Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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Roderick and Mary Roderick P. Fraser was born March 5, 1857 at Lancaster, Glengarry County, Ontario. He came west in 1878. He followed his trade of carpentry and bridge- building with the c.P.R. He was in cha~ge of some of the largest bridges from Ontano to Revelstoke, B.C.

In 1880 R.P. Fraser took up a homestead three and one half miles south of what is now Brookdale.

It was S.E. 10-12-16. While in the process of getting title to the land, he still did carpentry. Many buildings were built including the first Leland Hotel at Portage la Prairie. When he received title to his homestead, a small place (12'' by 16'') was built in which he lived until he married Mary Connor on Dec. 15, 1886. Then a house was built.

Four of a family were born: Etta, Roy, Kenneth and Alex. Etta and Roy started to school at Woodlea School, Ingelow. When Brookdale School was b~ilt, they completed their education there. ,Etta. marne.d Jim Doak in December 1919. Roy s history IS written separately.

Ken was born March 26, 1894, and he attended school in Brookdale. Ken enjoyed dancing; at one time there was a quadrille club at Brookdale which put on dances. He joined the army in 1917 and was sent overseas in the spring of 1918. He was wounded in October 1918, and stayed in hospital in France and England until the fall of 1919, when he came home to Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg.

He died there on January 16, 1920.

R.P. Fraser built a new house on the farm in 1916, which is still standing today. The carpenters building the house were paid the top wages of $2.50 per day. The Frasers'' first car, a Model T. Ford, cost $535, and the licence $10.

R.P. Fraser was a member of both the Masonic and Odd Fellows'' Lodges.

In the early days it was hard work for everyone on the farm. Grain was hauled to Sewell or Douglas.

The Frasers went to the Methodist Church in Brookdale, but when Ingelow Church was built in 1909, they attended it.

Mr. R.P. Fraser passed away July 1,1935 at the age of 78. Mrs. Fraser continued to live on the farm until two years before her death May 25,1954 at the age of 90.

Alex and Bella Alex Fraser was born in 1900, and lived on the farm which his dad had homesteaded. In 1924, he married Bella Lawrence and continued to live on the farm. There was still lots of hard work to be done, but when hydro came in 1947, it brought a lot of conveniences to farm people.

Alex Fraser Family 1984 Standing: Dorothy, Norma, Don, Hazel, Ken, sitting: Bella and Alex Alex and Bella had a family of five children: Hazel, Donald, Norma, Kenneth and Dorothy. The children all were active in 4-H. They were fond of sports and music. Even in "the dirty thirties" there were good times with picnics, dances, and visiting.

It was a community affair.

In 1965 Alex and Bella retired to Carberry, and the boys took over the farm.

Hazel married Basil Farley of Douglas, who is now deceased. Don married Joyce Hockin. Norma married Elmer Poole. Ken married Lynne Jones.

Dorothy married John Manson of Ottawa.

In 1984 Alex and Bella celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. The farm is now over 100 old, and operated by the fourth generation, their grandson.

Bella concluded the history with the following quotation: "It''s not how much we have but how much we enjoy, that makes the difference." Don and Joyce by Joyce Fraser Don married the former Joyce Hockin in 1955.

Joyce was previously employed by the Manitoba Telephone System. We lived in the small house formerly owned by John and Rene Slezak, on the corner of Main Street and McNaughton Avenue. In 1958 our family doubled with the birth of twin boys.

Lome Stanley and Laurie Alexander. This kept us very busy, but we enjoyed every minute of it. In June the following year Patricia Leanne was born, by this time our small house was full.

In the fall of 1960, Don''s mother and dad retired to Carberry, and we moved to the farm. It was three and a half miles south of town where Don''s grandfather had homesteaded in 1880.

However, not ready to retire Bella and Alex moved back to the farm in the spring of 1961 and we returned to our house in town. In the spring tragedy hit our family in the accidental death of Laurie three days before his third birthday.

Margo Dawn was born in 1964 and the following year we returned to the farm where Don farmed with his brother Ken. In 1971 Joyce started delivering the mail on Rural Route Number One Brookdale and in the fall of 1977 we purchased the E. and P.

General Store in Brookdale. While Don still took an active part in farming, the girls while still in school helped at the store.

In 1979 Pat married Blair McLaughlin of Neepawa; Blair manages Neepawa Food Pro ccessors. Their children are Michelle Dawn (1984) and Miles Fraser (1986) Margo at the present time is at home helping at the store. We are in the process of building a new store, which will also contain the post office and a small coffee bar and lunch counter.

Lorne and Karen After working several years in Carberry Lome returned to farm with his dad. Lome lived on in the family home his grandfather had built when his parents moved to the Ruth Lawrie house in Brookdale, in the summer of 1983.

In the fallof 1985 Lome married Karen Maynard of Killarney. Karen is a laboratory technician at the Fox Memorial Hospital, Carberry, Manitoba. Lome and Karen are the fourth generation to live on the farm homestead of his great grandfather Roderick P. Fraser.


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