Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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When I taught school at Ingelow, I was told of Jim Dodds being lost in a blizzard in 1885. The versions were not always the same, but I have checked with Martha (Dodds) Irvine for accuracy.

. On a warm, sunny morning March 5th, 1885, Jim Dodds was bringing home a load of wood.

When he reached a point just south of where the Woodlea School was later built in 1888,the weather suddenly changed and was soon a whirling, swirling mass of snow, making visibilitynil. The oxen left the road and the load of wood upset. Mr. Dodds unhitched the oxen and let them go. I am not sure, but I think they perished. He started to walk, hoping to find shelter. He wandered all Saturday afternoon and night, and all of Sunday until he came to a railway track. He followed it until he came to a work train on the C.P.R. at Camp Hughes. The track had been built through the area not long before. When the men on the train called out, Mr. Dodds dropped from exhaustion but revived after he was taken in to warmth and given food.

He was wearing a buffalo coat, which probably saved his life.The snow and ice had blown in to the fur and the coat weighed between 75 and 80 pounds.

In March of 1985in the "50 Years Ago" column of the Neepawa Press, there was a news item of a similar storm which occurred in the Brookdale area in March of 1935. The storm also came up on a beautiful morning after the vans had reached the school. The children were looked after by the town people, until the storm subsided three days later and roads were broken open. The storm left snow drifts many feet deep.


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