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arrived. The Houstons, Scotsmen from the United States, arrived in Manitoba in the early 1870's and homesteaded land in the area in 1873 and 1874. The Houstons were active and the first school district in the area was named after the family. H. Tennant, an Englishman who came to Manitoba with the Wolsely Expedition in 1870, took up farming on township 1 range 1 east in 1872. The Dillaboughs, on the other hand, came from County Dundas in Ontario in 1873 and homesteaded in 1873. In all, 13 non-Mennonite families homesteaded or bought land in township 1 range 1 east. 5 Most settled on the banks of the River Aux Marais where there was some tree cover.
The River Aux Marais, "to the swamp" , consisted of a shallow meandering dry steam that began in a flat low lying area near the Pembina River ten to twelve miles southwest of Emerson, and followed an erratic and twisting course emptying finally into the Red River. The settlers in this area had few problems with their Mennonite neighbours, unlike the case in the west end of the Reserve.
With the formation of the West Reserve in 1876 a number of Canadian farmers, located in the wooded area in the northwest comer of the reserve, immediately petitioned Ottawa to remove townships 2 and 3, range 5 west from the Mennonite West Reserve. According to their petition they had settled there in hopes that the entire two townships would be occupied by British subjects. The Mennonite Reserve, they argued, deprived them of the possibility of a Canadian neighbourhood.
The Mennonites countered that they were being restrained from cutting timber on their own land by the Ontario settlers, who threatened to tear down any village which the Mennonites might attempt to found in that area.
The Canadian Government attempted to solve this problem by negotiating with the Mennonites to surrender their claims to the two townships in return for one or two wooded townships in ranges 7 and 8 west. This involved redrawing the western boundary of the reserve in such a way as to exclude non-Mennonite settlers. This boundary was known as the "Menno-Canuck Boundary".
The redrawing of reserve boundaries in 1877 did not solve the problem. Non-Mennonite squatters continued to encroach on the west ern end of the Reserve, and some Mennonites were being brought before the magistrate for cutting timber on their own timber land. Matters worsened until June, 1881, when William Hespeler reported an open clash between Mennonites and squatters. The government again tried to remedy the situation but nothing was solved until all arable land had been claimed and wood lots cleared of their useful timbers. This