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.

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no church, no Sunday School. Fire wood from the Turtle Mountains was obtained by heart-and-back breaking toil. "Bush-whacking" the men called it, and the story of preparing for a week in the bush, getting the bobsleighs ready, seeing that the ox-yokes were in good condition, cooking huge pans of potatoes, great slabs of beef or pork (after we finally had cows or beef animals), dozens of loaves of bread, and countless other necessary jobs, would take far too much space for these memoirs. There isn't a pioneer mother, whose men faced those weeks in the bush while she waited at home, but will remember the agony and fear lest her loved ones might meet with accident or even death. No word could come from the silence until the ears finally would hear the. creak of sleighs and the welcoming bark of the dog.

There were no stores where food could be purchased, nearer than Brandon, except those at Desford, Wakopa and Waubeesh. The first winter the family lived on "short rations"; boiled wheat without benefit of milk or sugar, no fresh meat except prairie chicken or rabbits, no butter and no vegetables. Dad, who had been carpenter, school-teacher and butcher at various times, went to Brandon on foot, did a few days carpentering, bought a few essen­ tials like tea, sugar, salt, etc., and walked back home carrying the load on his back. Somewhere he had purchased some pork called the vulgar name of "sow-belly" which was so rancid that after eating it we all developed skin infections like ugly ulcers. But as pioneers did and always will, we survived and thrived, and at least the younger fry enjoyed the new experiences. I never remember mother grumbling or complaining. She always had an unfailing courage, and with the utmost nothings at first, made the old log shack a home.

Suddenly, settlers began to pour into that area. The land was a rich black loam, exceedingly fertile, and practically without stones, while being slightly rolling in contour. As family after family moved in, the loneliness was broken, and companionship assured. Among the earliest of the newcomers, I well remember the Emersons, Adam Armstrongs, Jim and Sarah Burns, the Nelins, Benjamin and Robert Cooke and families, the Baskerville brothers, John Thompson. Our nearest neighbors next to Frank and Jennie Howell were Mr. and Mrs. Shillabeer and children, John and Emma.

My youngest brother, Cyrus, with Hattie and myself, now proud possessors of a pony and cart, attended Nimitaw School. My first teacher was George Currie, whose wife was Bertie Oke. As the district near the Wright became more settled and the need for a school became acute, our family took in a daughter of Adam Arm­ strong, in order to have the required number to form a school district. We also "boarded" the teacher, the first being Judson R. Cooke, later Dr. Cooke who died in 1955.

Before there was either school or church, Mr. and Mrs. Wright, -132-