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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CHAPTER THREE

PIONEER SETTLEMENTS

During the middle seventies a mild depression was being felt, not only in Europe but also in Eastern Canada. The economic situa­ tion was aggravated by poor prices for farm produce, mounting taxes, poor wages for tradesmen, and the fact that considerable land which had cost so much to clear, was showing a marked decrease in productivity. The areas suitable for farming had become exhausted, having come to an abrupt halt against the wilderness of muskeg, rocks and forests north of the Great Lakes. By 1887 we find that settlers to the south of the International Boundary line had advanced beyond the Mississippi River. In fact, the first rancher had located in Southern Alberta in 1872 by the way of Montana.

In 1878 we find Finley Young, Coulters, Weirs, Henderson and others settling at La Riviere (Wakopa). By 1880 Jim Burgess and Bill Smith had located at Old Desford, also Rentons and Dries by Turtle Head Creek on the west end of the Turtle Mountains, just south of where Old Deloraine and the Land Office were located that same fall.

The word they took back or sent by letter concerning the abundance of wood for timber or fuel, plenty of water and broad open prairie with mile long unbroken furrows and much of it free, created a stampede for the West of not only farm folk but many tradesmen as well. During the spring of '82, it is said that every hour of each day in May, new settlers in wagons or Red River Carts could be seen following the trails in search of free land. They came by way of Chicago, Minneapolis and St. Paul to Emerson. Some had complete outfits. Others procured what they could afford at this point. They paid high prices for oxen which were supposed to have been broken and exorbitant prices for seed grain and potatoes. Many pioneers never forgot the type of deals that they were handed at this point.

The settlers of 1878 and '79 came by way of the Commission Trail from Emerson. The following year many came by the way of the Assiniboine River to Millford, near Wawanesa, on stern wheeler, flat bottom boats, and spread south and westerly via the Rowland Trail which ran south from Lang's Valley to Rowland townsite 10-4-18. Here the trail forked. One branch went south­ westerly again to the Cherry Creek district, the other continued on south to the Wakopa area which was usually referred to as the "Wakopa Timber Trail."

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