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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When the railway reached Grand Valley (Brandon) in 1882, the majority used this route, bringing into being the Brandon or Heaslip Trail, named after John Heaslip who drove down the mail from Brandon to our southwest are?- It crossed the Souris River at Sheppard's ferry, southwest to Sheppardville 3-5-20, then southerly to the townsites situated near or on the Commission Trail by the timber line of the Turtle Mountains. Most of the grain from our area went over this trail until the fall of 1885, when the Manitoba South Western Railway reached Cherry Creek, known as Boisse­ vain, in '86. In 1884 the first overseas shipment of wheat from Canada, was sent from Brandon to Glasgow, Scotland, totalling one thousand bushels. Possibly some of this grain may have been grown in this district.

Naturally the homestead land along the Turtle Mountains was taken up first, being close to a source of building material and fuel. To the northeast, in the Lang's Valley area, settlement in 1880 was general. While to the south and west, the open prairie land around Whitewater Lake-few homesteads were taken up until '82 when the rush for free land reached its height in the Souris Basin Area.

There were those who had never seen a farm and experienced heartbreaking ordeals. In their spare time from homestead duties, they would do whatever job they could find, associated with their earlier profession. Until the district had been settled for some time there were few opportunities for professional men, except black­ smithing. When large barns and houses were needed by the pioneers, carpenters and masons were in demand.

Pioneers who came from farms in the East and the Old Country were quick to adjust themselves to meet the demands and rigors of early settlement, but they too suffered many hardships.

Of the pioneers who settled our area, the majority came from Eastern Canada, principally Ontario, and the balance from the British Isles. However, on the north side of Whitewater Lake, a small community of French speaking people settled. In years that followed until the 1920's most of the immigrants were from the same source. Then we find people of Belgian origin settling in the Boissevain district and in 1924 Mennonites from Southern Russia settled in the Whitewater area on the land formerly known as the English settlement.

And so, mainly through hardship and determination, what was part of the Redman's kingdom for unknown ages, had been transformed by the walking plow, from endless miles of waving grass to one of Canada's finest grain growing regions.

The Cassidy Threshing outfit. A John Abel, formerly owned by Porrith Bros. of Old Desford in 1882, first steam power south west of Brandon.

- Photo courtesy Miss J. Armstrong

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