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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In 1881, Tom Fox decided to take a homestead (S.E. 10-2-19) in the Turtle Mountain district. This was one of the first homesteads granted by the Turtle Mountain land office. As the chief aim of the settlers at that time was to have an abundance of wood and water, and the soil seemed to be a secondary consideration, the homestead operated by Frank, his son, proved to be a veritable rock pile. A two-storey "frame" house was built on this homestead in 1883 of poplar lumber from the mill.. To ensure warmth and prevent rodents from working in the walls, the space between the walls was filled with shavings and ashes. This house was used until 1924; when it was demolished much of the old lumber was in as good condition as when it came from the mill, 40 years earlier.

Also in 1881 Thomas Armitage, the husband of Margaret Fox, came to the Turtle Mountain district to homestead. The next year he brought out his family and his infant granddaughter, Mabel Blackwell. Armitage purchased a homestead on S.W. 10-2-19 from J ames Fox. In 1881, Frank Kingdon came into the district from Rapid City. He opened a store south of the Armitage homestead, 1883. By this time the railroad had reached Brandon and supplies could be obtained there. In 1885, Kingdon bought the farm he still owns.

Early church services were held by an Episcopal minister, a Mr.

Aitkens, at the Fox home in the summer of 1882. These church services were conducted by travelling ministers about once a month; many settlers coming for miles, often on foot.

Schools began to make their appearance in the district about this time also. Maple Grove School was the first to be built, north­ east of the present site of Desford. Westlake School was built next in 1885, two miles east and one mile south of the Armitage home­ stead. Frank Fox, his wife, and the older members of the family, all attended this school, which was not replaced until 1918.

In those days, doors were never locked, and it was a common occurrence to get up in the morning to find several people lying asleep on the floor. Any mail that came to the district was brought by any traveller who happened to be going through the district and was left at the Fox home for distribution. Often this mail was months old before it was delivered.

In 1884, Mr. Fox decided to move his mill west, and use it to cut lumber for snow sheds for the C.P.R. which was being rapidly extended westward. The mill was dismantled, hauled to Brandon, and shipped west of Calgary. When he moved west his son Frank fulfilled homestead duties and remained in possession of the land. Mrs. Fox and the family remained in Manitoba while Mr. Fox returned every year.

Mrs. Fox died in 1901 and Mr. Fox died in British Columbia in 1907. Thus the history of the Fox family, particularly the Thomas