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who had a threshing outfit of their own, and those who were lucky enough to have one, did custom work all over the country. Some of the outfits that threshed us were owned by Billy Bradley, Billy Sage, Wallace Hill, the Voodres, and Ed Storey. The men on those old-time outfits worked hard, and put in long hours. I worked for a dollar a day, and was glad to get it too. The women did their share too, cooking three meals a day for seventeen to twenty-one or more threshers. These were the days when men came from the East on "harvesters' excursions" for the work and adventure in the harvest fields. It wasn't always "work and no play," for many jolly times were spent in the old bunkhouse during wet spells.

To look back over the old days, with its hard way of doing things, and then to look around us and see the easier way, our hardships may not have been in vain for those who are following in our footsteps, and we hope we have left them a richer heritage.


Benjamin Dickson was born in Dundalk, Ontario, in 1864 and came west to the Deloraine district in 1885.

At that time, the C.P.R. did not extend farther than Brandon, and so encountering a Mr. Longman who was freighting supplies to the Kirkwood settlement on the N.W. corner of Whitewater Lake, Mr. Dickson travelled with him. The two men followed a route from Brandon to Plum Creek (now Souris), and then southward to Deloraine. During their trip they encountered numerous small bands of Indians travelling westward, presumably to join the Riel Rebellion.

After a short stop with the Kirkwoods, Mr. Dickson proceeded tohis homestead, N.E. 18-4-20, in the Primrose district. While erect­ ing a 12 x 14 sad shanty, which was to be his home, he slept beneath his overturned wagon box. Each morning he found it necessary to rid his' clothing of numerous snakes. Finishing construction of his shanty and a small stable, he turned to breaking the sod with his team of oxen. Since he had only one pair of shoes which were kept for Sundays, he followed his plow barefoot.

While reminiscing in later years, Mr. Dickson would often recall that he was never without money. Having left Brandon with a ,ten cent piece in his pocket, he kept this through the year of 1885.

Neighbors were few and far between. Standing by his shanty, he could look N.E. at a white tent rising from among the prairie grass. This was the temporary home of Ben Halliday while he was building himself a home. Treeless landscape surrounded Mr. Dick­ .sons' homestead On all sides. Bluffs were ~carce due to the ravage of prairie fires. Later one of Mr. Dickson's neighbors, Mr. J. Me­ Cutcheon of 14-4-21, almost lost his buildings in a prairie fire. So dense was the smoke, that Mr. McCutcheon was unaware of the