Family Histories
of the Swan River Valley
Manitoba, Canada
Pioneer Centennial
History Book
100 Years in the
Swan River Valley
1898 - 1998

John and Eva Barker

John Wesley Barker was born September 30, 1854 the son of William F. and Jane (Eagar) Barker. He moved from Ontario to Boissevain, MB in 1885 with his wife Eva. In December of 1900 he purchased two quarters sections of land (NW & NE 8-35-27) in the Swan River Valley from the Hudson Bay Company. They resided until a house could be built on the homestead. Except for eight years in Kelvington, SK John remained on the family farm until his death on July 11, 1944. John and Eva had five children :

William died at age five.

Walter married Elizabeth Kerr and had a daughter Eva. He died in Vancouver during the 1918 flu epidemic.

Mary married Jack McFadden and had a son Jack. She died in 1910.

Davidina Grace married Capt. William E. Lloyd, and had a daughter Betty. Grace taught school in Pretty Valley before moving to Winnipeg. Grace died at the age of 99, November, 30 1992.

Charles Ford Barker was born October 29, 1898 in Boissevain, MB and moved to Swan River with his parents in 1901. He married Geraldine Gillings and took over the family farm in 1928 where they remained until retiring to Swan River in 1976, where he died the following year. Charlie, Gerry and their family have all been active in the community, serving on boards and taking part in local functions. They had nine children.

I. Robert (Bob) Allen married Phyllis (Bid) Cowan and farmed in Pretty Valley, on the Ed Cowan homestead, until his passing in 1990. They had five children:

Ed married Lovia Strilchuk and they live in Swan River where he is a partner in Valley Radiator and Lovia works as a dental assistant.

Brian lives on the farm, with his mother, and works for the Burton Family and at home.

Doreen married Larry Burton and they operate a grain and registered swine farm. Their family, Tammy, Michelle and Dale.

Allen married Doris Knispel and they have a grain farm. Children are Tiffany and Chad.

Douglas married Particia Heal and they have two children, Nat and Leah. Doug and Paddy both work in Corrections and are partners in a campground.

II. John William (Bill) married Leila Bateman and they farmed in Pretty Valley area and Leila worked as a registered nurse until their recent retirement. They had two children, Karen who lives in Yellowknife with her daughterStephanie, and Colleen who operates a PMU Farm with Dale Williamson near Swan River. Colleen has a daughter Ricki-lea and a son Brett.

III. Geraldine Patricia (Pat) married Dennis Turnbull and lives in Victoria. She has three children: Roberta, Mike, and James.

IV. Exton Lloyd (Hap) worked in Winnipeg and Calgary before retiring to Parksville, BC. He is married to Donna Erickson. Hap has three children, Kelly, Lynn, and Randy.

V. Charles Stuart married Colleen Collins and they have three sons, Trevor, Colin, and Brent. He worked in Winnipeg before moving to Edmonton, AB in 1975 where he works for EM Plastics.

VI. Lois Rowena (Rena) trained as a registered nurse. She married Lawrence Stocki who worked with the Department of Highways until going into partnership and starting his own construction firm. They have two children Lori and Rob.

VII. Thomas Wesley born July 11, 1944. Tom lives on the home farm which will have been in the family 100 years in December 2000. He and Arlene farm, including U-pick strawberries, and he helps in the operation of Arvista Tours.

VIII. Edna Dianne trained as a registered nurse. She married Jim Findlay and they farmed at Shoal Lake until 1977. They now reside in Winnipeg where Jim works for Manitoba Agriculture and Dianne manages an apartment / office building. They have three children: Kevin, Kristy, and Kari.

IX. Michael Edward died in 1961.

A number of descendants still live in the valley, most in the agriculture industry which brought their forefathers to the valley.

Submitted by: Tom Barker


Manitoba's Swan River Valley is an area rich in history. These family histories were a part of the 1998 Pioneer Centennial History Book project. If you would like the history of your area available online, have your historic group contact the Key Rock Group for information on electronic publication. We offer publication free of charge and also provide the option for making your history book available on CD.