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Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire
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This district located just a few miles south of Portage la Prairie was named by an Englishman, H. Simmons, in 1920 when a school, needing a name, was erected. Most English people were admirers of the famous Thomas Gainsborough paintings and it is logical to assume that it was named after him.
At one time the Metis Indians were the owners of part of the district, with the c.P.R. and the Hudson's Bay Co. owning all except the wooded U niversi ty crown lands, of the rest.
Speculators are said to have acquired the Indian land easily by offering them cash.
D. J. McLennan was one of the first, if not the first pioneer to take up a homestead in Gainsborough in 1879. Others who are known to have arrived before the turn of the century are as follows:
Edwin Garrioch, Joe Thompson, Art Allan, George Sheppard, Jim Henry, Alex Walker, J. Western, Lou Pedro, E. Gates, M. Silverthorn, Robert Graham and Chris Forge. The latter gentleman had an interesting (and profitable) hobby. He raised wild animals of various kinds and sold them to zoo keepers and parks boards.
Settlers who arrived after the turn of the century were: George Garrioch, R. J. Fawcett, Ben and Chet Fawcett, Bob and Jess Roe, the Rennie brothers and Frank O'NeiL
As in all early settlements, homes were built from handhewn logs. As late as 1924 a log home was erected in the district. Mr. S. P. Stewart used an unusual plan in this building by standing logs vertically instead of lying them horizontally, 120 logs, one and one-half feet thick were used in the two-storey home. A few of the settlers' homes are still in existence and occupied.
Mr. and Mrs. Stewart were beekeepers and shipped many tons of honey to customers far and near.
In 1912 the Dyson Pickle Company invested in land for the purpose of growing cucumbers. Due to early frosts this project was short-lived.
Gainsborough has enjoyed active community life through the years, which has benefited not only the people in the immediate area.
In 1939, Dan Mcl.aren, Jack Green and Walter Bird organized an Independent Funeral Fund Club. The purpose of the club was