Jottings from a Buckboard
Four Hundred Miles and Three Weeks
on the Trail in May 1881

J.F. Tennant

Ten articles from the West Lynne Southern Manitoba Times, 10 June 1881 to 20 September 1881, narrating a trip across southern Manitoba with a buckboard; a journey of 440 miles in three weeks, 8 May 1881 to 28 May 1881

Felix G. Kuehn
Founding president
of the
Boundary Commission NWMP Trail Association


The illustration on the front cover entitled

is based on a photograph
from the
International Boundary Commission Collection
of the
Public Archives of Manitoba

Thursday, 12 May 1881
… In the morning with Mr. Gauvreau we took a ramble around inspecting some of the fine sections of land in the neighbourhood bordering on the timber of the Turtle. Here, on one of the highest mounds of the Whitewater Coulee, we came across a
Solitary Indian Grave.

On four crotches about seven feet high in the air, a rude coffin was elevated and covered with a bright scarlet cloth indicating that he was the son of the Chief of the Mountain. This mode of burial was viewed by my companion with great wonder and astonishment.

Jottings from a Buckboard
Section VII

The footnotes to this section suggests that Mr. Gauvreau had taken his guest, Mr. J.F. Tennant of West Lynne, to view the grave of a son of H’damani, Sioux chief of the Turtle Mountains. Early settlers recalled that three of the chief’s five children died of TB before they were thirty. One of these was a son who passed away early in 1881 and whose body was hoisted “up on some poles in the cemetery” where it remained “a long time”. A considerable number of these Sioux tree burials could be see in various locations in the Turtle Mountains until they were destroyed in the great fire of 1896.

The site of this Sioux cemetery southwest of Deloraine is well known to local residents. One large oak still growing on the site is said to have been used for platform burial during the first decades of this century. In contrast to the practise of most of the other Indians of Manitoba, who buried their dead in the ground and then erecting small houses over them, the custom of the Sioux was to wrap the deceased members of their tribe in buffalo robes and lay then on a platform either built in the branches of a large tree or erected on log supports. When the platform eventually collapsed, the bones were reverently gathered up and buried in a leather pouch where they had fallen. During the summer of 1991 the use of modern technology, which enables researchers to locate graves without disturbing the ground in any way, definitely established the presence of these so-called “bundle burials” among these trees “on one of the highest mounds of the Whitewater Coulee”. One of these bundle burials may be that of this son of Chief H’damani visited by Messrs. Gauvreau and Tennant as they made their way “west before the railroad.”
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(The following articles originally appeared in the editions of the West Lynne Southern Manitoba Times on the dates indicated.)

No. I From West Lynne through the West Mennonite Reserve – 10 June 1881

No. II Mountain City; Darlingford; Pembina Crossing – 17 June 1881

No. III Crystal City; Clearwater; Badger Creek and Waugh Town – 30 June 1881

No. IV The White Mud River and the Lake District – 8 July 1881

No. V Turtle Mountain and the Boiler Trail – 15 July 1881

No. VI Whitewater Store, Lake and Concert – 22 July 1881

No. VII The Turtle Mountain Land Office; Whitewater Coulee, the Souris River and a Solitary Indian Grave – 29 July 1881

No. VIII Lang’s Valley and the Tiger Hills – 5 August 1881

No. IX Millford, the Assiniboine River, the Brandon Hills and Newcombe’s Landing – 12 August 1881

No. X Back to the Turtle Mountain Land Office; on to La Riviere’s and then to Pembina Crossing – 19 August 1881

No. XI Pembina Crossing and Nelsonville – 26 August 1881

No. XII A Visit with a Clergyman; overnight in a Mennonite village and then home to West Lynne – 2 September 1881


First week

Sunday, 8 May 1881 – With Mr. Pringle left West Lynne on a beautiful Sunday morning; a mile west joined a party of immigrants with Mr. L. O. Armstrong as their guide. They had left Emerson on Saturday.

Monday, 9 May – On the road between West Lynne and the Twelve Mile Village – the worst piece of road within 200 miles; camped at the Twelve Mile Village, (Edenburg).

Tuesday, 10 May – Roads much better; bid farewell to Mr. Armstrong’s party; dinner at Brown’s Central Hotel 25 miles west of West Lynne; to Mountain City where we spent the night with Mr. R. Brown. Made 30 miles.

Wednesday, 11 May – Passed through Alexandria; dinner with the Aldersons at Darlingford 13 miles from Mountain City; met Mr. Landerkin of the Dominion Land Office, Nelsonville; through Pembina Crossing and Ruttanville; spent the night at Latimer’s about six miles from Crystal City. From Darlingford to Latimer’s, 21 miles for a total of 34 miles driven today.

Thursday, 12 May – Breakfast at Latimer’s; dinner at McLaren’s hotel in Clearwater 9 miles west of Latimer’s; continued on our way; overnight at McKibbon’s at Badger Creek 14 miles from Clearwater. Made 23 miles in total.

Friday, 13 May – Spent the day with Mr. McKibbon viewing his farm.

Saturday, 14 May – Accompanied by Mr. McKibbon, travelled through the valley of Long River to the vicinity of Pelican Lake, also saw Lorne Lake, Louise Lake and Rock Lake. Camped for dinner; returned to Badger Creek and spent the night with Mr. McKibbon. About 20 miles.

Total mileage for the week; 119.

Second week

Sunday, 15 May – Underway from Badger Creek, made a short stop at Pancake Lake, arrived at La Riviere’s at the foot of the Turtle Mountains about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Had a late dinner in Mr. La Riviere’s hotel while a church service was being conducted in the dining room; overnight at La Riviere’s. Distance from Badger Creek to Pancake Lake 14 miles; from Pancake Lake to La Riviere’s 13 miles. Drove about 27 miles today.

Monday, 16 May – Saw Mr. La Riviere’s stock and farm and looked at the mill; set off westward accompanied by Mr. O’Brien, a government land guide; got as far as Porritt’s on the South Trail and then struck across country to the North Trail. A storm threatened and so we drove to the Whitewater Store. Lunch here. The storm cleared off and so went for a stroll. Evening concert featuring the Sankey Brothers. Overnight at Whitewater. From La Riviere’s to Porritt’s, 11 miles; from Porritt’s to Whitewater, 10 miles; 21 miles in total.

Tuesday, 17 May – Visited some of the farms in the district. Left part of our camp outfit here and set out for the Dominion Land Office at Whitewater Coulee 7 miles from Whitewater; drove three miles further to the residence of Mr. Gauvreau, assistant to Mr. Newcombe. Supper and overnight here. 10 miles today.

Wednesday, 18 May – Made an early start and by 1 o’clock camped for dinner at the First Crossing of the Souris; 25 miles; rested our horses for an hour while we did some shooting; arrived back at Mr. Gauvreau’s shanty about 10 o’clock in the evening. 50 miles driven today.

Thursday, 19 May – In the morning took a ramble about with Mr. Gauvreau, saw the grave of the son of an Indian chief near Whitewater Coulee; returned the 3 miles to the Dominion Land Office accompanied by Mr. Gauvreau; a two hour drive of 7 miles brought us to Whitewater. Camped for the night near Tregent and Beck’s store. Another 10 mile day.

Friday, 20 May – From Whitewater 30 miles to a small lake for dinner; then 10 miles farther to Lang’s Valley, stopped at the homestead of Mr. Lang; forded river here and arrived in time for supper at the Johnson place, overnight here. About 40 miles covered.

Saturday, 21 May – left Johnson’s for Millford, a distance of 9 miles; when we arrived here accompanied Major Rodgers for a walk around the place. About 3 miles to the land office at Newcombe’s Landing. Bid adieu to Mr. Pringle who took the steamboat to Portage La Prairie and then continued on to Winnipeg by rail. Returned to Millford and camped for dinner; arrived back at the Johnsons early in the afternoon and camped for the night here. Total miles, about 24.

158 total mileage for the week.

Third Week

Sunday, 22 May – Set off at sunrise, stopped to water our horses at Lang’s Valley; camped at noon for dinner near a pond; overtaken by a storm while still in camp but nevertheless set out. When the storm cleared, the Turtle Mountains came into view. At sunset arrived at Tregent and Beck’s store where we were informed of the arrival of Mr. Armstrong’s party, which left Emerson on the 6th. Overnight here. 40 miles.

Monday, 23 May – Rested the horses; towards evening were joined by Mr. Armstrong; overnight at Whitewater.

Tuesday, 24 May – Drove the 7 miles west to the Land office accompanied by Mr. Armstrong where we parted company with Mr. Gauvreau; then east back from the land office; stopped at the Whitewater store for a farewell call on Messrs. Tregent and Beck; with Mr. Armstrong, set sail for home; towards evening arrived at the Alexander’s residence about 18 miles from Whitewater and a mile from La Riviere’s, spent the night here. 32 miles driven today.

Wednesday, 25 May – Purchased a Shaganappy pony and set out on the trail for Clearwater; stopped at Pancake Lake to have a bowl of hot tea; decided not to stay overnight with Mr. McKibbon at the Badger Creek Crossing but pressed on in company with Mr. Waugh, the proprietor of the townsite, and arrived at Clearwater. 42 miles.

Thursday, 26 May – Rested our horses in the morning; did not start out for Crystal City until after dinner. Drove past Latimer’s, Ruttanville and finally arrived at Pembina Crossing; camped for the night. 19 miles.

Friday, 27 May – At sunrise we were once more on the road and arrived at Darlingford for dinner 8 miles from Pembina Crossing. About four in the afternoon arrived at Nelsonville after a drive of about 15 miles; visited the residence and farm of Rev. Wilson; supper with them; drove 12 miles and camped for the night in a Mennonite village. 35 miles.

Saturday, 28 May – After a hasty meal set out towards West Lynne; 13 miles dinner and a short stay at the Central Hotel, then 25 miles on to West Lynne which we reached about four in the evening of a glorious summer day. 38 miles.

163 miles driven this week.

Total distance covered during this three week trek about 440 miles.

Messrs. L.O. Armstrong and J.F. Tennant, Government Land Guides, arrived home Saturday evening from the Turtle Mountain Country, having successfully located the parties they went out with a few weeks ago.

Emerson International, 2 June 1881



According to the constituting bylaws of the Boundary Commission NWMP Trail Association, one of the priorities of the association is the printing and production of “such publication and media materials as will increase public awareness of the significance of the Trail to the history and heritage of Manitoba.” In order to fulfill this mandate, the Trail Association has undertaken the compiling of two series of publications, A Story for Every Mile and Meet You on the Trail.

The former is a collection of articles having as their theme the Boundary Commission Trail and the history and heritage of the communities through which it passes. The first volume of this series, entitled Guide to the Historic Sites along the Trail, was released at the Trail Association meeting in Crystal City, Manitoba, in September 1989. It outlines the history of the Commission Trail in a format that was published as a brochure four months later. This was followed by Thou Grand Old Church of England … in the Pembina Mountain Country, a profile of the establishment of that denomination in southern Manitoba in the first years of the 1870s. It begins with an account of the Anglican services celebrated in the Hudson’s Bay fort at North Pembina just across the river from the present site of Emerson in the first years of the 1870s and focuses on the establishment of St. Lukes Anglican Church still in use on its original site beside the Trail in the Pembina River Valley. It was first printed for the Rogation Sunday service at St. Lukes Pembina Crossing in May 1990.

In January 1992, the Trail Association published Whither Thou Goest; The Life and Times of the Rev. Andrew Gordon and his wife Ann Copp Gordon, the story of the Gordons during the years 1882 to 1887 when they were ministers of the first Bible Christian Church in Manitoba at Alexandria, Manitoba, and the the Methodist Church at Manitou. Both are based on the writings of their daughter, Abbie Gordon. It also a synopsis of the founding of the Methodist Church in the Pembina Mountain district. The next volume in this series is entitled ‘Twas Once a Teeming Highway: Historic Sketches from along the Boundary Commission Trail. This volume is a collection of these “stories for every mile” recalling the time when, in the words of an 1881 newspaper article, the trail was “The great highway of the southern portions of the British Dominions in the far west.”

The second series Meet You on the Trail is subtitled West Before the Railroad. In these we accompany former travellers along the Trail; the explorers, buffalo hunters and fur traders, the International Boundary Commissioners, the NWMP and our pioneers forefathers for whom the trail was their lifeline to civilization.

The first in this series is a reprinting of a small book entitled The Turtle Mountain Country and Southern Manitoba written in 1880 by Rev. L.O. Armstrong, rector of St. Lukes Church of England in Emerson, 1879-1880. In its pages we accompany Rev. Armstrong and six other citizens of Emerson on their way west in order to gain a first hand knowledge of the country through which their town intended to build a railroad, the Emerson and Turtle Mountain line. This volume is illustrated with drawings by a close friend of Rev. Armstrong, Mr. R. N. Lea of Pembina Crossing and was released at the third Annual General Meeting of the Trail Association att Gretna, Manitoba, in March 1991.

You are now holding the second publication of this series., originally released at the May 1992 meeting of the Trail Association in Pierson, Manitoba. In it we again meet Rev. Armstrong guiding a party of settlers west along the Trail in May of 1881. However, now he is no longer the rector of the Anglican Church in Emerson but rather a Dominion Government Land Guide entrusted with assisting recent arrivals at Emerson, (and its twin city across the Red, West Lynne), in finding new homes in southern Manitoba. Our guide for the entire distance is Mr. J.F. Tennant, one of the earliest pioneers of the Emerson district. Highly knowledgeable about southern Manitoba and acquainted with many of its earliest settlers, we could not have selected a better companion for a three week trip from the Red River to the Souris, back to the Turtle Mountains and then north to the Assiniboine, a 400 mile trek in a buckboard.

As we head West Before the Railroad with Mr. Tennant we are astonished at the progress made in only sixteen months since our January 1880 trek with Rev. Armstrong. In a number of places where less than a year and a half before there was but a single store there are now thriving little villages. Not a little of this development, we learn, is due to the remarkable initiative of Rev. Armstrong. As we travel together down the Trail, we have the pleasure of meeting some of the English pioneers he has brought to Canada, particularly members of the first party who arrived at Emerson in June 1880 and now are pioneering in several communities along the Trail.

The circumstances of our May trip west are outlined by the West Lynne Southern Manitoba Times‘ Turtle Mountain correspondent in its edition of 10 June 1881 as follows:

During the last week we had an Irish delegate – Mr. Pringle – who came up under the care of your esteemed citizen and ready guide, Mr. J.F. Tennant. Mr. Pringle is in raptures with our fine country and has given proof of it by taking up his homestead and his homestead preemption in Range 22 West. He expresses himself as most favourably impressed with the Turtle Mountain Country above all others that he has visited and promises a large immigration of desirable settlers from the north of Ireland.i

Mr. Joseph F. Tennant came to Manitoba in the spring of 1870 as a member of the Wolseley expedition raised in eastern Canada in response to the execution in March 1870 of Thomas Scott by Louis Riel. Forty years later he published an account of his experiences in a book entitled Rough Times, 1870 – 1920; A Souvenir of the 50th Anniversary of the Red River Expedition and the Formation of the Province of Manitoba. It contains a wealth of historical information about many aspects of southern Manitoba history, some of which is incorporated into the footnotes of this volume.

When he got back to West Lynne, Mr. Tennant published a 12 article serial entitled “Jottings from a Buckboard” in the newspaper he was then associated with, the West Lynne Southern Manitoba Times. As each appeared, there is little doubt that it was read with great interest by the many subscribers of this newspaper throughout southern Manitoba. More than forty years ago, residents of southern Manitoba once again had a chance to enjoy “Jotting from a Buckboard” thanks to the late Mr. Howard Winkler of Morden.

Born at Morden in 1891 to a family having southern Manitoba roots going back to the 1870s, Howard Winkler early developed a keen interest in Manitoba history.ii Dr. D.A. Stewart, founding director of the Ninette Sanatorium and president of the Manitoba Historical Society, and Mr. Winkler in the early 1930s may be credited with rekindling an interest in the fur trade history of southern Manitoba and particularly in the location of the Northwest Company Pinancewaywining post near Morden.

In 1935 Howard Winkler was elected as the Liberal member for Lisgar in the House of Commons. While in Ottawa, he had an opportunity to spend some time in historical research, particularly in the early papers of Emerson and West Lynne. Knowing that there were many others with similar interests, he had his secretaries type out extracts from a number of these sources and make copies for various friends. Among those who received these articles was the late Mr. Chas. H. Vrooman of Manitou, a lifetime Liberal and the local historian. Some thirty years ago, Mr. Vrooman, then in his 90s, shared his copies with the collector of these notes.iii

The Boundary Commission NWMP Trail Association has reprinted Jottings from a Buckboard not only to “increase public awareness of the significance of the Trail to the history and heritage of Manitoba”, but also as a tribute to the memory of those pioneers whose names are mentioned in these pages. We shall not have the privilege of “meeting them on the Trail”, but we can still recall all of them with gratitude because of the contributions they made to southern Manitoba. No doubt both Mr. Tennant, who originally penned these pages, and Mr. Winkler, who again brought them before the southern Manitoba readers, would be pleased to see them once again in print.



Joseph F. Tennant, one of the old timers of the Red River Valley and a member of the Lord Wolseley Expedition of 1870, died suddenly at Yorkton at 12:30 o’clock Tuesday morning while on a visit to his daughter, Mrs. Arthur Watch. He was 76 years of age. Born in England of Irish parents, for many years he had been connected with the customs department of the Dominion government. He was one of the oldest and most respected members of the Army and Navy Veterans in Canada, having served on the Manitoba executive for a number of years. He had been a life member for about 35 years and attended every decoration parade since its inauguration, being prominent in the last parade.

He was the author of the book “Rough Times” which related the journey of the Wolseley expeditionary forces from Ontario through the uninhabited wilderness to Fort Garry on the western frontier. He had served as a bugler with the First Company of the First Ontario Regiment, his number being “9” of his company. Mr. Tennant had been present when Louis Riel, Ambrose Lepine and W.B. O’Donoghue of the Riel provisional government had made an ignominious flight across the pontoon bridge from where the present street car barns are to the ferry across the Red River and hence on galloping horses to the United States.

During the trip to Fort Garry, he had gained mention in dispatches through saving a boat’s crew from destruction by “promptness of action and gallantry in conduct.” In 1871 he was engaged in erecting telegraph poles to connect with a line from the United States when he and his helper saw the first scouts of the Fenians preparing for their third raid. The Fenian forces were later routed and captured by regulars of the US army.

Mr. Tennant was a connecting link between the days of the late ’60s and early 70s and the present, as he had been active in keeping track of early settlers. For some time he had been, in connection with his brother Harry, publisher and editorial writer of the “West Lynne Times” in the days previous to the amalgamation of the two rival cities, Emerson and West Lynne. He had also been prominent in the political and civic life of the frontier in the early days. He had joined the Ancient Order of United Workmen at Gretna and had later transferred to Phoenix Lodge No. 1 in Winnipeg of which he was a past Grand Master Workman. From 1885 up until recent years he had been collector of customs at the port of Gretna. Burial took place at Gretna Thursday afternoon and the funeral was very largely attended.

Mr. Tennant leaves his widow residing at 166 Wallace Road, St. James; five daughters, two of them, Edith and Dorothy, are living at home; Mrs. S. Dunn at Portage la Prairie; Mrs. E. D. O’Neill, at Wetaskiwin, Alta., and Mrs. Arthur Watch at Yorkton, Sask., and one son, W.H. Tennant, of Regina, Sask.

  • The Emerson Journal, 30 May 1924


News of the execution of Thomas Scott by Louis Riel in March 1870 reached Ontario within a matter of weeks and volunteers were soon being solicited for a force to go to Fort Garry to fight Riel and his forces. Among these was J.F. Tennant, a 21 year old member of the Ontario militia, who enlisted in the No. 1 Company of the 1st Ontario Rifles. Volunteers from Quebec enlisted in the Quebec Rifles and together with men of the Imperial troops of the 60th Rifles they formed a military force of some 300 men, the Red River Expedition under the leadership of a seasoned English army officer, Colonel Garnet Wolseley.iv

Making their way via the Lake of the Woods, the Winnipeg River, Lake Manitoba and the Red River, the Red River Expeditionary Force landed first in the vicinity of Selkirk and then, in a drenching rain, at Point Douglas three quarters of a mile northeast of the corner of Portage and Main on 24 August. Riel had fled to St. Boniface, was soon on his way south across the border, and Upper Fort Garry was soon occupied without a fight. Early in September, with the arrival of the new Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, a tall, quiet Nova Scotian, Adams G. Archibald, the work of the Red River Expedition was completed.

This left the men of the expedition free to return to their former homes. Many did so, but a considerable number remained, or later returned, to become an important element in population of the new province and western Canada. One of the most prominent was Hugh John MacDonald, only son of Prime Minster Sir John A. MacDonald. He was a member of the 1st Ontario Rifles and later premier of Manitoba.

Private William Alloway, 2nd Quebec Rifles, was a founding member, with Sergeant Champion of the 1st Ontario Rifles, of Alloway and Champion, one of the first and most successful banking firms in Winnipeg. Another veteran of the force well-known in Winnipeg was Judge John Walker who was elected to the provincial legislature, received the portfolio of attorney-general under the Norquay administration in 1876 and resigned in 1882 to become a provincial court judge. Dr. C.N. Bell, for many years secretary of the Winnipeg Grain Exchange, was also an ex-member of the expedition of 1870.

Other members of the force later went on to distinguished careers in the NWMP. Sergeant Constantine of the Quebec Rifles became Inspector of the Yukon district; Major Irvine of the Quebec Rifles was later commissioner of the force and eventually warden of the Manitoba provincial penitentiary. Captain Wm. Herchmer, (Ontario Battalion), and Capt. MacDonald and Lieutenant Jack Allan, (2nd Quebec), also entered the force. Herchmer, associated with the International Boundary Commission in 1872-1873, became Commissioner of the NWMP in 1886 and served until 1900 when he took a leave of absence to enter the South African War.

In rural Manitoba members of the force were outstanding pioneers of several communities. The Pembina Mountain Country, for example, had as its first permanent settler a member of the Expeditionary Force, Thomas Cave Boulton. Born in June 1846 in County Welts, England, he served as a scout for the Wolseley Expedition and then returned to England for a short time. “The wide open life of the prairies had gotten into his blood so he returned to Canada in 1872 to be one of the first settlers of the Municipality of Thompson.”v He established his homestead, a farm still in the Boulton family, along Silver Creek in what later became the Nelsonville area.

Other members of the Wolseley expedition who became neighbours of Mr. Boulton included John Cruise and Charles Viney Helliwell. The former was Number 71 of Number 3 Company of the 2nd Battalion of Quebec Rifles, the latter Number 295 of No. 6 Company, 2nd Battalion Quebec

Descendents of another member of the Wolseley Expedition are still living in the Manitou district. Samuel Forrest, born in Renfrew, Ontario, in April 1845 came to Manitoba as a voyageur with the force. He returned to Renfrew where he married Catherine Tait in 1873 and in 1879 came to New Haven Township northwest of Manitou where he took up a homestead. Mention of the tragic death of his wife and infant daughter in April 1880 will be found in Footnote 10 of Southern Manitoba and Turtle Mountain Country.

Several of the first residents of the Emerson community and neighbouring districts came out with this force, William Nash being one of the most prominent. Mr. Tennant outlines his life in these lines:

Major William Hill-Nash served as Ensign of No. 1 Company of the 1st Ontario Rifles. He held a commission previous to 1870 in the 7th London Light Infantry, afterwards the 7th London Fusiliers, and served in the Fenian Raid of 1866. During the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 he was Captain in the Winnipeg Light Infantry commanded by Colonel Thomas Scott, and returned at the end of the campaign with rank of major. In civil life, Major Nash was a solicitor and barrister and the first member for Emerson in the provincial legislature. He resigned to accept the office of Registrar of Deeds for Emerson district. Later he was transferred to the Land Titles Office in Winnipeg and was a resident of Winnipeg up to the time of his death on the 26th of April 1917.

Although another of Emerson’s most prominent founding citizens, F.J. Bradley, first inspector of customs at the Hudsons Bay post at North Pembina, (later West Lynne), was not a member of the Wolseley Expedition, his brother-in-law and partner in several business enterprizes, Dr. Alfred Codd, was. Of him Rough Times notes:

Surgeon-Major Alfred Codd was attached to the Ontario Battalion. After the return of the Red River Expeditionary Force, Dr. Codd was appointed to take charge of the provisional battalion formed to garrison Fort Garry and continued his services for many years as senior medical officer for Military District No. 10. He was highly esteemed among the medical fraternity of Manitoba for his professional knowledge and skill, and won the friendship of all by his kindly disposition. He died on the Pacific coast.

Associated with Mr. Bradley in the customs at Emerson was William Mills, the namesake of Mills Township, 2-7E, in the Pembina Mountain Country, south of Calf Mountain. He came to Manitoba with the 1st Ontario Rifles and had received the Red River Expedition medal and bar. He later worked for the Department of Dominion Lands and in 1920, the year of the publication of Rough Times, he was still residing in Emerson. Another prominent citizen of Emerson who was also a veteran of the Wolseley expedition was Mr. Johnson E. Cooper, originally from County Fermanagh, Ireland. In Emerson he was a founding partner of Cooper and Carmichael, building contractors. For a number of years he was a member of the Emerson town council. He passed away at Emerson, one of its most respected citizens, especially remembered for having brought to Fort Garry from Toronto the charter of the first Orange Lodge established in Manitoba.

Mr. Tennant wrote of another prominent resident of the Emerson community in these words:

Private W.B. McClelland, of the No. 1 Company of the 1st Ontario Rifles, returned to Manitoba in 1872 and took up land on the Marais near Letellier. He was one of the most prosperous farmers in the district and died a few years ago leaving a wife and large family in good circumstances.vii

Like Mr. McClelland, Mr. Tennant took up land in the Marais River district. The land of the former was located on the south half of 5-1-2E; J.F. Tennant’s farm was two miles north on the south side of the Marais River, NE 17-2-2E.viii


. The anonymous author of this article from the Turtle Mountain districts continued by stating:

… and no wonder when they hear the plain, unvarnished truth, clear of all interested misrepresentations, from one of themselves who has seen the land for himself. He can tell them that there is within their grasp a farm unsurpassed in any country containing 160 acres and on the terms an Irishman loves best, for nothing. An entry fee of two pounds, ten shillings, is all they are required to pay down while they can have a farther tract of 160 acres as a preemption at the rate of one dollar per acre. I am in a position to state that they will have ten years to pay for a splendid farm of 320 acres, most of it ready for the plow, for the total sum of forty-one pounds sterling. This is less than one year’s rent on a paltry ten to fifteen-acre farm, much of it stone and bog. It is my opinion that, when Mr. Pringle lays these facts before them, an inference unfavourable to them will be drawn if they don’t come in thousands right away. However, if they do come, (as I believe they will), they will never regret it for they will be coming to a fine and free country offering them everything which any reasonable man can desire – almost as a gift, plenty of timber, good water and a farm of 160 acres FREE.

Unfortunately the Land Titles Records for Range 22 begin in 1882 and so it is not possible to discover the precise location of Mr. Pringle’s homestead. Since we do not know Mr. Pringle’s first name, it is not possible to state whether he was one of several gentlemen by this name that secured land in southern Manitoba the following year.


. The Winkler family has many fascinating associations with southern Manitoba. Howard Winkler was a son of Valentine Winkler whose older brother, Enoch Winkler, was one of the first merchants in the town of Emerson. Valentine Winkler came to Manitoba from his home in Neustadt, Grey County south of Owen Sound, in 1879 to work in his older brother’s lumber yard in Emerson. In 1881, at the age of 16, Valentine Winkler became the manager of his brother’s lumber and grain business at Gretna and in 1883 at Morden. In 1891 he became the first reeve of the municipality of Stanley and the following year was elected to the provincial house. In 1892 William Whyte, western superintendent of the CPR, suggested that Mr. Winkler survey a townsite 7 miles east of Morden. The thriving town of Winkler has since grown up on this property. Mr. Winkler represented the Morden constituency, (later re-organized as Morden-Rhineland), until his death in 1920. In 1915 when the Norris administration took office, he was made Minister of Agriculture for Manitoba.


. The Rev. G.H. Hambley, minister of the Roland United Church, also received copies of these extracts of “Jottings from a Buckboard” from Mr. Winkler. He included portions of them in his excellent 1956 book Trails of the Pioneers. Unfortunately, in this publication, (page 25), he states that their author was a fellow United Church minister, Dr. Andrew B. Baird, the first minister of St. Augustine United Church on River Avenue in Winnipeg. Although Dr. Baird did use the pen name Buckboard, (probably because in the fall of 1881 he made a 49 day trip in a buckboard from Winnipeg to Edmonton), he was not in Manitoba in May of 1881.


. Sir Garnet Wolseley, 1833-1913, had such a brilliant military career that he has been immortalized in two mediums. The once popular British expression “it’s all Sir Garnet”, meaning “everything has gone well”, originally referred to this distinguished soldier. He was also the “model of the modern major-general”, the delightful Major-General Stanley of Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1879 production “The Pirates of Penzance.”


. Page 128, The Hills of Home: A History of the Municipality of Thompson, published in 1967 by the History Committee, Miami, Manitoba. An excellent picture of the Boulton homestead with its large stone home built in 1897 will be found on page 48 of the 1974 publication Pembina Country; Land of Promise edited by Dorine Brown.


. Mention is made of Mr. John Cruise in The Hills of Home, pages 378 and 401 and of Charles Helliwell on page 143. Mr. Cruise’s picture will be found on page 56 of Pembina Country.


. Descendents of this outstanding pioneer of the Marais River settlement include Mrs. Irene Milne, nee McClelland, a founding member of the Post Road Heritage Group; and James and Elmer McClelland, both prominent in its affairs since the organization of this association in 1984.


. Other southern Manitoba pioneers came because their relatives came with the Wolseley Expedition, stayed, liked Manitoba and wrote back encouraging them to follow. The Tennants are a good example. Henderson’s Directory for 1877 mentions Henry Tennant Sr. and Thomas Tennant as farmers in Township 2-2 with Henry J. Tennant Jr. as a hotel and store keeper in Emerson. Late in 1880 Henry Tennant established the West Lynne Southern Manitoba Times newspaper which later amalgamated with the Emerson International.


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