of the Swan River Valley
100 Years in the
Swan River Valley
1898 - 1998
William and Myrtle Bertram
William (Ernie) Bertram or Ernie as everybody knew Mr. Bertram as in later years. Ernie Bertram came into the Swan River Valley when the railroad was very new in the area. Dad always talked of being with the railroad from 1901 and he stayed with the CNR till he retired in 1946. Both Ernie and Robert Bertram played with the Minitonas Thistle football team when in 1908 they won the Provincial Title. Ernie Bertram played the fullback position and Robert Bertram played goalie. William Ernest Bertram married Myrtle Smith of Brandon MB on April 11/1913.
They had seven children over the next thirteen years. Ernie Bertram died in May/1961 and was predeceased by Myrtle Bertram in July 4/1959.
Frederick Hilton Bertram was born Feb.13/1914.-deceased in June /1983
Eleanor Mary Bertram was born Aug.15/1915 -deceased in Oct.31/1995
William Howard Bertram born June 16/1917 -deceased in Feb. 1/1996
Clarke Ernest Bertram born July 18/1919
Irene Myrtle Bertram born Dec.25/1921
Verna Pearl Bertram was born Sept.26/1923
Lloyd Cameron Bertram born July 20/1926
Ernie Bertram bought the NW 1/4 32-35-27w in 1933 he said to get his family out of town and give the boys something to work at instead of getting into trouble. Of course the railroad went right through this land on the way up to Kelvington which was the end of his rail run. In those days the mail bags had to be sorted according to the town which was next in line. Cream cans and many other small and large articles also had to be ready to unload.
Ernie was the main carpenter when he built a new two story house on the farm in 1935. The unique part of building this home was that Dad had us boys go to the spruce swamp and gather enough Moss and lay this Moss out to dry. We then stuffed the walls with moss and lime as well as placing lots of moss in the ceiling. This insulation is still in that house to this day. He then had us build a new barn in 1937 which was the year of a big windstorm which blew a lot of barns down but our new barn withstood the wind. We picked lumber and a family of little pigs out of the railroad ditch which was four hundred yards away from the yard after the storm was over.
Dad had a dog on the farm which would meet the train every other day to pick up the paper which dad took great pleasure in throwing off; and showing this dog off to people who were on the train as well as his fellow workers. Dad would tell me of the many problems that he encountered when he was helping to build the railroad up to Flin Flon etc. There were family pictures of trains upset into lakes and bog holes. Some of these bog holes would swallow full length trees and train loads of gravel.
Howard Bertram still lived on this farm till he passed away. Lloyd Bertram was the only other boy that stayed with farming just a mile down the road from the home farm.
Submitted by: Lloyd C. Bertram
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.