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Hauling the milk to Brandon the hard way and the modern way. Over the years milk producers were John Lee and Arvid Lundin. Present milk producers are the Lee's Lee Island Farm, Wruth's Mallard Holstein farm, Gordon Hammell, Emil Shellborn, Ernest Hill.
by Ed Turner
The fox farming industry in the Rural Municipality of Clan william began in 1927. A Mr. Olof Olson who foresaw a future in furs was instrumental in starting the Riding Mountain Fur Farms Limited. This farm was located on the N.E. 24-18-18W. A post card dated January 27, 1927, notifying all shareholders to a meeting - was the first written date of when the farm was started.
Shares in the fur farm were first sold for $10.00 and were later increased to $30.00. Mr. Matt Olson was the manager-caretaker of the farm. The farm was later leased, complete with animals to Mr. Olson.
A second farm was organized on the N.E. 24-18-18W, on land owned by O.N.E. Holm. This was named the Scandinavia Silver Fox Company. It had approximately 200 to 300 foxes and was under the management of Eugene Holm. Mr. Pedlar of Neepawa was the main shareholder of this fur farm.
A third fox farm was started up by Mr. Sven Klintberg of Winnipeg. This was located on the S.E. 2-18-18W on land owned by Mr. C.A.V. (Carl) Johnson. Mr. Johnson was the manager of this farm. This farm was not as large
Tower and fox pens. Riding Mountain Fox Farm.
as the other two, but raised high class silver fox.
There were three kinds of fox raised; the ordinary red fox, which did not have much value; the cross fox, which had a mixture of red and black fox; and the silver fox, which was mostly black in colour, with a good sprinkling of silver coloured fur, black tail and a silver white tip.
All foxes have a white tip on their tail, and the larger the white tip, the more expensive they were. Those were used mostly for women's stoles' or scarves.
Mink and muskrat were also raised on fur farms.
Mr. John Wolski of Mountain Road bought and sold horses and cows for feed to the fur farms. Feed consisted of horse, cow, and rabbit meat, bonemeal, cod liver oil, and green feed. The animals were 'pelted' in the fall when the fur was in prime condition. To pelt the animals was time consuming and hard work. The animal was skinned, then the fat is scraped off the inside of the skin, finally the pelt is stretched out to its full size to dry.
With the start of the Second World War, the demand for raw furs deminished, and the cost of feed had in creased. The fur farms gradually went out of business.
There were many individual farms who owned and kept foxes. Bernard Sjoberg, who lived south of Hilltop store, was one such farmer. He was fortunate in that the litter of pups raised on his farm were large. He was also able to handle some of the foxes he raised as pets.
The selling of furs has and still does provide a source of income for the farmers who wish to operate a trap line. A few of the local buyers who would purchase the furs were; Gus Freko, Albin Wickstrom and Albert Furevick. Cyril Bell was also a fur buyer who would come into the area and purchase the raw furs.