting tidbits of previously unknown history.

Thomas and Jane Smith
One item of interest surfaced in a note attached to a Smith family photo. Thomas and Jane Smith farmed near Morden. One of Thomas Smith’s “most valuable possessions” was a diploma he received at the World’s Fair in England in 1886 for growing the “best ten bushels of wheat in the world.” This was a sample of Red Fife, No. 1 hard wheat, weighing in at 98 lbs. per bushel. The grain was exhibited at the fair by McBean Bros. from the Winnipeg Grain Exchange. According to the note, the company informed Thomas just the day before they needed to send the sample.

The Smith family stayed up most of the night hand-picking ten bushels of grain so it could be ready to send the following day. Incidentally, the wheat sold for the grand sum of 50 cents a bushel.

This little note speaks to a rightly proud event in the Smith family heritage. From a broader perspective, it would have supported John A. Macdonald’s efforts to settle the West. After 1870, Macdonald was determined to populate the newly purchased HBC territory before it was overrun by the westward surge of American settlers. The Smith’s prestigious award added credibility to extravagant promises made by land agents and government posters. No doubt the promise of cheap and fertile land helped fire the dream of a second ‘gold-rush’. This time, the dream was of golden wheat from the unbroken prairie soil, land that could grow the “best wheat in the world”.

Museum Doings. The Dufferin Historical Museum folks have been spending long hours putting the finishing touches on the restored Boyne School, cleaning the log cabin, getting the150 stories of Carman project off to the printer and otherwise getting ready for their big June 24th celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

News and Events: April 2017

Genealogy Workshop - Change of Date. Due to a change in Manitoba Day events, workshop leader Bill Curtis has had to reschedule the Introductory Genealogy Workshop from May 6 to May 13. The workshop will now be held Saturday, May 13, 1:30 p.m. at the Golden Prairie Arts Centre. For further information or to let us know you will be attending, contact Nedra Burnett Tel.: 204-435-2191 email:

Battle of Vimy Ridge. April 9-12 marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Ceremonies in Europe and across the country marked the battle where Canada ‘came of age”. Local soldiers fought at Vimy and some did not survive; others, whose bodies were never found, also have their names inscribed on the monument. The following poem was written by a local soldier in memory of a brother who did not return home; it is reproduced courtesy of a great-nephew:

image of the Vimy Ridge MemorialVimy Ridge is green theyt they say,
I saw the Ridge in a different way.
Where larks sing now and children play,
I know there’s truth to wha
The Ridge wasn’t green that long gone and fateful day,
They saw the Ridge in a different way, 
A ridge that seemed too far away,
Rain swept and dangerous gray,

Cold and wet, a cheerless dawn,
The command that was passed along said, “up and over, carry on”.
They left the trench with muffled curse and bated breath,
No lark sang here, so close to death.

The flare that turned their night to day,
Kept them low, in slippery clay.
Machine gun fire and screaming shell,
Made their journey a living hell,

A rusting rifle laying where,
My brother died and left it there,
I see the ridge a different way,
I see the ridge in sorrow gray.

Pte. William “Bill” Colvin RCCS

A ceremony was held April 10 at the Manitoba Legislature to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Thirteen Manitoba soldiers who died in the April 9-12, 1917 assault had Manitoba lakes named in their honour. Family members attended and received special certificates. Two of these young men were from the Carman/Dufferin area.

Pte. Iver Bernhardt Werseen was born in Roseisle and lost his life on April 9, 1917, at the age of 23. He is remembered on the Vimy Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

Werseen Lake northeast of Flin fFlon has been named in his honour.


The Werseen family. The person holding the certificate is the official  family historian, a great-niece who now lives in the USA. The Werseens are among our most regular visitors to Roseisle Cemetery where several family members are buried.


Pte. Dorval Augustus Saunders was born in Carman and was living with family near Roseisle when he enlisted. He lost his life on April 11, 1917, at the age of 19. He is buried in the Barlin Community Cemetery Extension, France.

Dorval Saunders Lake, north of Flin Flon, has been named in his honour.

In 2015, Stephanie Fraser from Winnipeg contacted our website in her search for living relatives of Iver Werseen. Stephanie had found a number of letters, carefully preserved between the pages of an old copy-book that belonged to her grandmother Zelma Hood. Zelma had corresponded during WWI with both Dorval Saunders, a relative through marriage, and another local lad, Iver Werseen. Stephanie’s goal was to return the original letters to family members. Her efforts have gone far beyond that mission, re-connecting families, sparking deeper family research, and prompting a belated memorial service. Stephanie also placed a copy of the letters in the War Museum in Ottawa.

For more, see our Recent History for March 2015 and July 2015.

Heritage Queries. Shirley Tort from B.C. wrote recently to ask if we had a photo of one of our WWI soldiers. She is active with the Find-a-Grave program and is planning another trip this summer to visit war graves in Europe. In preparation, she has been researching local soldiers with the hope of visiting their graves and writing their stories for the FAG site.

Shirley also has early connections with Carman. She wrote: “My grandparents were Alice and John Henry Johnston who had a machine shop and garage in Carman.  His son, Ross, was a mechanic. Gert Bowie, their daughter, had a beauty parlor and her husband Hugh was a partner in the Bowie Bakery.  My cousin Mildred Johnston married Jim McFadden… I saw the piece on the Bowie Bakery, knew the horse, Barney, and was given 5 cents/week for driving him when I was visiting in town, not that Barney needed driving because he knew where he was going.  But Hugh made a little girl feel good by giving her work driving a horse.  Barney was retired and they got a younger horse before they went to a vehicle.”

Canada 150. The Dufferin Historical Museum folks are taking the lead locally on celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canada. One of their main projects, collecting 150 stories about Carman, is in the final stages of production and should be ready for the Grand Re-Opening of Boyne School on June 24th.

The Museum has put a huge amount of time, effort and money into moving the school to the Kings Park site where they have re-designated it as a heritage site, restored the building and preserved it as a fine example of the one-room schoolhouses that once dotted the municipality. As many of you know, their recent booklet “School Bells and Honey Pails” documents the history of schools across the municipality.

C/D MHAC 2020. Meanwhile, the C/D MHAC is planning ahead to the 150th anniversary of Manitoba in 2020. When the John A. Macdonald government purchased this territory from the HBC, surveyed it into townships and sections and opened it up to homesteaders, they did more than save the west from encroaching Americans. They also precipitated the most dramatic change in the local social and economic history since the disappearance of Lake Agassiz.

The Hunters’ or Missouri Trail had long been used by buffalo, indigenous tribes, fur-traders and buffalo hunters to skirt the massive Boyne Marsh that stretched east of the trail to the Red River.

After 1870, the trail became a conduit for settlers who staked out holdings on what is now some of the most fertile farmland in the province. This included the land along the Rivière-aux –Îlets-des-Bois, now known as the Boyne River.

View larger image (Source: History of the RM of Dufferin, 1880-1980, p.7)

This wasn’t the first settlement in the area. Métis settled near the Boyne from around 1832. The first baptism in the area was recorded in 1837 and in 1969, a Roman Catholic church was built at the Îlets-des-Bois settlement, the site where some 100 Métis are buried. And as can be seen on the above map, John Grant also had established a cattle transfer station, mill and large dwelling east of the Trail. He grew the first grain in the district in 1869. A change in the name of the local river to the Boyne marked the ascendancy of Irish Protestant settlers and gradual withdrawal of Metis from the area.

In 1960, the Dufferin Historical Society installed a sign to commemorate the place where the Trail crossed the Boyne. A property owner later removed the sign. One of the priorities in the C/D MHAC plans is to replace the sign for the 2020 celebration.


1960 Missouri Trail sign on 29-6-4w east of Carman

March 2017

Genealogy Workshop. Nedra Burnett has been working with Bill Curtis of the Manitoba Genealogical Society to set up a workshop designed to get you started on the search for your family roots. The session is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. in the Memorial Hall.

If participants are then interested in more advanced skills, Bill Curtis offers two additional sessions on locating information online and on DNA testing for genealogy. For more information, contact Nedra Burnett at 204-435-2191.

Back to the Memorial Hall. The basement rooms in the Memorial Hall have been completed and CDMHAC once again has a filing cabinet, work space and a meeting area available for our use. We have greatly appreciated being able to meet at the Museum over the past couple of years but will be glad to get our records together again in one location. At our next meeting on March 20 we’ll be working on plans for the 150th anniversary of Manitoba, which is coming up in 2020.

Website Feedback. One of the fun things about working with the website is the feedback we get from folks who have a query about relatives who lived in the area or perhaps have information to share about our past.

Here is a sample of contacts from the past month:

Marion Hughes from Ontario came across an old photo of the first Carman Hospital among her mother’s belongings. It’s framed in a lovely little cellulose frame and must have had some special meaning for someone close to her. Was it perhaps someone who trained or nursed in the hospital, or one of the women who raised money to build, furnish and maintain the hospital? Marion has identified aunts with the surname MacVickar who were in Nursing, but so far, we haven’t traced a family connection to Carman or even to Manitoba.



Ken Pomeroy from Duncan, B.C. wrote to ask if we knew whether Pomeroy School was named after a particular individual. We sent him links to the local online history book which identifies Rev. Daniel Pomeroy as the missionary who was sent to Manitoba from Ontario by the Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada to search out and cultivate new mission fields in this area. Pomeroy School is now preserved at the Threshermen’s Museum near Morden. Ken has forwarded our information to the family historians to see if he can pinpoint the family connection with ‘our’ Rev. Pomeroy. He attached a number of photos and background on the Pomeroys, whose roots have been traced back several centuries.

Ken Pomeroy also sent information on a former pupil at Pomeroy School by the name of Martin Lukaitis who settled in Duncan, B.C. and was an Alderman in the city. So far we haven’t located local traces of the family but if anyone has information, please contact us.

Bev Russell & part of her family collection, A few treasures from the past. The Carman website forwarded an e-mail from Bev (Garwood) Russell, formerly of the Roseisle and Carman areas. We visited her in Winnipeg and had an opportunity to look through her extensive collection of family photos and early records.

Bev’s grandfather, Cecil Garwood, came to Manitoba from England in 1907. He married Ruth Smith, a daughter of early settlers in the Roseisle area and worked at the cement plant at Babcock. He then homesteaded and taught near Gypsumville. Returning to Roseisle in 1930, Cecil operated a store there for many years before moving to Carman and buying the Harry Bolt store. His son, Montie, continued running the Red & White Store in Roseisle and raised mink as a sideline until 1965 when he also moved to Carman.

As happened in small rural communities, the family had connections through marriage with many of the early settlers from the area. Bev’s collection, which includes a large number of family photos, hand-written family histories, and minute books from previously undocumented early groups such as the Roseisle Literary Club, Roseisle Skating Rink Committee, and Roseisle Community Club, provides new insight into small-town life in the R.M. of Dufferin.

Museum News. The folks at the Museum are hustling to meet their deadline for collecting 150 local stories in honour of the 150th Anniversary of Canada. Word is that they are getting some great memories of the past. The booklet is scheduled to come out by June 24th, the date of the official reopening of the renovated Boyne School.


January 2017

ABANDONED MANITOBA. Gordon Goldsborough’s introduction to his fascinating new book “Abandoned Manitoba” was the highlight of the recent Dufferin Historical Museum  AGM. The book is based on his many years sleuthing out sites of interest across the province for the Manitoba Historical Society website and his weekly talks on CBC’s Weekend Morning Show.
The show’s host, Terry Macleod, aptly describes the author as a “walking, talking, insatiably curious story-telling machine.” *  His enthusiasm for his subject and the fact that his early roots were in the Graysville/Stephenfield area ensured that the evening was a special treat for the local audience.

* From Foreword  to Abandoned Manitoba: From Residential Schools to Bank Vaults to Grain Elevators, by Gordon Goldsborough, Great Plains Publications, p.7.

LIFE STORIES. Have you written your life story yet? Or recorded your parents’ or grandparents’ tales of their early days? It seems more often these days that our good intentions (“We must talk with …”) are turning into regret (“Too bad we never got around to…”). 

This maybe the best time of year to get started writing or collecting life stories.  

Most of us are still basking in the glow of the holiday season when stories shared at family gatherings brought memories of the past.  And of course now we are wondering what to do with these snow-bound winter days.

Why do it? I was struck when working on our cemetery project by the fact that all that many of us leave behind in this world are a name and dates on a gravestone.  That thought was reinforced by a poem titled “You are Gone” written by a newly-widowed friend.  It read in part: “You are gone and there is no one here/ Who remembers us when we were young and fair …./ I sit and recall again those days of distant past / And fondle all those memories like precious stones / I know they’ll disappear one day / as if they’d never been, / But, oh, to have someone / Remember us when we were young, / after I am gone.”  [Marjorie Cover Maxwell]

Lack of information is frustrating for those of us who dearly wish they knew more about their ancestors — who they were, their interests, how they spent their spare time, the attitudes and values of the day, or how the world changed during their lifetime. 

Our grandchildren were here from Australia this year for their first white Christmas. When 14-year-old Sean left a note saying “I just wanted to say thank you for all the great memories you have given the family, especially me!”  it wasn’t just the exciting new memories of snowshoeing , tobogganing, helping prepare traditional family recipes or visiting with relatives. It also referred to hours spent browsing through old photo albums and video clips, hearing stories of holidays and people past and reading life stories of family members — all of which gave him a sense of roots and global family connections. 

Family Christmas 1940s – only three of the people in the photo are still alive to recall these family gatherings.

Getting started. The biggest problem with life stories is getting started.  How do you begin writing or recording a lifetime of memories? And how do you persuade older relatives, who argue that they haven’t done anything worth talking about, that they have a rich legacy to leave for their family? Here are a couple of strategies that might help you get started:

Have everyone write a brief story of their life for your next family reunion. Put someone in charge of the project, have family members lend a hand with the very young and the elderly and compile a book of memories.  People will highlight what’s important to them, most will leave out stories they’d rather forget, but you will have the basic information — their family connections, where they lived and went to school, what they do for a living or aspire to do in the future, with probably a few early memories of other family members. It takes a bit of work, but if updates are added at each subsequent reunion, a rich compilation of family profiles is quickly built up.

Invest in a tape recorder. It’s a great gift for parents or that family member who has everything. The new compact, high quality tape-recorders make it easier to interview a family member or to record your own history. A huge bonus of recording life stories is that it captures the added richness of hearing the person’s voice. You may have to be present to get the memories on a roll. Think ahead of time about general areas to explore — such as school days, special events, holiday traditions, then prompt them with open-ended questions and sit back for one of the most informative and rewarding times of your life. You likely will end up having to spread taping over more than one session. A bonus these days is that the new recorders plug into your computer so you can readily transfer the interview to other media. More importantly, the interview can be digitally shared with others so more than one copy exits.

Future genealogists may have a different problem — that of wading through reams of social media material, masses of photos and personal details such as what their ancestors had for breakfast, what they think of climate change or the recent U.S. election. Can you imagine the excitement of finding amongst all that data a thoughtfully recorded life story, in an ancestor’s  own voice? 

Organize a group or sign up for a workshop on writing life stories.  It’s a great way to get started. You can expect to be inspired by the memories of others and reminded of experiences you had long ago tucked away in the back of your mind.

It just happens that the CDMHAC has talked about organizing a workshop for anyone who wants to get started writing or recording a life-story. Would you be interested in joining a workshop on writing your life story or on genealogy ?   If so, you can contact us through this website or watch for our next update.

November 2016

Special Places Inventory. Members of the committee met with David Butterfield, recently ‘retired’ from the Historic Resources Branch, to discuss short-listing local heritage sites for special recognition. It was a productive meeting. All parties agreed on a few sites that will now receive certificates recognizing their heritage value.

Sadly, we have lost a couple of significant heritage sites that have deteriorated since the last inventory. Faced with the cost of preserving and maintaining unused structures, private owners have opted to let time take its toll. Could earlier community recognition of their historic significance have resulted in joint private and public initiatives to preserve and repurpose these structures?

For the rural municipality, this is now pretty much a hypothetical question. A few years ago, we started drawing up a heritage tour of the R.M. The plan was put on hold when we realized that, given trends towards agribusiness and changing transportation patterns, most of those old sites where schools and churches once served as hubs for small but vibrant communities are now cultivated fields. With removal of the railway lines, elevators and train stations have disappeared and with declining rural population, small town businesses are closing. Our rural area has become, in effect, a graveyard of local history. The issue now for the CDMHAC is which of these rural or small town sites should be commemorated by a ‘gravestone’ in the form of a monument or sign.

On a much more positive note, we must acknowledge how much we have appreciated working with David Butterfield over the past several years. MHACs like ours have been inspired by his knowledge and enthusiasm for local heritage. We are delighted that, unlike our heritage sites, he has been successfully ‘repurposed’ as a consultant.

David Butterfield (left) and CDMHAC President
Nedra Burnett at Special Places meeting

Promoting Local Heritage. The heritage community tends to be a close-knit group. Here in Carman/Dufferin we try to work closely with the Dufferin Historical Museum, particularly when it comes to pooling volunteer resources. This past week, the two groups promoted local heritage at the Carman Wellness Fair. We handed out our CDMHAC website business cards and introduced folks to the new Cemetery Guide along with information on designated heritage sites in the district. The Museum tested visitors' skill at identifying pioneer artifacts and promoted their plan for collecting stories of early Carman, a project that expands on work begun earlier this year by Wes Vanstone. Their intent is to collect and publish150 stories by 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Ina Bramadat (CDMHAC website) promotes
heritage projects at local Wellness Fair

We also had an opportunity to tell folks about some of the upcoming Museum events that you will want to put on your calendar:

November 16 – Museum Annual Meeting. Pot-luck at 6:30 p.m. with presentation at 7:30 by Gordon Goldsborough on his newly launched book about abandoned sites in Manitoba. Those who attended his earlier presentations were impressed with his vast knowledge and dedication to Manitoba heritage.


Museum’s Caroll McGill and Shirley Snider
discuss local stories project with visitors

December 3 – Christmas at the Museum. Everyone is looking forward as well to launching the holiday season at this annual gala featuring sleigh rides, food and entertainment.

June 24, 2017 – Official opening of newly renovated Boyne School. More about this event later.



October 2016

CDMHAC Update. Nothing new to report at the moment—just tidying up this past year’s projects and planning for the coming year. It’s been a good time as well to take a few moments to browse among those old local newspapers (Carman Standard and Dufferin Leader) which can be accessed online through the Pembina Manitou Archive.

You’ll get a fascinating insight into life in our community—ads for businesses that were operating at the time, graphic opinions on politics, details of what everyone local was doing, not to mention happenings on the global scene. And if you like corny old jokes you’ll get a lot of chuckles from these papers.

To give an idea of what you’ll find, here is an ad from back in 1908 that suggests that our present Reeve may have inherited some of his drive and enterprising business spirit from an earlier namesake:

And here’s one of the items from the Dufferin Leader, January 4, 1900:


  • A daily mail service.

  • The erection of a fire hall.

  • The standing of our public school raised.

  • Stage connections with Morden, via Pomeroy and Roland.

  • Someone to tell us where those fire companies have gone to.

  • A by-law prohibiting teams from being left untied on the streets.

  • A lacrosse team worthy the support of all true lovers of clean sport.

  • Economy consistent with progress in our municipal management.

  • A guard rail on the southeast approach to the Villard Avenue bridge.

  • Some effort towards organizing a fire company that will have some existence beyond name.

  • An Agricultural and Horticultural Society with some snap to it and an exhibition worthy of the name.

  • Information posted up in every shop and public place directing where the chemical engines may be found.

  • A railway station that will not only be more commodious, but also a credit to the C.P.R. and an ornament to the town.

  • Owners and tenants required to keep the streets in front of their property free from weeds, refuse and other unsightly objects.

The Town has made lots of progress since 1900. What would you put on that wish list today?

Besides giving a glimpse of the past, old newspapers can be a treasure trove for anyone searching for family members who lived in the area. One of our greatest satisfactions from working with the website has been from helping folks locate an obituary, news item or business ad that gives an important clue to their past. I can personally attest to the thrill of these discoveries, having just returned from a trip to Ireland, visiting the village near Kilkenny where my great-grandmother grew up. After almost 40 years of searching for information about her birthplace on the usual genealogical sites, it turned up in her obituary which was published in one of our early 1901 papers. Let us know if we can help you in your own search for your local roots.

Museum news. Volunteers have been extra busy this last while getting Boyne School ready for the July 2017 opening. The interior painting is coming along well; electrical work is still to be done. Grandparents’ Day was not as well attended as planners hoped, however the Amazing Race day was successful again this year with 83 people (21 teams) visiting the Museum.

A project is underway in which volunteers plan on collecting 150 local stories in recognition of Canada’s 150th anniversary this coming year. Interviewers are pretty excited about their results so far. Good luck, everyone.

August 2016

NEW ON OUR WEBSITE.   Our Guide to Carman-Dufferin Cemeteries is now online.
Tour the nine public cemeteries and learn more about their location, history and layout, changing styles and materials of gravestones, symbolic meaning of designs, and changing craftsmanship. You will also find a section on location and background information on abandoned burial sites.

The cemetery project began last fall with visits to each of our public cemeteries and initial photos of most of the grave markers.  In larger cemeteries such as Carman Greenwood, we photographed samples or small sections of the cemetery, looking for examples of different styles, materials and craftsmanship, interesting inscriptions, symbols and motifs.

Description: C:\Users\Ina\Searches\Pictures\Ann Gray gravestone detail.tif
Evening primrose, symbolizing eternal love, memory, youth, hope and sadness

It was a fascinating project, partly because we learned how much more there is to see when you know what to look for, even in places you have visited all your life. Winter storms and soggy spring days were welcomed as an excuse for escaping into research and writing. 

The final products are: 1) a guide to the nine public cemeteries in the municipalities, plus a section on abandoned burial sites; 2) a brochure with map of cemetery locations and QR code to access online version of the guide, and 3) signs which will be placed in cemeteries, giving QR code access to online guide content specific to the cemetery.  The guide can be accessed online now; brochures and signs will available this fall.

May 2016

Special Places project. In 2015, consultant Lorne Thompson completed an inventory of 152 local heritage sites. Over the winter months, folks from the Historic Resources Branch did a further analysis and evaluation of the inventory and identified some 30 places that rank high on a list of sites that merit special heritage recognition. CDMHAC will be looking carefully at the short-list and will be working with the Branch to see what can be done to preserve these important parts of our heritage.

Shirley Snider, David Butterfield and Nedra Burnett discuss the project
(photo Ina Bramadat)

Dufferin Historical Museum has a busy schedule of events lined up for the summer including:

Women’s Suffrage Tea – May 12th, 2016 featuring a Nellie McClung theme
Pioneer Day – June 17th with the usual array of pioneer demonstrations and
Grandparents Day – September 10th
Keep up to date with Museum activities at:

The Museum is pleased to announce that student Emily Wiebe has been hired again this summer, starting work May 17. Work continues on renovations to the interior of Boyne School. One of the current challenges is finding ways to protect the buildings from pesky little varmints such as squirrels and woodpeckers. As one strategy to deter Woody and friends, a fake owl will be mounted on the roof.

Wes Vanstone pursues local history. Applause for Rosebank resident Wes Vanstone who has been following through diligently on his interest in the history of businesses in Carman during the 1948–52 era. He has been interviewing folks who recall those years. His research led to trying to learn more about “The Island”. As many still remember, it was formed by a loop in the Boyne River and accessed by a footbridge. The area became history when the bend in the river was eliminated and the highway extended straight north rather than curving picturesquely through town. Wes shared his findings with various groups and created a lot of interest in earlier days. He is working on a map which can be seen, along with coverage of his quest, in The Valley Leader, April 14, 2016. Way to go, Wes!

Missouri Trail. Another group of local folks is in pursuit of the exact point that the Missouri trail crossed the Boyne River east of Carman. The Missouri Trail or Hunters’ Trail skirted the huge Boyne Swamp to the east of present-day Carman and was the main route south for fur traders and buffalo hunters, later for settlers to the area. Tales abound of the grooves left by oxcarts and of the remnants of gravestones from the Kennedy Burial site found near the crossing.

Marker from Kennedy Burial Site   Missouri Trail Sign unveiled 1961

A small party of enthusiasts recently visited the site and are sure they have pinpointed the location. This is all part of CDMHAC efforts to restore a sign marking the point where the trail crossed Highway #3. The Dufferin Historical Society erected a sign at this location in 1961; however, it later was removed by a landowner.

February 2016

Memorial Hall Open House. The Town of Carman and R.M. of Dufferin had an opportunity to showcase the new look at the Memorial Hall October 25 when they hosted an Open House for members of the community.

Applause for the Valley Leader. For great coverage of the Memorial Hall Open House, renovations and memories past, check out editions of the Valley Leader from January 21, January 28 and February 4. Our local newspaper staff are to be commended for their excellent coverage of this and other heritage-related events. A big “Thank You”, Valley Leader. Our lives are richer from knowing about our past.

Louis Riel Day - February 15. Speaking of the past, how much thought will we give on Feb. 15 to the way in which Riel’s life touched upon our local history? CDMHAC’s major project at the moment is restoring a sign marking where the Missouri Trail passed though Dufferin. Also known as the Hunters’ Trail, this was the route taken by buffalo hunters and fur-traders long before it became the main conduit for settlers who homesteaded along the Boyne. The Métis had no permanent settlements in the area but used the land for pasturing cattle and hay rights. The meeting of these two groups set the stage for our local connection with Louis Riel and his mission.
Much of what is written about Louis Riel is biographical, colourful and controversial; people tend to see him as a ‘sinner or a saint’. Unfortunately, the bigger issue of his impact on our transition from territory to province often gets lost in the shuffle. Manitoba historian J.S. Bumsted1 fills in some of the historical pieces by documenting the legal, political and social context in which Riel played out his life.

Two of the situations he describes have particular relevance to our own history. The first is the way in which western delegates were ‘hoodwinked’ by promises from Eastern politicians; the second, actions of the Canada First movement that fueled and polarized racial and religious differences. The Anglo-Protestant group helped set the stage for conflict by re-casting Thomas Scott as the poster-boy of ‘Orange’ martyrdom and promoting settlement of the western territories as a strike against popery.

See more

Sequel to Kidnapping Tale. In January, Lilla Letkeman told the story of her search for the truth about a family kidnapping tale. (See Part I: Kidnapping at Snowflake – News and Events, January, 2016). Since then she has continued the search and provides this update:

“After writing the first part of my story, I continued in my research and can add the following details about the kidnapper and events. I learned that the kidnapper, prison escapee Bill Mine, was a man of about 40, good looking and well dressed. He had been working in the area for a couple of months, but had never met teacher Miss Price. After he allowed teacher Eleanor Price to leave captivity, he remained in the Snowflake area for the next few days.

See more


December 2015

Christmas at the Museum 2015. The Dufferin Historical Museum held its annual Christmas at the Museum celebration December 5. The evening featured Christmas carols, sleigh rides to see the lights of Carman as well as refreshments, children’s activities and a visit from Santa. Diane Gillingham shared two delightful short stories from her memories of early Christmases in rural Manitoba. Lovely start to the festive season.

Not too sure about this…                                     Diane Gillingham remembers Christmas

Sheila & Brad Wiebe with Jake Derksen (front) entertain with carols

Centennial of Vote for Manitoba Women. On Jan. 28, 1916, Manitoba became the first province in Canada to grant women the right to vote in provincial elections. Our Carman/Dufferin connection to the event is through one of our own Notable People, Sir Rodmond P. Roblin, whose declaration that “Nice women don’t want the vote!” helped fuel the successful campaign of women’s activists such as Nellie McClung.

Rodmond Palen Roblin                            Nellie McClung

In 1914, McClung played the role of then Premier Roblin in a mock Women's Parliament in which women debated whether men should have the right to vote or to other rights currently denied to women. McClung was a witty speaker and a great mimic. Her mastery of Premier Roblin’s well-known mannerisms and speech and her clever reversal of his own rhetoric to argue against granting men the right to vote, underlined the absurdity of his position. The performance brought down the house with laughter and received front-page coverage in local newspapers. The opposition Liberal Party espoused the cause; when the Roblin government was defeated in the 1915 election, the Liberals passed the first legislation in Canada granting women the vote.

Equality for women was an idea whose time had come and Nellie McClung continued to serve as a vocal messenger. She went west to Alberta, where she became an MLA and one the "Famous Five" Alberta women who initiated and won the ‘Persons Case’ to have women recognized for the first time as persons under the BNA Act. She also worked to secure women's property rights and the Dower Act, factory safety legislation, old age pensions and public health nursing services. She campaigned for the rights of Aboriginal and Asian women, acceptance of European immigrants during WWII and ordination of women in the United Church. McClung was the first woman on the CBC Board of Governors and, in 1938, she was the only woman on the Canadian delegation to the League of Nations.

Among Nellie McClung’s more memorable one-liners were:

“People still speak of womanhood as if it were a disease.”
“Disturbers are never popular—nobody ever really loved an alarm clock in action—no matter how grateful they may have been afterwards for its kind services!”
“Never explain; never retract; never apologize. Get the job done and let them howl.”

For more information, see:

Memorable Manitobans: Rodmond P. Roblin and Nellie McClung
Nellie McClung Foundation
Heritage Minutes: Nellie McClung


Finding the Real Family Story. Any doubts folks may have had about the wisdom of funding digitalization of our local history books and early newspapers are being quickly laid to rest as awareness and use of these resources increases. They are of special value to budding genealogists who are searching for information on ancestors who once lived in the area.

One of our past C/D MHAC members, Lilla Letkemann [photo, left], has tracked her family tree back through United Empire Loyalist roots to the 1700s, but she recently discovered that one of the family’s most fascinating stories lies right here in Manitoba.

Here’s the story in her own words:

Kidnapping at Snowflake

Have you ever struggled trying to bring back a memory? While doing some family history, I thought I recalled a story my father told me about a cousin of his who was a teacher in the Snowflake area.

Apparently she was kidnapped, and my grandfather and great grandfather were part of a posse that went off looking for her. My dad always said she sang hymns to her captive until he fell asleep, and then she escaped. That is basically all I could remember. One problem… neither of my two sisters could remember anything about it! They thought I must have dreamt it, or read about it and imagined the rest. After searching everywhere I could think of for more details, I went into the Carman library this week, and thanks to the very helpful staff there, the mystery was solved!

See more

November 2015

Memorial Hall Re-Opens. The Town of Carman and R.M. of Dufferin have moved their offices back into the renovated Memorial Hall. Still a few glitches in the new elevator and the basement is still to be finished, otherwise staff are settling happily into their new quarters.

New open look at the Memorial Hall

Memorial Hall offices – view from the door

The only interior areas that remain unchanged are the front stairwell and the Memorial Room. As Rod McPherson, past President Carman Legion points put in this week’s Valley Leader, the Memorial Hall was the first WWI memorial building in Western Canada. It is a designated municipal heritage site and stands on consecrated ground. If you haven’t been there, plan on visiting the Memorial Room to view tributes to our local war dead and admire the graceful Herald of Peace statue donated in 1920 by the I.O.D.E.

WWI Airmen. Speaking of the Memorial Room, we’ve received another interesting bit of information from our website contact, Eileen McGavin McIntyre. You may recall that she is the granddaughter of former Carman physician Dr. Andrew McGavin, and that, a while back, she sent photos and material from her grandfather’s days in Carman. She is still sorting through family memorabilia and has located more material of interest to this area.

During WWII, Eileen McIntyre’s father, Kenneth McGavin, served with the RCAF. Among his effects are photos he took of the graves of two other airmen from Carman who were killed in action and buried in cemeteries in Scotland. Sergeant Oscar Jensen served as a wireless operator and gunner; he died August 9,1942, at age 26. Sergeant Paul Sanders, a pilot with the RCAF, died in action March 18,1942; he was just 20 years of age. Both men are commemorated in the Memorial Room and on the Commonwealth War Graves site. It’s November, and this e-mail is a poignant reminder of why we observe Remembrance Day.

Grave of Oscar Jensen                                   Grave of Paul Sanders


Dufferin Historical Museum. The Annual General Meeting of the Museum was held November 18 at Grace St. John’s Church. Combining business and fellowship, the meeting was preceded by a bountiful pot-luck supper.

Museum members plan for 2016 at the AGM

Jack McKinnon relives his early days of aerial photography

Jack McKinnon gave an overview of the 30 years he spent recording aerial photographs in the province and presented a proposal for ‘backing up’ the Museum’s original photos by scanning them to an external hard drive. A positive spin-off of the proposal is the impetus it’s given to both the Museum and CDMHAC to discuss our policies on digital scanning and use of digital images. This is a hot issue in a world that is being inundated with social media.

The Museum will be hosting its annual Christmas Tea December 5th and has ambitious plans for the coming year.


Early Health Care. Our second e-mail communication was from a contact who was searching for her great-grandfather‘s grave. Francis “Frank” Jessop was one of the early, pre-1885 settlers in the Almassippi district north-west of present-day Carman. His obituary, which we located in The Carman Standard for July 24, 1894 (online through Pembina Manitou Archive), confirms the family’s understanding that he was buried in Carman Cemetery. Unfortunately, the grave doesn’t have a headstone nor does it appear on cemetery records. It’s been long suspected that the cemetery has early unmarked graves; now we know that this is likely the case, but we still have no clues to the exact location(s).

The obituary is of interest as well for the insight it provides into the life of our early settlers. Frank Jessop is described as a man “much liked by his neighbours for his kindly and generous nature” who had served as councillor in the Elm River area. When he came west in1881, his family remained in Ontario. Other families have reported finding the winters and living conditions too harsh to bring women and children west. Jessop’s farm was in an area known as locally as “Scrubtown”. The Dufferin history book (p. 38) describes it as an area with “heavy brush and a lot of scrub to be cleared”, other areas being “low and swampy”. Apparently the conditions affected Frank Jessop’s health and he was said to have been “suffering for three years from complications of diseases brought on by exposure when living on his own farm.” Since fall of the previous year, he had been unable to leave his house and for two months was confined to bed and cared for in the Peter Robertson home. Mrs. Robertson is credited with providing “unceasing care” and doing “all in human power could do to make his last days easier”, though he suffered from continual pain.

Stories like this provide some insight into the tremendous need for doctors, nurses and hospital care in settlements that were rapidly growing up across Manitoba. That is why the work of Eileen McGavin McIntyre’s grandfather, Dr. McGavin, and others like him still hold a special place in the histories of our community. It also provides a convenient segue to this month’s Vintage Photos on the development of hospital-based services in the Carman/Dufferin area.

Growth of institutional care, of course, is only part of our health-care heritage. Some of us still remember when doctors made home visits. And, as seen in this ad from 1905, registered nurses also provided private duty care in patients’ homes or nursing homes.

Ad in The Dufferin Leader Feb 2 1905

Mrs. Smith’s Nursing Home

During the 1930’s, Mrs. Smith’s Nursing Home in Carman was another of the nursing homes that offered care for the terminally ill as well as for birthing mothers (Valley Leader, March 27, 2009).

We’ll look some other time at Public Health, home care, personal care homes and other programs that are an equally important part of our health services heritage. But to come back to hospital care for a moment - it was just 40 years ago that the first hospital-based palliative care program began in Canada (at St. Boniface Hospital, 1975, under Dr. Paul Hentelef); the first unit was set up in Carman Hospital in 1995. What is striking about this ‘modern’ hospital program is how closely its underlying precepts (providing compassionate end-of-life care in a home-like setting open to family and friends) mirror the “unceasing care” Mrs. Robertson provided for Frank Jessop in her own home, while doing “all in human power to make his last days easier.” His obituary is a fitting tribute to Mrs. Robertson and other early settlers whose compassion and presence helped family and neighbours through their final days.

C/DMHAC 2016–18. November is when our committee submits plans for the coming year. This year saw completion of our 2013-15 Heritage Resource Management Plan (HRMP) and some soul-searching on objectives for the next three years.

We identified a couple of areas where human resources fell short of our good intentions. Student involvement and engagement of schools and local teachers in heritage projects has been one of our less productive areas. Over the next three years, C/DMHAC will continue to seek out members with interest in heritage and background in education to develop this aspect of our mandate.

Another objective that wasn’t realized was our plan to sponsor heritage activities in small/former communities across the rural municipality. There are fewer of us each year who recall the pre-1950s era, that time before reliable autos and good roads, when each small community had its own strong social and commercial identity. If any of you are interested in helping preserve this part of our heritage, a few of the projects you might get involved in are: collecting local stories and family histories, histories of Century Farms and property ownership; attending genealogy workshops; organizing local heritage fairs; or helping extend signage to rural sites. If any of these ideas is of interest, we’d love to hear from you.

On the other hand, we’ve reasonably successful in getting heritage information to the public through signage, website updates and funding digitalization of early newspapers. Local media coverage of heritage events has been excellent.

2016-18 Heritage Resource Management Plan (118 KB) pdf

October 2015

Museum Tea. Dufferin Historical Museum held a tea Sept. 11 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s achieving the longest reign of any monarch in British history. Visitors enjoyed tea and home-baked scones and viewed an impressive number of displays of royal artifacts. Among the highlights was a large display of royal memorabilia loaned for the occasion by Donna Cameron.

Donna Cameron shows visitors some of her collection of royal memorabilia

MP Candice Bergen brings the federal government’s message of
congratulations to the Queen

Special Places Project.
Consultant Lorne Thompson completed his portion of the Special Places Project, documenting some 175 sites in Carman /Dufferin. Nedra Burnett will be adding to the inventory and revising it over the coming months.

Missouri Trail Sign. Shirley Snider and her committee are moving ahead with plans to replace the Missouri Trail sign, formerly located where the trail crossed what is now Highway #3 east of Carman. The original sign was designed and erected in 1961 by the Dufferin Historical Society.

The Museum photo collection includes the two images shown below. The first is a view of the unveiling in 1961. This photo shows the rear view of the sign, however the map and legend are difficult to decipher. The second is a view of the front of the sign taken during a motorcade visit in 1963.

The Committee would like to know if anyone has photos, information or stories about the Missouri Trail or the original sign. And does anyone know for sure where the trail crossed the Boyne River?

Unveiling the sign in 1961

Motorcade visit in 1963
To view larger image, click here

Cemetery project.
In every successful project, you learn something new. Hopefully, not just a bunch of facts, but information that changes how you look at some small part of the world. From that perspective, our latest project should be a winner.

C/DMHAC received a heritage grant this summer to develop a brochure with a map of Carman/Dufferin cemeteries. A QR code on the brochure will take viewers with smartphones to an online guide that highlights features to look for in each of our nine local cemeteries, including changing styles and materials, interesting inscriptions, the meaning of designs found on the markers and so forth. Data collection is well under way with the hope of completing much of the first phase of the project before snowfall.

For a sneak preview of what we’re finding, here’s the first grave marker we looked at.

Marble column in Roseisle Cemetery

Close-up of details

Most of us would recognize the materials in this marker. It’s made of marble, resting on a limestone base and stabilized on a cement foundation which was possibly exposed by many years of soil erosion. From the materials and column style you’ll likely guess it’s from the early 1900s. And you might admire the pretty design, but would you recognize the symbolism of the flowers—the calla lily (beauty, marriage) and the lily-of-the-valley (an early Spring flower representing renewal and resurrection)?

It turned out there’s a lot more to learn about this marker. This is where the expertise of our resource person, Murray Billing, comes in. Recently retired from family-owned Carman Granite, Murray is lending his special knowledge to the project by identifying different techniques, processes and materials used in creating the markers. He explained, for example, that those sharp, v-shaped letters were done by hand with a chisel. We’ll explain this process and others later in our guide. And did you notice where the name has been corrected? I didn’t. But it was obvious after Murray pointed out the faint markings at each end of the name, combined with a slight cupping that could be felt where the soft marble surface had been ground down. There was more to be learned but we’ll leave a few insights for the finished project.

That was just the first gravestone, and we’ve already learned a few things and become more observant. Hope you’ll look for our guide and more information next summer when the project is completed.

July 2015

Swimming Pool Sign. The Boyne Swimming Pool sign is finally up.

Sean Billing of Carman Granite and assistant installing sign

Local author Margaret Riddell is seen below examining the new sign.
View a larger image of the sign.

Margaret wrote the text for the sign as well as the article from the Valley Leader reproduced in an earlier News and Events (March 2014). She and her husband are among the folks who, for many years, have cleared and kept up the site near their home.

Soldier honoured. A rose was planted July 1 in the Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden to honour WWI casualty Dorval Saunders. On the local cenotaph, stars mark the names of those who gave their lives for their country. For some reason we will never know, a star never got placed by Dorval’s name and he was not among those recognized last July as part of the WWI anniversary celebrations (News and Events July 2014).

Aiden and Cassie Saunders plant rose in honour of Dorval Saunders

Judy (Saunders) Penner reads tribute to Dorval Saunders at rose-planting ceremony

But by some stroke of destiny or good fortune, Stephanie Fraser from Winnipeg read the write-up of that event on our website. She wrote us to say she had letters that two of our WWI soldiers had written to her grandmother, Zelma Hood. Zelma lived at Learys, west of Roseisle, and like many young women on the home front, she had faithfully corresponded with these lonely young soldiers serving overseas. Their letters were pressed between the pages of a copy book and remained in pristine condition over the past century.

Active e-mail correspondence has taken place over the last few months. Stephanie returned the original letters to the grateful families of the two soldiers. We discovered in the process that both young men, Dorval Saunders and Iver Werseen, had died in the Battle of Vimy Ridge (see War Memorials). Members of Carman Legion #18 have now arranged to have a star placed by Dorval’s name on the Roseisle cenotaph.

In one of his letters to Zelma, Dorval Saunders wrote (Sept., 1916) : “If I could only put my feet under my father’s table again, I would never leave.” He never got his wish but thanks to the happy congruence of Stephanie Fraser’s interest in family heritage, the diligent research that linked her to our CDMHAC website, and the Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden’s thoughtful tribute to our war dead, Dorval has a permanent place of honour in his home soil.
Zelma later married Frederick Guise Stevens; both are buried in Roseisle Cemetery.

June 2015

Condolences. Our condolences to CDMHAC Chair, Nedra Burnett, whose sister Irene died after a brief hospitalization. These are times when family memories and heritage are very much in our minds.

Welcome. We are pleased to officially welcome Jane Swanton to the CDMHAC as our new Town of Carman Council representative. The Dufferin Historical Museum also is among the several committees on which she sits, so we are fortunate in that Jane’s appointment forges another link amongst our local heritage bodies.

Special Places Project. Consultant Lorne Thompson has completed an initial inventory of Carman town sites that are of interest from a heritage perspective. He has visited and photographed approximately 90 houses, 13 commercial structures, one government building, and one hall. Many of the sites have been renovated and a few have disappeared since the last comprehensive inventory in the 1980s. Lorne now has current photos and has updated ownership where possible. A lot of homeowners weren’t at home when he visited so he still has some contacts to make. Lorne still has to do an inventory of rural sites—these, unfortunately, are now relatively few in number.

When all this information is collected, the list will be pared down until a few key sites are identified as high priority for preservation. We look forward to the final product later this year.

Lorne Thompson hears with interest about an owner’s restoration

With the original trim back in place and the veranda restored,
it will look as good as old.

QR Cemetery Tour. CDMHAC has just received confirmation of a heritage grant to prepare a brochure and guide on cemeteries in the Town and R M of Dufferin. Using QR code technology, viewers will be able to access an online guide that outlines special features of the cemetery including styles of tombstones, materials used and meaning of symbolism on the grave markers. You’ll be hearing more about this project in the coming months.

Museum Events. The Dufferin Historical Museum folks have been busy as always in promoting local heritage. The Museum is now open for the summer. They had to cancel the BBQ fund-raiser due to foul weather but everyone is in high spirits as they plan for Pioneer Days on June 19 and for a Harvest Tea and hosting the AMM AGM this autumn.

July 1 Celebrations. Up in the west end of Dufferin, folks are getting ready for the annual July 1 festivities. Heritage plays an important part in the celebration. It’s a time when former residents return ‘home’ to renew connections with the past and in many cases, to pay their respects to family members who are among our ‘permanent’ residents in the local cemetery. This year the community also will honour a previously unidentified local WWI casualty, Dorval Saunders, by planting a rose in the Memorial Rose Garden. It was thanks to one of our website readers that the community learned that Dorval had died at Vimy Ridge and that he should have been among the soldiers honoured in last year’s ceremony. More news on this event in the next update.

Heritage can be Fun! Part of the Roseisle July 1 preparations involves getting a series of cartoon figures in place. The community has a bit of fun with its heritage through a series of plywood cartoon cut-outs created by local artist Karen Adamson. Visitors love to pose for pictures with the figures. Among the favourites is this representation of the first post-master and his wife, the folks who gave the town its name.

Mary Breukelman and children pose as Mr. & Mrs. Alex Begg—and dog.

Other figures depict stories that are still told locally by old-time residents who recall “The Great Store Robbery” or “The Runaway Car”. Since you ask—here are their versions of these tales:

The Great Roseisle Store Robbery

(As recalled by Roseisle resident Hugh Clearwater)

The robbery took place when my Dad (Del Clearwater) lived in the house across from Guy Taylor’s place. I must have been 16 or 17 years old at the time. About two-thirty or three o’clock in the morning, Taylor came rushing up the stairs yelling “Get your gun! Get your gun! The store’s being robbed.

So we got our guns and headed for the store. I went around to the front of the store and there was a kind of ditch there. Dad stayed on the east side. All of a sudden the robbers blew the safe. It blew the door open and paint flew through the front of that store. There used too much dynamite. Anyway, I was standing out front and I guess they were hiding behind the counter or something. This man came out and I was standing there with the shotgun across my arm. I wasn’t pointing it. The robber had a revolver. If he had wanted he could have shot me I guess. He decided I wasn’t going to shoot so he took off west just a-running.

There was boardwalk going east down past Taylor’s. You could hear one going down the boardwalk. It took hours for the policeman to come up from Carman. It was just the old town cop in those days. They never got the robbers. But I was lucky the robber didn’t shoot or I wouldn’t be telling this story today.

‘The Great Store Robbery’ as depicted by local artist K. Adamson

The Runaway Car

(Another Roseisle story as told by Hugh Clearwater)

Dave lived about three miles north of town. His wife Leafy was a big woman. She used to wear one of those great big round hats with flowers on it.

Dave had an old Chevy car he was really proud of. You could always tell when they were coming to town because it sounded like an airplane.

Dave was always doing something crazy. When they got to town one day he took out a piece of string and tied the car up to the hitching post at Taylor’s store. He said the car was so frisky he had to tie it up. Dave went into the store and Leafy stayed in the car. George C. came along and was standing talking to Leafy with one leg up on the running-board.

In those days, you had to crank the car to start it. So when Dave came back out, he untied the car and then he went around front and cranked it. And away it went— bouncing down the street. Dave forgot he’d left the car in gear. George C. was sent flying. Leafy was sitting in front but she didn’t have a clue what to do.

Well, Dave managed to pull the crank out and he was running along ahead, looking back over his shoulder. And the car just kept bouncing along—until it went down into the ditch. Leafy’s hat fell off, dust was rolling out the back…. If it hadn’t gone in the ditch—that car would still be going…

‘The Runaway Car’, recreated with the help of Roseisle residents Robin, Yuriko & Shirley

March 2015

Georges Picton. Carman Dufferin Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee members were shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the death this week of committee member ‘George’ Picton. He was in his second term as Town Council representative on the committee. George was the ideal committee member—always present, on time, well prepared for meetings, and tremendously encouraging and supportive of our work; but it was his practical wisdom and quiet humour that particularly endeared him to the group. After our January meeting, George admitted he was worried about a biopsy he was having the following day; less than two months later he is gone from our lives. We’ll dearly miss you, George.


February 2015.
Not much else to report this month in the way of news and events. It’s been a cold month and other than those hardy souls who have been out on local cross-country ski trails, down at the rink curling or watching hockey, a lot of folks have stayed indoors longing for the first signs of spring.

Browsing Old Newspapers. As for the CDMHAC , we’ve been working behind the scenes preparing for another busy summer. Issues of the early Dufferin Leader which are now available online ( have helped us pass many a frigid day as well as turning up lots of interesting news items. Knowing that for heritage buffs, old news is good news, we’d like to give you an idea of the gems you’ll find in the early papers.

Early Ads. One of the first things to catches your eye are the ads with those unbelievably low prices, such as those featured by the A.F. Higgins Co. Store in the Dufferin Leader, Feb.25, 1915:

Prices may not be that impressive when converted to present-day values but they still make you long for the ‘good old days’.

‘Corny’ Jokes. On the lighter side, if those old vaudeville style jokes appeal to your sense of humour, you’ll love the fact that the early newspapers so liberally used jokes as fillers throughout the paper:

Mother: Bobby, you’re a selfish little boy. Why didn’t you share a piece of your apple with your sister?
Bobby: But, I did. I gave her the seeds – she can plant them and grow a whole orchard.

“But, Captain”, said the lovely young lady, coquettishly, “ will you love me when I grow old and ugly?” “My dear lady”, the soldier gallantly replied, ”You may grow older but you will never grow uglier.” And he wondered why their friendship ceased so suddenly.

Arrival of Spring. For those of us who are looking for signs of winter’s end, an early edition of the Dufferin Leader reminds us that anticipation of the spring is nothing new. On March 21, 1900, staff reported in a tongue-on-cheek news item that:

The rumble of wheels is once more in our midst, and the merry jingle of sleigh bells is no longer heard in our streets. Surely spring is at hand and the busy farmer will shortly go forth to sow, and everyone will rejoice because the days of hoary frost when the thermometer doubles the tens below zero shall have fled and the coal bill will no longer trouble the anxious householder. The young lambs shall skip and play and the small boy will make the evenings hideous with his yelling …while the bicycle club will once more assemble, make one evening’s run and disband for the season. The lacrosse club and the tennis club and the football club will begin to say it is time to organize. Then will they send challenges to the four corners of the province….the flowers shall flourish and the green grass and the budding leaf will make all things lovely, therefore everyone in his heart sayeth, “Come, gentle spring with all thy fragrance come.”

Reminder from 2014 of the fragrance of Spring to come

Road conditions. Of course, the flip side of the spring thaw was that it also brought flooding and muddy roads. From the days of the Boyne Marsh, drainage was a major issue throughout the rural municipality as well as areas to the east. Premier Roblin weighed in on the issue of all that water running east from the escarpment with the comment that “by the laws of gravity the water would flow in the direction it did, whether there were rains or not, and in any event the municipalities lower down must expect to be put to a greater expense than those higher up.” (Dufferin Leader, Feb. 25, 1915). Wonder where his votes came from?

Spring roads were often impassible and, for some parts of the rural municipality, water problems persisted well past March. A letter to the editor (Dufferin Leader, Aug. 2, 1900) proclaimed:

In Roseisle we have much cause for complaint, but as a rule we suffer in silence. Our road leading to Carman along Secs. 22,23 has been in a deplorable wet condition. For 15 years we have had to plod through mud and mire, causing much inconvenience and loss, when a ditch run now partly opened, straight south about one mile would relieve us of all the trouble. This year being so dry would be suitable to have the work done. Again, a road north from the school for three miles also has been promised for three years, but we must find a way as best we can, causing much inconvenience and loss of time. Now sir, are we to be compelled to pay taxes and yet get no road?

Last election was so quietly conducted we never heard of it until it was long past and had no chance to choose a suitable man as councillor. We had no choice, no say and no share in our tax money. When will the next election be?” Signed : “A Taxpayer in Roseisle” .

Rural road near Roseisle c. 1900

Road improvements weren’t too far in the future, thanks to the arrival of the automobile. Almost exactly 100 years ago, an ad in the Dufferin Leader (Feb. 25, 1915) asked local farmers:

Is it three hours to town in a buckboard—or thirty minutes in a sturdy Ford? More than seventeen thousand Canadian farmers drive Fords because they make the necessary trips to town during the busy season in the shortest possible time—at the smallest possible expense—and they don’t eat when they aren’t working.

Fast forward to 2015.
There’s been a lot of water under and over our bridges in the past 115 years. Rail transportation has come—and gone—as have most of those complaints about driving through mud and mire. Drainage ditches have dried local marshland, bringing it under cultivation; farmers are now looking to tile drainage and irrigation to produce that extra few bushels of grain. Roblin’s laws of gravity still pull spring run-off eastward and wash out local roads, but these days,a paved highway connects Carman with the western boundaries of Dufferin and roads are well maintained. Most ratepayers would agree that the area is now well served by local councillors—and the concept of silent politicians leaves one scratching their head in awe.

Spring run-off still forges east towards Carman/Dufferin and beyond - 2014

In keeping with this talk of roads and such, our Vintage Photos this month give a glimpse of early transportation in the area.

Website Feedback

Two Soldiers at Vimy. One of the most rewarding things about coordinating this website has been the contact with folks who have shared new information, photos, or memorabilia with us. In response to recent news items on our WWI project, we were contacted by Stephanie Fraser, the granddaughter of a young woman who had corresponded with two of our local soldiers. She had kept their responses carefully pressed inside an old school copy book. The letters provide a new dimension to the impersonal ‘facts-and-figures’ information that surfaced through our own research and gave insight into the war through the eyes of the young men themselves.

We learned from one set of these letters that: The thrill of enlisting was followed by months of drill and training at a home base, then more of the same in England, until finally: “there is another draft picked out [for France] and I am one of the lucky ones… the worst of it that M. and B. [buddies he enlisted with from home] can not go yet… but I am O.K.”

Soon he was off to France and a new camp: “The mud is just like at your place only deeper….sleeping 12 in a tent…you can’t keep clean or warm because you can’t dry your clothes…” “..not much I can tell you except it rains then rains again.”

The highlights of life were letters and parcels from home: “The [Ladies’ Aid] sent me a pair of socks, an undershirt and a pack of cards…. a change of clothes makes a fellow feel like a new man.” Troop entertainers helped relieve the boredom while they waited to go to the front line.

Another troop movement brought the reality of war: “Now I’m getting down to real stuff….I can hear the big guns now and see the flares – it just sounds like thunder and lightning…I’ve got along fine, so far…..You know I just enlisted to do what I could and I have never yet felt sorry for doing so although I found it hard to leave you…When I left I intended to get back as soon as possible and as I am about to go into the trenches now, it is just like this – if there is a Bullet with my initials on it I’m going to get it, that’s all, so don’t worry about me…I am sure we will meet again but if anything should happen to me, just let it pass over you – we have only been friends so far….”

Then a final letter: “I’m looking forward to the time when we won’t have to write letters, aren’t you? .... I hope the birds are singing, the river running and green grass showing up when you get this letter. Read it and just imagine I am there just to cheer you up.” Five days later, the Bullet with his initials on it found its mark during the assault on Vimy Ridge; no doubt this final letter arrived after the telegram informing the family of his death.

Sadly, the grandmother’s second correspondent died two days later in the same battle.

‘Vimy Then’ from WWI album of W.A. Leary

Vimy Today

Thanks to Stephanie for sharing these letters with us and for finding homes for the originals with the soldiers’ families.

Dufferin Leader online. We are pleased to announce that copies of the Carman Dufferin Leader from 1898-1940 have been digitalized and now are available online through Hard copies of the Dufferin Leader 1936–2000 are held in the Dufferin Historical Museum. CDMHAC funded digitalization of both the Leader and the Carman Standard as part of an ambitious project in which the Pembina Manitou Archive has made a number of early Manitoba newspapers accessible through the internet. Hats off to them for their great work!

January 2015. Christmas at the Museum. At no time of year are local heritage and tradition more evident than during the Christmas season. Dufferin Historical Museum celebrated with its third annual “Christmas at the Museum” complete with horse drawn wagon rides, carols by the Animato singers, children’s activities, and piles of goodies and hot chocolate. Gordon Arnold read from his first novel, ‘Skippy’s War’ and, of course, Santa had the Museum on his list of special places to visit.

Santa and helper. Well done, Mrs. Claus, for getting Santa on a diet.

Animato singers and writer Gordon Arnold amidst artifacts

November 2014.
Congratulations to George Gray, who was elected Reeve of the RM of Dufferin in the October 22nd Municipal elections. George has been a long-time CDMHAC member and one of our staunchest supporters of local heritage. He comes by this interest naturally. George is the great-grandson of the George Gray for whom Graysville was named. He and his wife Noreen live on one of the oldest Century Farms in the municipality where they incorporated the original Gray dwelling into their own home.

Left–Right: Diane Gillingham (Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden), Candace Bergen (MP), Blaine Petersen (MLA) with George Gray (then Deputy Reeve, CDMHAC representative) at the WWI Anniversary service and monument dedication last July 1 in Roseisle.

We are delighted to have Georges Picton (Town of Carman) and Barrie Fraser (RM of Dufferin) back as Council representatives on the CDMHAC. Congratulations to both of them on being returned by acclamation in the recent municipal elections. Sheldon Harder, also elected in Ward 4 by acclamation, will serve as an alternate for the RM of Dufferin and will be a welcome addition to the committee.

Lorne Thompson, consultant for our “Special Places” heritage grant project, toured the district with CDMHAC members in October to get an overview of the heritage resources in Carman/Dufferin. Nice to get to know Lorne better. We are looking forward to working with him in the coming year.

More Support for Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden

Rod McPherson, on behalf of Carman Legion #18, presents a cheque to Marg Neumann, Diane & Grant Gillingham

Carman Legion #18 presented the Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden Committee with a cheque for $500 to help fund a monument which was placed in the garden this summer in memory of local soldiers who died in WWI.

The CDMHAC also helped fund the monument and assisted students in researching the lives of the local soldiers who died in the conflict (see Old News from July 2014). On November 11, the students mounted a display of their research and took part in a well-attended Remembrance Day service.

Rod McPherson, Carman Legion #18

July 2014
. Overcast skies and morning drizzle failed to dampen spirits or halt the WWI commemorative event July 1 in Roseisle. The community is known for its traditional Canada Day celebration—waffle breakfast, parade, tractor pull, lawn mower races, food, entertainment and spectacular fireworks. This year’s special heritage event added a new dimension to being ‘Canada Proud’.

Roseisle area sent 62 young men to war in 1914–18; eight of them did not return. Local students ages 10 to 15 each selected one of the soldiers to learn about their life and the circumstances of their death on the battlefield. On July 1, the students presented profiles of ‘their’ soldiers and placed name tags on roses they planted in a special section of the Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden.

Students at Memorial Rose Garden ceremony

Candace Bergen, MP, Blaine Petersen, MLA, and George Gray, Deputy Reeve, brought official greetings to a large audience that included relatives of the fallen soldiers.

Speaking on behalf of the Carman/Dufferin Councils and Carman/Dufferin Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee (CDMHAC), George Gray lauded the project for providing young people of the community with tools to learn about their past and help preserve and promote local heritage. CDMHAC made a financial contribution towards the monument and members of the Committee helped guide the students in their research.

George noted that “Three to four generations after the First World War, there aren’t too any of us left who personally knew veterans of WWI. For most folks, these soldiers have simply become a name and an initial on a plaque. We have to thank our students for reminding that these were real people, the sons of local families. Their loss was mourned by the entire community, many of whom feared they might be next to receive the dreaded casualty notice.”

On behalf of Carman Legion #18, local veteran Rod McPherson dedicated a monument that marks the special area of the garden. He said that “this was the most beautiful thing the community could have done” for our war dead.

See The Valley Leader, July 10, 2014, for additional coverage of the event. See also War Memorials for more information on the monument and profiles of the soldiers.

Visitors check out student displays

Hammond Avenue Home

Robert Martin of Calgary is trying to locate a photo of the home where his grandparents lived in Carman. He wrote: “In 1916, when my Grandfather when to war, the family, Jessie and George Wilson and children, moved to Carman, to an address the Census indicates as 226 Hammond Avenue [street or family number]. Current town maps show the new street and avenue numbers and not their original names…. The family chose Carman because my Grandmother’s family resided there (or in the vicinity). My Grandmother was a Harrison (Jessie Caroline), [sister of] John Harrison… “ The search is on; does anyone have information that would help Robert Martin locate a picture of the house?

Website Feedback: Olive Bowes on Changes in Carman

Olive Bowes, Carman teacher 1928–1969, is seated in the middle, front row. Does anyone know the other people in the group or the occasion of the gathering?

A number of items were forwarded to us by Eileen McIntyre, granddaughter of Dr. A. McGavin, who served the district from 1911 till his untimely death in 1948. With the collection was a letter written by Carman teacher Olive Bowes on July 4, 1969 to former students who were unable to attend her retirement reception in June of that year. Olive Bowes was born at Stephenfield in 1903 and taught in Carman for 41 years. Being a product of the prairies, she talks first about the weather and farming; she then describes some of the changes that occurred in Carman during her teaching years:

We have been having cool weather all spring. Our furnace has been on every day except four since January 1st. Lately we have been having very heavy rains. As a result much of the grain is standing in water. This is very serious as last year the farm crops received too much moisture. Then there was great difficulty in harvesting and later the work and cost of drying grain. Then there was little market for the grain.

As you all know the economy of Carman depends to a large extent upon the farmers. The landscape of Carman has also changed. The island has disappeared. The river now flows almost straight east from the Ryall Hotel to the former MacKenzie property. Highway No. 13 now runs directly north through the town and no longer circles the post office corner. I miss the island as I always thought it added to the beauty of the town. But for business purposes and travelling the new arrangement is much better.

Bridge over the Boyne River to ‘the island’

The Bank of Montreal and the Bank of Commerce have built new attractive banks. The old Bank of Commerce has been moved to the property south of the “Old School”. This year I believe it is to be used as an open area classroom for three grade two classes. But in the future the basement is probably to be made into a banquet room. The first floor is to be used as lodge rooms and the third floor is to contain two suites.

The new Boyne Lodge is located on the west road just east of the railway track or just north of the trestle bridge. It provides a comfortable, happy home for some seventy senior citizens. In the north end is the Legion Lodge, which provides most comfortable living quarters for single older people, or married couples.

Carman’s project for Manitoba’s Centennial Year is a new library, which the committee hopes to have built on a convenient downtown location.

The co-op has built a lovely new store where you can purchase drugs, clothing, hardware, meats and groceries. There is also a co-op lunch-room where meals and lunches are served. The co-op also sells fuel oil, fuel for engines, lumber and custom-made buildings.

There is a laundromat and there are two dry-cleaning establishments.

The water from the Boyne is filtered and purified and so is now used in almost all the homes. Wells have almost all disappeared. Little houses behind big houses are also a thing of the past. No longer do the police call at the school on Nov. 1st and take out a group of students to put up what they knocked down the night before because they have almost all disappeared.

The Carman memorial Hospital is very attractive and provides for forty patients. The hospital is serviced by two local men—Dr. Ken Cunningham and Dr. Clinton North—and a newcomer, Dr. Regehr. The hospital also provides ambulance service.

There are many lovely new homes scattered throughout all parts of the town and whole new streets of houses have been built on the eastern side of the town.The golf course is absolutely beautiful and boasts an attractive club house.

At certain times of the year the Ryall Hotel and the Carman Hotel have rustic beer gardens located on their premises. The Boyne Theatre is not nearly as well patronized as it used to be but perhaps this is due to the varied television programs. Good eating places are prevalent in town. Syl’s Drive-In, Co-op Lunch Counter, Fireside Inn, Ed’s Service Station, Campbell’s Lunch Counter, Ryall Hotel dining room, Rex Café and the York Café all provide nourishing meals. The B.C. Café opposite the post office has disappeared.

Remember the Boyne Theatre and the York Café next door?

Potatoes, carrots, and sugar beets are now produced in very large quantities. Aubin’s nursery produces fruit trees, shrubs, perennial flowers, etc. for an ever-increasing market. Mr. Hunt also has a small nursery. Vanderveen’s and Vandersluis’s have very large greenhouses where bedding plants are grown.

Riding horses are very popular and many young people are the proud owners of beautiful horses which they board on the neighbouring farms.

The collegiate is located on the eastern edge of the town and has ample space for outdoor sports. The elementary school located on the grounds where the old school was now has grades I to VIII located in it. But a large school building program is planned. Many rooms and a new auditorium are to be added to the collegiate and then the grades VII and VIII will be moved to the collegiate. New classrooms are also to be added to the elementary school. When I first taught in Carman, there were only eleven on the staff: now there are almost fifty on staff. Carman no longer has its own school board but the Midland Divisional Board has charge of all the schools in the area. Wingham, Elm Creek, Miami, Roseisle, Graysville, Sperling, Roland and Altamont are all under the Midland Board. Two of my former teachers live in Carman—Miss York and Mrs. Campbell.

The rink is now located in the park. The swimming pool run by the Kinsmen, is also in the park, which forms a beautiful setting for it.

Olive Bowes goes on to describe her June 29th retirement reception which was attended by over 800 guests. She also gives an outline of the program, gifts received and names of out-of-town attendees.

The letter provides a fascinating journey back in time and, even if the weather and the uncertainties of farming remain constant, other changes have continued to re-shape Carman in the forty-five years since Olive Bowes retired. The letter is now in the Dufferin Historical Museum, which also is the source of the above photos.

June 2014. This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of WWI. In the Carman/Dufferin area, the Memorial Hall has served as a day-to-day reminder of the “war to end all wars” and of the impact it had on communities far removed from the European battlefront. Erected by local citizens in 1919–20, the building and grounds are well deserving of their Municipal Heritage Site status.

The Legion maintains the Memorial Room in the building; in 1987, they erected a cenotaph on the grounds

Do you remember? Far from being a static tribute to the dead, the Hall has served over the years as the hub of municipal government, housing the offices of the R.M. and Town as well as  other services. Some of you may remember the corner office where you got your first driver’s licence. “Can you drive? Fine, here you are! Good luck.” Or the days when the Hall was an active social centre—with drama productions, talent shows and graduations in the upper level theatre? Or the Saturday night dances in the basement, dancing to waltzes, foxtrots and polkas, with live local music. Women may recall when the Memorial Hall Ladies’ Rest Room was the place where women socialized or waited while husbands located machinery parts or dropped in for a visit at the men-only facilities in town. 

Memorial Hall (June 2014). Veteran’s groups and others have managed to maintain the integrity of the consecrated grounds, the exterior architecture and the Memorial Room. Inside the building, much has changed over the years. At present, the interior of the building is a blend of the old and new. In the front entrance, radiators, a visible reminder of  the traditional heating system, can be seen side by side with the current list of occupants of the Memorial Hall and the most recent addition to health and safety, an AED device.

Front entrance blends old and new          Original window maintains heritage

Council Chamber. See Vintage Photos for a 1925 view of the room and some of the same furniture.

In the basement, beyond the view of the general public, lie areas that remain largely immune to the passing of time such as the elaborate heating/plumbing system and the infamous holding cell or jail.

A glimpse at the depths of the basement including the early jail     


Ironically, the 100th anniversary of WWI also marks the year that plans for renovation of the building have finally come to fruition. With a thoroughness worthy of WWI destruction, the building is being gutted in preparation for complete renovation of the interior. See The Valley Leader (April 3, 2014) for excellent coverage of future plans for the building.

Upper floor June 2014, ready for renovation

A disk and hard copies of these and other photos of the Memorial Hall 2014 will be kept in the CDMHAC filing cabinet.   


The Old Swimming Hole on the Boyne River (March 2014)

CDMHAC appreciates help from the local community in identifying heritage sites that should be commemorated by cairns, signs or in other significant ways. One of the sites that was brought to our attention was the Old Swimming Hole on the Boyne River.

Margaret Riddell kindly forwarded a copy of an article she wrote for a special Homecoming Edition of The Valley Leader (July 10, 2000, p. 31) in which she reminds us of this intriguing piece of local heritage. Margaret wrote:

Wherever you find a river, you will find swimmers, and the Boyne is no exception. From the time of early settlement, there were many swimming holes along its shady banks.

In the mid-forties, the idea of a 'pool' in the centre of town was conceived. The Carman Swimming Club developed an area on a wide curve in the river just west of the present Riverview Legion Place. It quickly became one of the major recreation centres of the community.

Construction at the Boyne Swimming Hole

Crowds of up to 2000 people showed up to watch annual swim meets. Local people competed in races and relays and diving exhibitions, and young daredevils catapulted into the water from a rope on the great tree overhanging the river. The Carman Band often entertained from a bandstand on the south side of the Boyne.

The Carman Kinsmen managed the day-to-day operation of the pool until 1950, when they took over all the assets of the Swimming Club. The Kinsmen proceeded to enlarge and improve the site, which included tennis courts and horseshoe pits to the north of the river. They moved a building to the west side of the tennis courts to serve as a lunch stand and storeroom. Fine sand had to be hauled in on a yearly basis to maintain the beach area.

Boyne Swimming Hole showing bandstand on left and other amenities

By the late fifties, safety concerns were mounting. The Kinsmen opened a modern pool in Kings Park in 1960, and the recreation area next to the Boyne disappeared beneath a residential development.

All that remains of the once-busy pool is a set of small concrete steps which led down to the diving platform at the river's edge, and the remnants of concrete sidewalks leading to the change houses. Part of the low concrete wall that protected the sand beach area is still visible, but the great tree with the rope swing is long gone.

CDMHAC is looking into the type of signage that might be suitable to mark the location of the swimming hole, considering public access to the area. Note that the above photos are from the fine collection of pictorial images at the Dufferin Historical Museum. See this month’s Vintage Photos for more pictures featuring the Boyne River.


Christmas at the Museum (January 2014)

Dufferin Historical Museum again is to be congratulated for another entertaining Christmas at the Museum. Members pitched in to decorate the Museum and plan an evening of fun, including carols by the Sonatrice Singers, a reading by author Lloyd Kitching, a vintage Santa, along with sleigh rides and refreshments. For coverage & photos of the event, go to the Museum website.

Sonatrice Singers December 7, 2013 at Christmas at the Museum

100th Anniversary of WWI

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. Carman/Dufferin district has two war memorials. The Memorial Hall in Carman is one of our designated heritage sites and the only building in Western Canada designed to commemorate those who fought in the “War to End all Wars”. The second site is the Roseisle War Memorial which records the names of local soldiers who served in WWI and later conflicts. Carman Legion #18 will announce plans shortly for holding commemorative services. In Roseisle, young members of the community are researching the lives and deaths of eight local lads who died in WWI. This summer they will plant roses in the Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden in memory of ‘their’ soldiers.

Roseisle Memorial Rose Garden

Dr. A. McGavin

One of the first emails we received in response to our new website was from Eileen McGavin McIntyre, granddaughter of Dr. Andrew McGavin who practiced in Carman from 1911 until his death in 1948 while on call to the scene of an accident.

She also sent a poem her grandfather wrote about curling in Carman. The poem, titled Regarding "Fans" and Skips was written in February, 1936 and voices spectators’ views of the prowess of various skips and their teams. Dr. McGavin explains for the reader that “The "Fans" on the benches have all kinds of advice to give and one would think they knew the game better than anyone else. How often our forays into the past show us that some things never change!

Thanks to Eileen McIntyre for these and other anticipated gems from her collection. We are hoping to compile a booklet of Dr. McGavin’s poems about golfing, the hospital and other aspects of life in Carman. For more information on Dr. McGavin, see Memorable Manitobans: Andrew Edward McGavin (1876-1948).

Dr. McGavin in front of his office 1940.

Our Website Logo

Folks have been asking about our choice of the CDMHAC logo.The logo was designed by web consultant David McInnes, who drew from our website content and feedback from CDMHAC members to design a logo that is meaningful to the site.

David's inspiration came from the wheels in the A.A. Brooke paintings. In this context, they symbolize connections and the role of transportation in shaping and changing our community—from the ox cart that brought the first settlers, to the wagons that carried the grain, the trains that took the products to wider markets and gave people greater access to the world, and the cars and trucks that have changed our patterns of interaction and trade. The wheel also represents progress in our community—and the recognition that as we roll forward into the future, the present becomes the past and we generate new and ever-changing heritage. In our local context, the wheel represents the community as a whole, with Carman as the hub and the RM as the rim, joined by the spokes. Neither works without the other—rather they achieve their strength and function through interdependence.
The colour gold derives from a dominant impression of the area—the golden fields of grain, the golden prairie sun. From a less theoretical perspective, gold also complements the green colour band in the header which is our colour link with the Carman website. Black, the second colour, is the secondary colour that comes up.

Our thanks to David for simply and creatively conveying our heritage and purpose.


New Website (November 2013)

Launching our new heritage website marks the culmination of several months’ work on the part of the Carman/Dufferin Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee (CD MHAC) and our colleagues at the Historic Resources Branch (HRB) of Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism.

HRB examined 96 municipal websites in Western Canada and the USA . Few sites, including those in Manitoba, highlighted local heritage. To remedy this situation, HRB worked with the Gimli MHAC to develop a template that other areas could use for developing heritage content.

Last December, our MHAC received a grant for a pilot project to see how well the template works in other settings. HRB has provided consultants and a webmaster; we have researched and provided the content.

We are proud to present this website as the result of our mutual efforts. The website is still a work in progress. We have tried to search out and cross-check our information as carefully as possible. Our main written sources included: The History of the RM of Dufferin in Manitoba 1880–1980 published by the RM of Dufferin , and A Review of the Heritage Resources of Boyne Planning District, a study by Karen Nicholson, Historic Resources Branch, 1984. Other sources are listed in the Local Heritage section of the website. The Dufferin Historical Museum has been a splendid source for photos and other information.





David McInnes (web consultant) and David Butterfield (Historic Resources Branch) meeting with CD MHAC members

Boyne School Re-locates (Summer 2013)

The big heritage news in Carman/Dufferin this summer has been the relocation of Boyne School from its original site east of Carman to its new home in King’s Park, north of the Dufferin Historical Museum. The move marks the culmination of more than two years of planning and fundraising by the Museum under the leadership of Trish Aubin and her diligent Board of Directors.

a one storey white building with red trimBoyne School is one of just a few well-preserved one-room schools remaining in the province. The original log school was built in 1878. It was replaced by a frame structure in the 1890’s and by the present building in 1930. The school and land were designated as a Municipal Heritage Site by the RM of Dufferin in August, 1988. The building has now been re-designated by the Town of Carman.

The move is just the first part of the project, and a lot of restoration work still lies ahead. The Museum is working with Gord Menzies, a provincial Restoration Specialist, to restore the building in keeping with accepted guidelines. When it is completely refurbished with desks, maps, blackboards and books, the school will allow both old and young to step back in time and re-visit or newly experience one of the most important parts of our early heritage. Meantime, you can learn more about our early schools on this website.

One of the major concerns with any heritage venture is sustainability. It was long-term preservation concerns that prompted the Boyne School move; it is ongoing effort and funding that will keep it intact. The R.M. of Dufferin has just made a generous contribution towards ensuring this will happen. When the land the school was on east of Carman was sold by the municipality, Council decided to put the money into a fund to be used for the future upkeep of the school. We need to hear big applause for the R.M. as well as for all the other donors who have made the move possible, and, not least, for the Museum committee who are now in charge of the building and continuing to fundraise for restoration. Great community effort, folks!

And for excellent photo coverage of the move check out the Museum website.