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Page Index of Forest to Field Volume One

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BERTRAM, CHARLES AND CHRISTINA

Charles Bertram was born in the year 1866 in the quiet little town of Hawick which is nestled in the beautiful Border Hills of Scotland. He received a modest education in the Public Schools and strict religious upbringing in the Presbyterian Church.

Upon leaving school he was apprenticed to a local newspaper. This experience was to stand him in good stead in later life as far as bookwork was concerned, but did nothing for him in following the life of a Western Canadian farmer.

At age 21, Charles sailed from Scotland bound for the New World and after a terrible sea voyage of six weeks and a slow train trip from the east, arrived in Winnipeg with great expectations and little money (less than $10.(0). Coming to Minnedosa he secured employment on a farm in the Cadurcis District, then on the Jermyn farm on the eastern edge of Minnedosa (presently the John Jury farm), then to a quarter section on the eastern edge of the townsite of Clanwilliam. From this location he could watch Pat Burns working with his oxen in the field on the adjoining farm. At the same time he was able to strike up a friendship with a young man who was opening up a general store in Clanwilliam. This was R.A. (Bob) McQuarrie, and this friendship was one that would last a lifetime.

At this same time he was to meet and marry Christina Ruth, eldest daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth Cook of Clanwilliam. (refer to Cook, John and Christina).

Christina was born in the year 1880 on her parents' farm which is situated one mile west of Clan william (presently owned and occupied by Russell and Anne Cook).

It is rather a coincidence that this young man who had tramped over the Minto Hills in Scotland should marry a girl who had spent many hours on her pony hunting and bringing home their cattle from the River Hills in the Rural Municipality of Minto in Manitoba.

Charles Bertram and Christina Cook were married December 25th, 1898, at her parents' home and moved to their new log home situated on the N.W. 22-16-17W, then Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam (now owned and occupied by their grandson, Charles Richard). This land was purchased from a Hugh Steele and there followed a number of years of hardship, heartache and disap­ pointments mingled with joy, happiness and great ex­ pectations which seemed a part of the business of opening up a new country.

Grandma Bertram retained an excellent memory of the early days in the Clanwilliam District and often told little stories of incidents that took place in those far off days.

She would tell the story of when she was three or four months old her mother left her in the crib in the house while her mother went to the barn to milk the cows. On hearing the baby crying her mother rushed out of t6e barn to find some Indian ladies carrying the baby in their arms trying to soothe and quieten the child.

She told that at two years of age her parents had carried her part way to Minnedosa to meet the minister that she might be christened.

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She told how Mr. Pat Burns and two companions (Mr.

Pollon and Mr. McFarlane) started out to cross the Riding Mountains to the Dauphin area where they had heard there was wonderful farmland. The weather was not cooperative for travelling on foot through the forest and on the second morning out, Burns announced he was returning to Minnedosa. His companions tried to dissuade him; he finally agreed to flip a chip. It had been cut the night before and was wet on one side and dry on the other. It was agreed if the dry side came up it would be a sign of dry weather, however, if the wet side came up he would return to Minnedosa. Needless to say, the wet side came up and Burns turned back and eventually went on to become the noted Meat Packing King of the West. His companions went on to Dauphin and figured notably in the opening up of the Dauphin area.

As the Bertram family increased, so did the original house with additons being added periodically, as did the size of the farm with purchases from Melville McKinney, Robert Carter, and later from Ansell McKinney.

This pioneer couple were to take an active part in the Clanwilliam community, Charles to be active in Church, School, Law and Lodge and his wife active in Church and the difficult task of feeding and clothing a very active family of eight boys and one girl.

The eldest son, William was born in 1899 and died in infancy.

Andrew, died as a result of the "flu" epidemic in 1920. Cyril married Mary Swiscoski. They farmed in the Birtle area and have four children; Andrew, Harold, Lome and Bruce.

James married Minnie Bold and they have two sons, Harvey and Clair.

Jim was employed as a grain buyer for 45 years and is now retired and lives in Minnedosa.

William married Ruth Dunbar.

Thomas married Jean McKay. (refer to Bertram, Thomas and Jean).

Walter married Dora McCallum and they have one daughter, Jeanette. He retired as a municipal Secretary­ Treasurer in 1978 and they now reside in Minnedosa.

Harry, single, remained on the family farm with his mother until her demise in 1972. He is now retired and lives in Minnedosa.

Mabel, the youngest member of the family married Fred Richards on his return from overseas in 1946. Their family consists of two sons and two daughters. They are Charles, Irene, Janice and James. Fred passed away in 1966 and the family remains on the farm northeast of Clanwilliam (formerly the Theodore Johnson farm).

Charles Bertram died in 1944 at age 78. Mrs. Bertram died in 1972 at age 90.

BERTRAM, THOMAS AND JEAN

by Jean Bertram

Tom came to Erickson in 1961 as manager of the Royal Bank of Canada, succeeding Oscar Goodman. The family consisted of; wife Jean, sons Bob and Laurence and daughter Eleanor.

During their stay in Erickson, Tom and Jean were