Quest in Roots:
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JOHN and BERTHA MACK CENTURY FAMILY FARM
David and Rachael Mack both grew up in Down Country, Ireland. They came to Canada in 1844 and as their sailing ship neared the Canadian shores, John, their first child, was born aboard the ship. David and Rachael had 11 children and settled in Huron County, Ontario.
John Mack, the eldest, worked part time in a sawmill for a few years and married Bertha Stelck of Zurich, Ontario in 1870. The following year along with neighbors the Mack family made a party of 30 and sailed from Goderich, Ontario to Duluth and from there to S1. Cloud, Minnesota. The party had their own wagons and horses so they drove 700 miles north on a crooked trail reaching Fort Garry (Winnipeg) in June 1871. The rest of the party went to different parts of Manitoba while John and Bertha homesteaded at Clearsprings, near Steinbach.
Christmas 1877 was an open winter. To mark the warm weather, the community held a plowing match after New Years.
After seven years of mud, dry weather and grasshoppers, they left Clearsprings and came to the Carberry Plains in 1879. They took the option of buying their land S 17-12-15 from the government rather than homesteading, the deed is dated December 6, 1879, Burnside P.O. Northwest Territories. This was in the Montrose-Harte district.
The journey from Winnipeg to Carberry Plains took two weeks in a wagon loaded with their belongings and drawn by a team of horses. The cow was tied on behind the wagon. Rain in Winnipeg had made a real quagmire in which one of the men lost one of his rubbers while chasing the cow.
Stack Threshing 1890 Centre front row: John, Ernest, Bertha, Edith The first winter (1879-80) the Macks lived in a dugout in the side of the hill just south of the old house that still stands on the farm. A piece of canvas for a door was hung over the entrance. That winter they hauled logs from the south bush (Camp Hughes) for the house which was constructed in the summer. They had four children when they settled there in the fall of 1879. In March 1880 a girl (Mrs.
Morgan May of Oberon) was born. She was the first white baby girl born on the Carberry Plains.
John and Bertha Mack had nine children: Albert (1871-1949) never married, worked in a drugstore in Winnipeg. Arthur (1873-1955) veterinary surgeon at St. Paul, Minnesota. Ferdi (1873-1964) veterinary surgeon at River Falls, Wisconsin. John Stelck (1877 -1959) veterinary surgeon, practised in Neepawa, had a building across the street north of present Hamilton Hotel. He did T.B. testing of cattle and then became an abattoir inspector in Winnipeg.
Edith (Mrs. M. May 1880-1945) farmed in Oberon district. Bertha (Mrs. Jack May 1883-1967) farmed near Ponoka, Alta. Ernest (1886-1956) farmed in Oberon district. Arnold (1889-1958) farmed on original home farm in Harte district. Austin (1891- 1966) taught school at Lethbridge, Alta.
Arnold and Emma Mack Arnold Mack, the sixth son of John and Bertha Mack, took over his father''s farm in 1910. He married Emma E. Campbell in 1917. Emma was born in 1886 in Huron County, Ontario. They had a son, John Schnell, in 1920 - another John Mack for the family farm. When Arnold and Emma retired to Neepawa in 1947, they owned a section and a half of land - the home half section plus S. 22 12 15 and S.
16-12-15. They were very active members of the Oberon United Church and good community workers.
In 1942, John Schnell married Betty Henshall from the Muir district near Gladstone. He was called to serve his country and took an Aero Engine Mechanics course in Winnipeg where they lived until he was sent to Toronto for further training.
Betty then returned to the farm to stay with his parents. In the spring of 1945 John was released from the Air Force and took over the farm as his father''s health was failing.
John and Betty raised a family of four: two boys, Leonard and Wilfred, and two girls, Carol and Margaret - all attended Montrose School. They farmed until 1958 when they had an auction sale of machinery and cattle. In 1962, they bought a house and moved into Carberry. John worked in the Betty and John Mack and Children - Wilfred, Carol, Margaret, Leonard plumbing and electrical business with Ed Bowley until 1967 when he found employment with Peter Wolke in Brandon, in the same kind of work. They rented their Carberry home to the Provens and resided in Brandon until 1970, when they came back to Carberry. John then secured a job in the mechanics area of the Department of the National Defence at Shilo and retired in 1980. John passed away in January 1986 after a lengthy illness. Betty still lives in their home in Carberry and owns the Mack land.
Leonard graduated from Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute in 1960 and took an International Radio Operator''s course in 1961-62 at the Manitoba Technical Institute. He also attended the Air Service''s Training School for Dept. of Transport in Ottawa in 1962-63. From then to 1970 he worked at different jobs from Quebec to British Columbia. He lives at Comox, B.C. now and is the Supervising Technician of Engineering, being responsible for all broadcasting facilities on Vancouver Island for the C.B.C. Leonard married Penny Thompson of Victoria in January 1972.
Wilfred married Gail Bowley in 1964 and they have two children, Brent Edmund (1967) and Keri Lynne (1973). He worked with the Dept. of Highways from 1964 to January 1968 when he left to take a course in Brandon for the winter months. He started to work with the Dept. of Natural Resources in June 1968 and is still employed there. Gail worked in Bank of Montreal for three years. Now she is employed with the Dept. of Natural Resources during the summer months.
Carol finished her high school education in Carberry. She married Ron Wall in 1965 and moved to Brandon in 1966. They had two sons, Dwayne Edward (1965) and Curtis John (1966). Carol worked at Canadian Inn and K-Mart store until she began as a nurses'' aide at Central Park Lodge in 1974 and is still there. Ron is employed at Murray Chev-Olds in Brandon.
Margaret took a cosmetology course after finishing high school. In 1968 she married Henry Sylvester of Sidney. That same year they bought an oil business at Rapid City where they lived until 1977 when they moved to Minnedosa. They sold their oil business in 1980. Henry is now a salesman for Bayes Equipment at Neepawa. They have five children: Dana (1971), Darcy (1972), Troy (1974), David (1977) and Scott (1980).
Betty rents the land to her former farm neighbors so the house on the farm is vacant. Four generations of the Mack family lived on the original Mack land. The last generation did not take over the farming operations.
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