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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Robert's nearest neighbors were Jim and Joe Burgess, who homesteaded on 22-2-20. Brandon, 55 miles north, and Emerson, 125 miles to the east, were the nearest centres at which to buy groceries. The trips were made by oxen or on foot.

A grist mill was built at Wakopa, as well as Weir's blacksmith shop and a saw mill. There was also a saw mill at Lake Max, ruins of which may still be seen. Later still, a Mr. Nichols came from Ontario and had a store and post office at Cherry Creek just about where the round barn stands now at Horton.

The first church services were held in the Burgess and Link­ later homes. In 1890, Mr. Linklater donated the northwest corner of his homestead, 19-20-19, for a church which was called Burnside.

In 1891, Linklaters had a post office. The mailcarrier at that time was Mr. Alex McKnight, who also carried the mail to Wassewa on his route. Desford was the nearest school.

In 1885, Indians, pretending to be carrying the body of an Indian chief to a northwest burial ground, attempted to smuggle a Gatling gun from Minneapolis to help in the Riel Rebellion. They came by the Missouri Trail and along the old Commission Trail, but were spotted and captured by the Border Patrol just west of Wakopa.

When the first train arrived at Boissevain on Christmas Day, 1885, Robert returned on it to his old home in Bluevale, Ontario, where he married Margaret Anderson. She was born in Canada of Irish parents who had taken two months to cross from Ireland in 1835.

On February 26th, 1886, the Johnstones arrived in Boissevain, after taking eight days to make the trip from Toronto.

Now began a strange hard task for Mrs. Johnstone, to make a home in the wilderness. She made her own yeast from wild hops that grew on the mountain; made lye from wood ashes to make soap, and also made her own vinegar. She and her husband picked saska­ toons and cranberries for their winter fruit, which was supple­ mented by apples shipped in barrels from Ontario. In 1898, a bad bush fire destroyed much of the big timber on the mountain, and wild raspberries grew in abundance over the burned area, along with a few strawberries. People came from miles around in wagons or buggies and camped for a few days while they picked the luscious fruit for winter preserves.

At the time of the fire many wild animals perished in the blaze.

Some escaped, however, and as we lived on the edge of the moun­ tain,we saw many fleeing animals, some singed and some burned, among them rabbits, faxes, wolves, bears, a few deer and moose, and of course many wild birds.

In those early days wild life was teeming. Brown and black bears were common, and coyotes howled around our buildings at night. In spring and fall, the fields were covered with migrating