Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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BROOKDALE TRANSFER

Bob Mitchell started the Brookdale Transfer with his Model T Ford truck in 1929. Load capacity was four cattle or 15 pigs. The 130 mile trip to Winnipeg was an all day ride one way. Once the animals were unloaded, it took all the next day to get back to Brookdale to pick up the next load.

By 1935 the business had grown so that two trucks were required. Larry Chisholm drove one truck either hauling grain or gravel. Steve Moffatt and Stuart Mitchell also drove the gravel truck for him. His son Billstarted hauling grain at the age of 16 and trucked cattle for his father for three years.

In 1945 Bill and his brother Norm took over their father''s business. Billgot the 1938 International truck and Norm took over the gravel part of the business for the next 10 years. When Norm left, Bill took over the operation of the two trucks until 1971.

Some of the men who drove for Bill over the years were: Arnold and Fred Bonnett, Monty Simpson, Charlie Tingy and Ken Woods. Bob Stewart and Bob Tilley hauled gravel for him and Ed Redlin and Donald Simpson drove for short periods.

When Bill started there was not that great a demand for livestock hauling due to a disease in the cattle. However he was able to make daily trips to the Winnipeg stockyard. He went through 10 different trucks, putting at least 400,000 miles on each of them. He had 600,000 miles on the last one.

Some of his customers had been depending upon him through three generations on the family farm.

In all his years of driving Bill had only one accident. The grill of his truck got pushed in on the radiator when the brakes failed and he nudged the truck in front. His good record was remarkable since he lost the sight of one eye as a youngster before he even started driving.

Bill drove through a lot of storms and the only one that stopped him was the blizzard in 1978. He stopped with 65 other trucks overnight at Portage La Prairie.

In March 1978 after three million miles on the road Bill sold his business to Barry Simpson. His last truck, a 1969 G.M. went with the business.

Donald Simpson took over the Brookdale Transfer from his brother in the spring of 1980. The same truck came with the business. Darryl Epp, Ken Guinn, Terry Lawrence, Larry Burridge, and Brian Goossen have all driven for him.

Due to railway abandonment, elevators closing, and special crops Don''s business has grown from one truck to four. He has two Ford semis; he uses one for hauling grain and one for livestock. He also hauls hay on a flatbed trailer with one semi. He has a Ford gooseneck and a G.M. tandem for hauling livestock to Brandon and Winnipeg.

 

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