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J ames Stewart was born at Trincastle, Blair Athol, Perthshire, Scotland, and came to Canada in 1855. He married Ann Fraser of Nairn, Ontario, and by 1871 they were the parents of five sons, Hugh A., John S., Dougal R., Donald J., and William M. With this family they joined the Walter Lynch party who Were coming to settle in Manitoba.
They travelled by train to St. Cloud where they transferred their belongings to wagons. Further along the trail the wagons were loaded onto tugs and transported down the Red River to Fort Garry; here the wagon-train was re-formed, and they proceeded their journey west. At Sturgeon Creek, camp was set up for the women, and James Stewart, accompanied by Duncan McKay, Rod McKenzie and John Garnett left the party to search out a suitable spot for a settlement.
Being men with calculative minds, they looked for a spot most suitable for a settler's requirements, which were water, wood and an abundant hay supply; and after many days of absence from their families they returned to tell them that High Bluff would be their home.
While the men-folk were away, their wives had a few un pleasant things to cope with, but proved equal to the occasion, in the spirit of the '70s. For instance, the time Indians charged into the Stewart home demanding liquor and tobacco! Mrs. Stewart had neither of those commodities and pacified them with tea and food.
There was also the time when a baby was demanding attention and Mrs. Stewart shook the buffalo robe, on which he had been lying, and a snake fell out and slithered away! THAT would shatter the equilibrium of the most stalwart maiden today!
There are several families mentioned as having arrived in High Bluff in 1871: James Whimster, John Wilton, Roderick Me Kenzie, Francis Muir, Edwin Newell, John P. Garnett, John Gowler, Andrew Boyd, Mathew Owens, and two brothers, William and James Donnelly.
We have a little information about the Donnellys that might be of interest to many: William Donnelly, born in 1837, and his wife, Isabella Moggey, born in 1822, came from Grey County, On tario, on the above mentioned date, and took up homestead 18-12-5 N.E. They had six daughters: Jane, Eliza, Annie, Isabel, Margaret and Rachel, and one son, Andrew William, all of whom can now be named among the pioneers.