This page is a text version of the Beckoning Hills History Book. This is the story of the Turtle Mountain Area of Manitoba. You can get a PDF copy of the book on our full version page. The PDF copy is an exact page by page representation of the original book. This text version has been reformated for the web and contains text recognition mistakes. These mistakes do not appear in the full version. The full version also includes each image in the original book.

Page Index of Beckoning Hills History Book

Previous - Page 121 or Next - Page 123

Of the early homes around Wakopa some were built of sod with thatched roofs, but for the most part they were mainly log. Early in 1880 a shingle and lumber mill was in operation owned by George, Matt, and Bill Harrison. They had a grist mill powered by water wheel also, a short distance from the saw mill on the banks of Long River. This same year Billy Weir and a French fellow started blacksmithing. La Riviere's Trading post not only traded in furs now, but all the necessities of the early settler. It was in '79 that Lee Severne, La Riviere's son-in-law became post-master of the first post office in the Turtle Mountain area. When I came to this area, the R.N.W.M. Police fort still stood three-quarters of a mile approximately east of old Wakopa townsite, being a two storey structure with small holes all around the second storey to ward off any attack. It was built around 1374 and I believe it was destroyed by fire about 1880.

On my return that spring to Old Wakopa it was humming with activity. A new boarding house was in the process of being built on the north side of the Commission Trail which was the town's main street. A livery barn was built in the southern outskirts due east of the sawmill, west of the mill and around the bend of Long River stood the grist mill.

The first frame house in the Turtle Mountain was built in 1880.

Indians camped in or near the townsite every night and took a keen interest in all sports. They were well liked by the Wakopa folk. Wakopa was given its name by an old Indian who thought a lot of La Riviere - it meaning "white father."

Passing Pilot Mound on my return west I noticed a flag flying from a pole on the mound that could be seen for miles. As I continued on west and neared 31-1-6 on the east of the section on another high knoll was a second flag which was also visible for miles. These were wonderful guides for people who settled many miles away from either side of the Trail. They stood for many years.

Most everyone who travelled the Commission Trail would stop at Pancake Lake to rest and eat. Harry Coulter gave it that name one evening in 1789 when he stopped for supper and cooked his pancakes over a wolfe willow fire.

In 1880 Wakopa had its first burial. Two Metis working for La Riviere got into a heated argument during milking one evening. One fellow got up off his stool and threw it at the other hitting him on one of the temples which resulted in instant death. The aggressor took flight and hid in a coil of hay northeast of the townsite. R.N.W.M. Police next day noticed the displaced hay by the coil and with help toppled the coil which uncovered the milk stool hurler.

In 1883 Bob O'Brien brought the first seeder to Wakopa, a broadcast type from Ontario. It was a very popular implement and as most farms had only a few acres broken, many settlers made use of it. One evening in 1885, when I had lain down on my hay mattress

122 -