Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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Our mother, Gertrude Eliza, was the eldest child of Matthew and Mary (Clegg) Nichol. They lived four and one half miles west of Brookdale; they homesteaded S.W. 36-12-17 in the Creeford district, more commonly known in later years as the Norman School District. In 1910 she married Elonzo Brandon, elder son of Richard and Mary (Hall) Brandon - also homesteaders in the Cree ford district. After their marriage they farmed in the Ingelow district (where Walter Slezak now lives).

Here their eldest child, Margaret Eunice, was born October 9, 1911. In 1912 they moved back to the Creeford district on the farm his parents had homesteaded, N.E. 14-12-17. Here Milford Matthew was born October 26, 1913 and Merrill Wilbur, October 10, 1916.

We lived two and one-half miles from Norman School where Margaret and I started school. There were no school vans or buses and many younger children missed a lot of school in the winter months.

One year we had a school teacher board with us and she would drive the horse and we rode in the buggy with her. We would pick up the other children who lived along the way, as many as possible piled in, they would sit on the floor at our feet or sit on each other''s knees, or stand on the back and hang on. It seemed the more the merrier.

When the weather was favorable we walked and took short cuts across the fields. I remember the older boys giving us younger ones rides on their backs as we got pretty tired and couldn''t keep up. In the winter our dad or another neighbor would drive a team and sleigh and pick up all the school children on the way.

In October 1920 our dad died of ruptured appendix in Brandon Hospital as that was the nearest hospital and we moved to our Grandpa Nichol''s home until moving into Brookdale in the spring of 1921.

Our mother was left to raise three children on her own. There was no mother''s or children''s allowance in those days. As she had been a seamstress prior to her marriage, she did sewing for the ladies of the district and kept boarders.

Because we were renting, we lived in many different houses in Brookdale. Our first home was over Loader''s General Store on Railway Ave.

In 1933 mother went to look after her mother (Grandma Nichol) and I started back to farming, living at my grandparents until 1934 and then mother and I moved back to our farm west of Brookdale.

Gertrude Brandon, Margaret, Milford and Merrill In 1945 mother moved to Brandon making her home with her family as she was needed. She was always welcome in homes as she was a wonderful cook and so handy with her hands - sewing and mending got done so nicely. She suffered a stroke and spent her last five years in the Fairview Nursing Home in Brandon where she died in March 1975.

Margaret took a Business Course in Brandon and worked in Winnipeg for a short time. She married John Klemick, a C.P.R. engineer and they lived in Brandon. They had two sons, Gary and Donald, who live in Brandon and 11 grandchildren.

Margaret was a very creative person and was noted for her handwork especially sewing. Her husband John died December 3, 1984 and Margaret died January 2, 1986.

Merrill stayed in Brookdale at J.P. Lawrie''s, finished school and worked for them until joining the Air Force in 1941 and served overseas. On returning home he lived in Winnipeg, Brandon and Oak River and now resides in Vancouver, B.C.

In 1946 I married Winnie Rankmore and we had a family of three: twins Lon Fred and Lynn Winnifred born June 1, 1948 and Fay Eunice, born June 3,1953. We continued to live on the farm until October 1960 when we moved into Carberry. In August we were completely hailed out by a storm that hit one hot sultry Sunday afternoon. The barn was blown down and all the windows were broken by hail stones as big as golf balls. The year before, 1959, there was an early snow storm and we had been unable to gather feed for the cattle.

Winnie went back to nursing at the Carberry Hospital and I continued to farm from town until 1968 and worked at various jobs in Carberry. I have rented the farm since and worked 13 years with Carberry Implements Co. until retiring.

Lon attended Brandon University, he lives in Winnipeg and is a school teacher. Lynne attended University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and received her degree in nursing. She married Brian Manns and they have two sons, Ian and Mark. They live just out of Brandon. Brian is a veterinarian and Lynne teaches nursing.

Fay attended Red River College in Winnipeg.

She married David Paskewitz and they have three children, Amanda, Kenneth and Christine. They are co-operators of Meadow Lark Mobile Home Park of Brandon.

We are both retired and continue to live in Carberry.


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