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This interesting person tells how they dug seneca root in the summer. To keep it until they could sell it they dug a deep hole in the ground and kept it there. They washed this and sold the green washed root at 5¢ per pound; for dried root you received 60¢. They mostly sold to Gust Freko in Erickson but if they could get to Brandon they received a better price. The children caught gophers and sold the tails at 1 ¢ a piece.
There were plenty of wild berries which they picked and one summer she canned 375 quarts. This, with vegetables from the garden and milk and eggs raised on the farm, and lots of wild meat as she learned to shoot and had a rifle and shotgun and knew how to use them. In the winter they had trap lines and Eva became adept at skinning and stretching the skins.
She told me of one day skinning and stretching 21 skunks in one day. She of course didn't have any friends or company that day.
She told her old man (her words) that if he brought any more skunks home he'd skin them himself. Needless to say, no more skunks ever came home.
Mr. McAuley died in 1964.
McBRATNEY, THOMAS AND BESSIE
by Katherine Pollan
Thomas McBratney was born in Ontario around the Muskoka area. Bessie Brown was born in Ontario near Novar. Their ancestors were Irish. Mr. McBratney worked as an agent for the C.N.R. and moved across the country as the different stations were being built. In those days it was a very heavy job with all the freight having to be handled by one person. It all had to be placed in the freight sheds until the people were able to pick it up.
Mr. and Mrs. McBratney started their married life in Ontario. They had five children; Howard, Rita, Fred, Reg and Ford.
Howard was born in Novar, Ontario. He married Edith Beilby, daughter of Mr. W. Beilby of the Crocus district. Howard farmed some and also worked for Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting at Flin Flon until he lost his arm in a mining accident. His children were raised there. Howard and Ede had four children; William (Bill) was killed in the Second War during a flight over Holland. Hughie and his wife Margaret live at Flin Flon. They have four sons; Billie, Patrick, Gregory and Howard. Charlie and his wife Peggy live in B.C., they have no children. Charlie also saw action in the second war. Rita, the only daughter and her husband, Chris Thorsteinson, reside in Mission, B.C. They have three children. Jan the oldest lives on the family farm owned by his great-grandfather, Mr. Beilby. Vaughn and his wife live in Brandon. They have two children. Glen and his wife are presently in Vancouver, B.C.
Rita was born in Novar, Ontario, only daughter of Tom and Bessie, married Hugh McPherson of the Clan william district. Rita moved with her parents across the country and taught school in many small towns along the way. She also excelled in music and had pupils too numerous to mention. She worked also in the C.N. station in Winnipeg when the first war was ending and
recalled many times the sad sight of the returning wounded soldiers coming home on the train. Rita taught school in Erickson for a short while, it was while here that her mother died in the General Hospital, Winnipeg after a short illness in March, 1930. She was 59 years old. Her father was retired from the C.N. while living at Erickson and a few days after, died suddenly from a heart attack in August of 1931. He was 65 years old. During the time that Rita taught in Erickson, the School District went broke. They would however not release the teachers so they could get employment elsewhere and my mother recalled all they received was their room and board allowance. Rita married Hugh McPherson in December of 1931 and moved to their farm at Clan william where they lived out their lives raising three daughters. (refer to McPherson, Hugh and Rita).
TM Thomas McBratney Family. Standing: Fred, Reta, Thomas. Seated: Reg, Ford, and Bessie.
Fred McBratney was born in Warroad, Minnesota and married Mabel Robertson of the Bethany district, a school teacher at Crocus. They farmed in the Crocus area for a few years, then moved to Flin Flon and finally to Victoria, B.C., where they still reside. Fred and Mabel raised three children; Lloyd, Dick and Jean the oldest. Jean and her husband have two children. Dick has two children. Fred died a few years ago and Mabel resides in Victoria in her own home. Fred operated and owned a cafe and confectionery in Victoria.
Reg McBratney was born in New Westminster, B.C.
He worked in the Bank for some time, also was at Flin Flon and finally moved to Victoria where he married Winnie, his wife and they raised two children; Diana and Terry. Terry and his wife have two children. Reg