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.

Page Index of Beckoning Hills History Book

Previous - Page 47 or Next - Page 49

with a yoke of oxen hitched to a covered buggy to help swell the crowd-they did get around. Football was also a popular sport; among the enthusiasts were Harry Stover, Herb Powell, Muirhead brothers, who were known to have walked to Ninga, a distance of from seven to eleven miles, to participate in a local tournament.

For those who enjoyed hunting, there w~s:; an abundance of wild life, consisting of small animals, fox, szunk, coyote, mink, muskrats, weasel, badger, also gophers, which ravaged the early settlers' crops. But why bother with these, when one could take his gun out and get 13 geese at one blast, as Jim Russell did in those days of plentiful fowl. Ducks, prairie chicken, also huge flocks of sand hill cranes were most interesting to watch in their early morning dances.

An early history would not be complete without relating some of the hardships and experiences of the early settlers who followed the old Indian Trail which wound its way through the Brandon Hills across country to Lang's Valley Crossing on Souris River, south to Old Rowland stopping house, from there through the Ferries and Darron farmsteads and South to Old Wakopa.

To mention a few-when Mr. Tom Hillier was walking to Brandon, a distance of about 57 miles, and carrying 100 pounds flour back to his homestead, swimming the Souris River, floating the flour across on a log. This laborious means of survival was also accomplished by Mr. James Dempsey, who would make the crossing swimming the river with his groceries on his back. And again, the experience of Mr. James McKnight, when the family ran out of flour in midwinter, walked to Gregory's Mills on Souris River, was caught in a four-day blizzard, while the family at home lived on a diet of potatoes and milk. One survivor says she has never liked potatoes since. Another experience in a lighter vein, when during a heavy rain-storm, Mrs. Muirhead having set her bread to rise, became ill, and unable to attend it. As was the habit of sod-roofed houses, the roof leaked, ran into the dough, spoiling the batch of bread. Mr. Muirhead in cleaning up the mess, threw the bread dough out-doors, where it was duly consumed by the family pig, which straightaway up and died. Great was the lamentation, because a family with the prospect of pork in a barrel was in a most fortunate position in those days.

Again we could relate instances of these hardy pioneers walk­ ing to the blacksmith shop, ten, twelve, and even twenty miles and back, with one plough share to be sharpened; also having to make a few rounds with the blacksmith's oxen and plough, to pay for the sharpening.

Then there was the hazard of winter blizzards which would blow three days one way, and three days back the other way; they were coupled with prairie fires in the fall, which would creep up in the night, though these usually gave some warning by the red glow in the sky.

-48-