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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Our neighbors now were the Thompsons, Brondgeests, Boothbys Jones, Romboughs, Forbes, Capt. Whitlaw, Woods, Bar­ tons, Tatchells, Taylors, Wright, Kings and Frank Bells.

During the early years we attended church at Mountainside School and later at Petersburg School, until the church was opened in Whitewater in 1905.

For social activities the village had both football and baseball teams, also a rifle range. Picnics were held at Waubeesh and Bleak House. Dances were held in the different homes in the community and there was also an active literary and debating society. Concerts and box socials were held to provide funds for various projects.

In the year 1900 a terrible tragedy occurred in July when Jake Smith and Charlie Daw disappeared and in October their bodies were discovered in an old well on Daw's farm, 4-3-21, formerly Chas. Sankey's homestead. In 1902 Walter Gordon was arrested at Halifax, while boarding a transport for South Africa, tried for the crime in Brandon, found guilty and hanged for the crime.

Whitewater Lake and marsh has always been a paradise for hunters from near and far. I remember the myriads of geese and ducks in the marsh, in those early years; also the whooping crane, which is now almost extinct.

Before the C.P.R. Lauder line was built, about 1913, the lake also provided an excellent sleigh road during the winter, for grain was hauled to the elevators at Whitewater and wood was hauled from the Turtle Mountains to as far away as Souris. Dozens of teams could be seen, every fine day, plying across the ice.

The lake is really a huge slough and not very deep. It has gone dry on several occasions. According to one old Indian, it was so dry in 1870 that the fur traders had a trail across it, made by their Red River carts.

On more than one occasion it was the subject of a project to drain it and turn it into farms. However, nothing came of the scheme. I expect the cost was too great and there was also con­ siderable doubt as to the fertility of this soil on the lake bottom.

I have seen the prairies before the plow ever cut a sod; roamed over large expanses of whistling grasses, dotted with flowers peculiar to the prairies, and followed the winding buffalo trails; also passing Indian bands and their encampments. I have seen large herds of cattle and droves of horses from Montana, passing through on their way to Canadian markets and driven by colorful cowboys. I have seen prairie trails changed from their erratic course to geometric straight roads and modern highways. What was once quagmires and bottomless coulees bridged with timber, cement and steel. I have seen sections of prairie turned from green grass to long, dark furrows; shrub and tree land into fine productive farms; where we once cut wood, turned into fire blackened waste to be later covered with large patches of wild strawberries and raspberries and still later cleared and now into luscious fields of alfalfa. I have seen