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by Conrad Halvarson and Leona Gustafson

information by Emmanuel Ohlen and Rufus Stephenson Report, Manitoba Archives, Lands Branch of Department of Highways, Department of Natural Resources and Pax Crawley.

When the Scandinavian Colony was formed in the Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam, it did not grow as rapidly as expected. The settlement had to contend with many difficulties, one being, they had to cut their way through a wall of forest. The success of the Colony was mainly due, first, to the exertions of the people them­ selves and the assistance granted them from time to time, secondly, in the way remunerations for clearing roads etc., granted by the Provincial Government.

In 1886, the Provincial Government granted $500.00 for opening a road to Otter Lake, and in 1887, a further grant of $850.00 to improve the road on which the Scandinavians were working under the auspices of the Scandinavian Colonization Society.

Roadmasters were appointed to supervise the building of roads and in 1888, the following men were listed; Peter Abel, George Hilliard, Joseph Tales, A. Lallamond, A. Edwardson and P. Haakanson. During the early days, Statute Labor was road work done every year to better roads, and a person owning a quarter section, worked two days with a team of horses, or one day with four horses, or a man would have to work four days. This was an annual chore that he would have to do or else pay his taxes in full.

When building roads across muskeg and swamps, corduroying had to be done. This was placing logs across the proposed road, and then covered and packed with soil. Very little gravelling was done because it was hauled by team and wagon.

Road clearing with grader and steam engine, Andrew Rognan on grader.


The Dejarlais trail, one of the oldest, angled across the corner of the now Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam, 17- 17, and the other two south Wards, 16-17 and 16-18, now the Rural Municipality of Minto. This was the drier and more stable trail, running from Winnipeg to Edmonton in the early pioneer days. The Oak Point Trail originated at Winnipeg and continued to Oak point where they would scow across Lake Manitoba joining the Dejarlais Trail in the Amaranth area, carrying on from there to the High country range, and from there to the southern part of the Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam through the Rural Municipality of Harrison to Elphinstone and west to Edmonton.

Building road with horses and scraper.

The Dejarlais stopping house, was located about the boundary of the Rural Municipality of Rosedale and the Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam.

In the Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam there were other pioneer trails that hunters and trappers used and when it rained most of the trails and roads were prac­ tically impossible and, of course, when winter came, there was not a traffic road for any wheeled vehicles, not until break up in the spring. It was quite a thrill when the first car was able to travel down the road again, after all the snow had gone and the roads had dried up suf­ ficiently, that they would not get stuck. It was not until after the Second World War, that there was a major surge ahead to build a network of municipal roads, and especially when tractor power was available to do this work for them. During those years the municipality did acquire one bulldozer and then later a larger machine and a scraper and they did a fair amount of their own work, but they also had a number of different people that did a lot of custom work for them and consequently built up a very respectable set of roads. As mentioned earlier, the main road running from Minnedosa up into the settled area, was what they called the "Town Line". This of course was also the road that continued into the Hilltop,