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The prairies of Manitoba and who live on them Canadian Pacific Railway Company; Norman, Henry 1889

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^Y\0 \i\VE OH THEN
A Sketch of the Province, its People, Agricultural Capabilities
and Climate.
Special Correspondent of the Pa.ll Mall Gazette, London, and Montreal Star
» :■      .       , ./'•■v
•  [ •     ■      ; ; ; '
• - Tl)c ftaims of ilMpifcoba a
Hi)d wl)o liw ot) 5l)ett).
Deloraine—Journeying Across a Prairie—The Servant Difficulty—1
A Few Specimens of Successful Emigrants. '
From the Montreal Star Special Correspondent.
T is difficult to explain to you the extreme interest taken by everybody here
in the journey upon which you have sent me, but I must attempt to do so
in order to exhibit the reason for the break in the continuity o£ my letters.
The fact of an English correspondent being here who does not simply rush across by
rail and then send home an account chiefly imaginative, but is prepared to take all the
time and trouble necessary to see everything of importance, is so striking and so
welcome to Canadians, especially to those who are in any sense of the word still
pioneers, that they second his efforts so cordially and completely as to embarrass him
not a little. My experience throughout has been that no sooner have I set foot in a
new town than a dozen people turn up at the hotel, each intent on carrying me off then
and there to investigate the aspect of the country in which he is most interested; the mayor or some other public official sends a polite invitation to drive with him
through the neighborhood ; the railway places every facility at my disposal, and as a
result of all this, it becomes the most difficult of tasks to hide one's self for a sufficient
period to write a letter. No sooner had I returned to Winnipeg to conclude this series,
than I found it necessary to leave immediately, in order to have the advantage of the
company of several particularly well informed persons and officials over the next part
of my trip. Consequently, it is useless to date this letter from anywhere, because I
have no means of knowing when or where it may be finished.
77 tj T^/>1i^t1^1 f\/> the terminus of the southern branch of the Canadian Pacific
J IV (^Vlv.I-vlllyv) Railway in Manitoba, my experience of the genuine prairie
began. Until one has visited the Canadian and American West, Nature has only two
great impressive aspects—when she takes the form of sea or mountains. After a
journey like this, however, the prairie has to be added to these, and one's first sight of it
is in every respect as memorable as one's first glimpse of the ocean or the Alps. It is
a sensation, however, difficult if not impossible to describe. One feels one's self to be
the centre or focus of a kind of indescribable vastness or emptiness. One's house, or
one's sleigh, or one's own person projects from the surface of the earth in complete
solitude. There is simply nothing else but surface. Life on the prairie must be a
realization of the mathematician's illustration of existence in two dimensions of space.
If the day is dull and the sun happens to be obscured, one may travel for hours without
- - noticing the least difference in what must be called, for want of a better term, the
landscape, in any direction. The trail, whether it is wheel-marks on the grass or
sleigh-marks in the snow, is lost sight of 20 yards ahead, and one passes on and on
until the journey becomes almost dream-like, and the jingle of the bells in front grows
as weird as the imagination of the Polish Jew. By-and-by one ceases to talk to one's
companion, and, as the powerful little "Montana Cross" horses are trained to trot for
fifteen or twenty miles without stopping, there is nothing except the occasional
appearance of a wolf or prairie chicken to break the extraordinary monotony.
I shot a good number of these prairie chickens, and in queer places sometimes.
Mr. Whyte told me that a day or two before my trip with him he was dictating to his
secretary in his private car on a siding, when he looked up and saw a chicken on the
track twenty yards away, "Fred," he said, "get your gun, and we will have it for
dinner." The gun was fetched, the door cautiously opened, the chicken shot, handed
to the cook, and two hours afterwards was on the table. Naturally it is very difficult
to find one's way on the prairie in the absence of a regular well beaten trail, but few
people would imagine the extraordinary performances of a "tenderfoot" trying to get
from one place to another. If he attempts to strike a bee line for himself, he probably
ends the day a few miles behind the point from which he started; if he is more wary,
and guides himself by the sun, he invariably walks round and round in increasing
circles.    How the man experienced in prairie craft, which is wholly different from
— 3 — ■
wood craft, gets along, he is quite unable to tell, but without compass or map, or
anything beyond a pigeon-like instinct, he goes straight from point to point, perhaps
hundreds of miles apart. There are the farms to guide the stranger, it may be said,
but a farm on the prairie consists to the eye in winter of nothing but a little log house.
In most cases there is no attempt whatever to fence the land, and when the snow
covers the stubble there is not a trace of husbandry beyond occasional hay-stacks,
which at a few miles off look like sparrows or crows. Curiously enough the contrary
is true, for small objects close by appear to be large ones a long way off, and it is the
commonest experience to start out for what you take to be a farm house and find it a
bit of rail fence, or to drive towards what looks like a barn and see it fly away as you
approach. Hospitality is a right, not a virtue, in these far off climes. When you
have driven perhaps 30 miles, and mid-day with its corresponding hunger has come,
you simply make for the first house you see, unhitch your horses and make them
comfortable in the stable, and then walk into the kitchen and ask for dinner without
| so much as "By your leave."    Whatever the house affords is spread out before you,
and if you are a stranger you offer to pay, and the offer is generally accepted, especially
if the house is on a frequented trail and half way between two towns. At our mid-day
rest we found only the young wife of the settler, a woman of perhaps 25 years, and as
she had cooked for a dozen men at breakfast time (they had come over from other
farms to help her husband do his threshing), and as she would have to cook for them
again at supper time, she had nothing whatever prepared, and we were reduced to
— 4 — make a substantial, though indigestible meal upon large quantities of bread and
much-boiled tea. The horses fared better, and in half an hour we were jogging along
again, and did not stop till nightfall found us at the little town of Souris, or, more
prettily, Plum Creek, half way between Deloraine and Brandon.
TJ (T^^llAIt^h^) TT^tVSlIlT ^ ^en(^ *n Toronto had given me a letter of
M  M/aljliUJJa   l^alljlly.        introduction   to  Mr.   and Mrs. Kirchoffer, the
member for the district in the Provincial Legislature, assuring me that a visit would
be a remarkable experience and that I should find myself the guest of "the most
delightful and wittiest of women." The superlative, as Emerson used to say, is the
weakest form of speech, but my visit to Plum Creek was an oasis of charming home
life and literary talk in the desert of continuous travel and politics. If I could only
repeat half the things Mrs. Kirchoffer told me about life on the prairie, they would
make a capital book. I hope she will do it herself some day. I must try and remember
some of them higgeldy-piggeldy. One day, several of her husband's political friends,
including the Minister ot: the Interior, were sitting with them, and half in earnest
and half to tease him she pretended to find life on the prairie quite unbearable^
and pictured its discomforts and its privations for an educated woman fond of good
company, in a distressing manner. " My dear," said her husband, chidingly, and
wishing to give the conversation a more cheerful tendency, "you will admit at least
that there may be worse places than Manitoba."    " Richard," she replied, " I hope you
— 5 — L
don't think I am an infidel." Mrs. Kirchoffer keeps no servant for the simple reason
that there are none to be had. They come out from home knowing absolutely nothing,
receiving wages of $15 and $20 a month, saving this for two or three months, because
there is nowhere to spend it, and then get married just as certain as Christmas or
Midsummer comes. The last servant she had, came to Mr. Kirchoffer one day with
a pod of peas in her hand and the question "Sure, sor, and how will I get them out of
that?" on her lips. In six months she had become an excellent servant, when she
married a newly-arrived farm hand, who had just saved enough to take up a quarter
section for himself. A little while afterwards Mrs. Kirchoffer met the husband and
asked him why he had not brought Elly to call upon her as she had promised to do.
"Sure, ma'am," he said, "I have only got a buckboard, and she says she won't make
calls till I can take her in a spring wagon." So Mrs. Kirchoffer had to make the first
call, and discovered her former servant with a beautiful little house, dressed like a
lady, "and she gave us a gorgeous tea, and everything that heart could wish for, and I
said to her husband, \ Bad cess to you, Paddy, I wish that you had never set eyes on
her." A little while afterwards there was a fancy ball at Plum Creek, and Elly
came to Mrs. Kirchoffer (in the spring wagon) to consult her as to whether her
complexion and figure would show to better advantage as " Mary, Queen of Scots," or
as "Night and Morning." Mrs. Kirchoffer's washerwoman, again, is a lady named
Connolly. One day she sent for a carpenter to do some repairs in the house, but he
could not come for several days and explained that he had been occupied in providing
-6 —
* "Mrs. Connolly, late of Cork," with a south bay window in her bouse for the flowers.
A few years ago Mrs. Connolly lived at home in a hovel with the pig. I asked this
carpenter, a very intelligent Irishman, why on earth more of his countrymen and
women did not come out here, and why he and others who had done so well did not
write home and tell them of
% Dew §JofW agd its Cfca^s. ^9ffl|*g
They do not believe us entirely," and I found out afterwards that there is a great deal
of truth in the assertion. The imagination of poor people at home is inadequate to
believe the stories of the prosperity of their friends here. I may add, as one of the
pleasant chances of round the world travel, that at Mrs. Kirchoffer's request I have
written to Father Murphy, of Bodyke, asking him to arrange for Annie Hamilton to
come out in Mrs. Kirchoffer's service. Hamilton carried my camera for me during the
eventful weeks of the Bodyke evictions, and when I left refused any payment, only
asking that if ever I had the opportunity I would do something for his daughter.
She will have a very happy home here as long as she wishes, and if she does not marry
well and have a happy home of her own bye and bye, she will be literally the one
exception to the scores of examples of her class that I have met with here and heard
of. If she could persuade a dozen of her friends to come with her, so much the better
for them all. Winter on the prairie Mrs. Kirchoffer bewails, but in summer it is
glorious,   when  covered  with millions of flowers, and the birds sing to each other
-7- .1:
• i >
through; the grass, and everything is green in the beautiful sunshine.    Then to hang
out. the; clothes, she says, is a real privilege,
;•«"  :al    I have rambled on just as one's horses jog over the prairie, till there is no
space left for the serious matters of
In the 70 miles drive from Deloraine to
Ewtt)ii)g afd £ti)igpaMoi).
Brandon, and during the two days I
spent with Mr. Kirchoffer, going from farm to farm, and picking off chickens by the
way, I did not come across a single man who admitted that he was doing badly. No
doubt there are plenty of settlers thereabouts who have failed to realize even the more
moderate of their hopes of success in the new world, but 1 did not meet them. On the
other hand, I did meet and talk with scores of men thoroughly prosperous in every
way.; They all tell much the same tale, and I cannot add anything to the mere notes
of their names and circumstances and achievements, which I took on the spot. Here
are half a dozen, and I have no hesitation in declaring them to be typical of hundreds,
if not thousands of others:—
Wm. Wenman, from Kent, farmer, Plum Creek ; came 1881 ; capital, about
$1000 ; took up homestead and pre-emption for self and two sons, 960 acres in all; has
over 8,000 bushels wheat this year; three teams of horses worth $1200; eight colts,
worth $1000; cattle, worth $500; implements, etc., $1000.    His real estate at present is
m% at teast $8000.
■- H. Selby, from Leicester, office clerk, 23 years old, came 1883, took up
homestead and pre-emption ; capital nil; has this year 1200 bushels wheat, some oats
and barley; yoke cattle and implements worth $400 ; real estate worth $1200. (This
is a worker.)
Michael Creedan, carpenter, from Cork, came 1882 with wife and six children,
arrived at Plum Creek in d-^bt $400; has now good plastered house and two lots in
Souris town ; 160 acres good land ; four cows in calf, three heifers, pigs and fowls ; no
debts; real estate worth $800 ; cattle worth $300.
Dan Connolly, plasterer, from Cork, came 1883 ; brought out wife and seven
children; has now good plastered house in Souris town worth $600; cash at least
$500; no debts.
James Cowan, Irish, arrived in Manitoba 1882 without a dollar; hired out
until he could earn enough to buy a yoke of oxen; owns now 320 acres, of which 200
are under cultivation, comfortable frame house, two teams of horses, eight cows, and
everything necessary for carrying on a large farm; also a wife and two children; has
9000 bushels of grain this year.
-9 — .
Stephen Brown came out in 1882; was hired out till 1885; saved enough to
buy a team of horses and make payments on land;
13ncsko Tiand  iw 1XX ^ and had his first crop in 1886; got his brother
431 viVv JLLvlIyvl 11/ lOO^J to come out, who also had a team and bought
land alongside, so that they worked together ; have each 160 acres and good house and
stock;  raised the second year 7,000 bushels of grain.
Morgan and Thomas Powell, Welsh miners, came in 1882, $400 capital; last
year brought out their wives and families, whom they had left behind; have each 320
acres, good houses, horses and cattle ; have each about 4000 bushels this year.
Phillips Brant, a Guernsey carpenter, $1000 capital, has 320 acres, 60 head
of cattle; and three grown-up sons settled within four miles, all on their own farms of
320 acres and raising large crops.
Donald Sutherland and Thomas Stewart came from Scotland in 1882;
bought each a yoke of oxen and went to work breaking their land, their wives
meanwhile erecting sod houses, in which the families lived for two years. They are
now independent; good frame houses, a quantity of stock and large crops.
We cannot do better than close this pamphlet with a few of the many letters
just   received from actual settlers.    Is there any other known country where such
results can be obtained?
10 -
-, Kemnay, January 16th.
" I take great pleasure in giving a correct statement of the crop I had on my farm,
which is situated on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, seven miles west of the
city of Brandon. I had 155 acres of wheat, from which the total yield the past season was
6,840 bushels. One piece of 45 acres of summer fallow gave 2,340 bushels, being an average
of 52 bushels per acre, and 100 acres averaged 45 bushels per acre. I had also 45 acres of oat
which yielded 3,150 bushels, an average of 70 bushels per acre. Off 6 acres of barley I had
387 bushels. I planted about f of an acre potatoes and had 225 bushels good dry mealy
potatoes. The yield of roots and garden vegetables was large and of good quality. In
conclusion I would say that previous to coming to Ontario, Canada, I farmed in one of the
best agricultural districts of Germany, and after coming to Canada I farmed twelve years in the
county of Waterloo, Ont. I removed to Manitoba in March, 1884; that summer I broke 190
acres, off which I reaped in 1885 a fine crop of wheat fully as good as this year. My two sons
have farms joining mine and their crops yielded equally as large as mine.
" I must say that farming has  paid me better in this province than in Ontario or
the Fatherland. (Signed,) Christan Senkbeil."
From J. R. Neff, Moosomin District, N. W. T.
" Range 30 and 31, township 14, 4 miles from station. Came to country, 1883,
and settled in present location. Amount of capital $12,000. Acreage now owned, 4,000.
Under crop in 1887, 600 acres, present capital $40,000. Yield per acre 1887, 30 bushels
average.    Livestock, 14 horses.
- ii "1 am pleased to give my experience since I came to this country; my success has
been far beyond my expectations. I am fully convinced for extensive farming, wholly grain, or
mixed farming, it cannot be surpassed.
"1 think Moosomin district is equalled by few and surpassed by no other point in
Manitoba or the North West Territories.
" Moosomin is a first class grain market and is growing rapidly in importance."
Patrick Buckley came out in 1882; has worked on a farm, hired, ever since;
has $1500 in the bank.
" W. Govenlock—S. 27, T. 11, R. 23, near Griswold. Had 60 bushels of wheat
per acre on 5 acres, and 37 bushels per acre on 250 acres.
" Samuel Hanna—S. 7, T. 10, R. 22, near Griswold. Had an average of 40
bushels of wheat per acre on 250 acres.
"John Young—S. 1, T. 10, R. 23.    Had 65 bushels of wheat from one acre.
" Alex Johnson—Near Elkhorn. Had an average of 14 bushels wheat per acre on 14
"Geo. Freeman—Near Elkhorn. Had an average of 371 bushels of wheat per
acre on 50 acres.
"Thos. Wood—10 miles north of Virden. Had an average of 63 bushels of
wheat on 5 acres.    (315 bushels of wheat from 5 acres.)
" Rich. Tapp—South of Virden. Had an average of 51 bushels of wheat per acre
on 20 acres.
"Thos. Bobier—Half mile north of Moosomin. Had 40 acres of wheat, averaging
38 bushels to an acre.
" J. R. Neff—Three miles north of Moosomin. Had 115 acres of wheat, averaging
37 bushels per acre.
" G. T. Cheasley—Four miles north-east from Alexander. Had an average of 45
bushels per acre on 100 acres of wheat.
— 12 —
, "A. Nichol—Four miles north-east of Alexander. Had 150 acres wheat,
averaging 40 bushels per acre.
"H. Touchbourne—Four miles north-west of Alexander. Had an average of 40
bushels per acre on 100 acres of wheat.
" W. Watt—South-west of Alexander. Had 80 acres wheat with an average of 40
bushels per acre.
"Robt. Rogers—Near Elkhorn. Had 10 acres of wheat averaging 45 bushels peracre/
Dear Sir, Alexander, Manitoba, November 19th, 1889.
Having been asked by you to give an account of how I like this country,
I must say that I am well pleased that I came here. I came from the county Wellington, near Drayton; on the 9th day of November, 1880, I arrived in Winnipeg. I am
now over 9 years in the country and I am satisfied if I had stopped in Ontario for
30 years I could not have been as well off as I am to day, as I had very little to start
with—$800. I have sown now eight crops and have only had frost slightly in 1885
and 1888. 1 will give you the yield of my crops in the different years. I had eight
acres of wheat in 1882 that yeilded 300 bushels, average of 371 bushels per acre ; in
1883 had an average of 32 bushels off34 acres; in 1884 had 30 bushels off65 acres;
in 1885 had 32 bushels per acre off 80 acres ; in 1886, a very dry season, an average
of 18 bushels per acre; in 1887 I had 4,500 bushels of wheat off 100 acres sown, an
average of 45 bushels to the acre; in 1888 had an average of 28 bushels to the acre;
this year, 1889, off 140 acres sown, I had 2,300 bushels, an average of about 16 bushels
per acre.    My oats, in the different years, have yielded from 40 to 60 bushels per acre.
I have always had good potatoes ; this year my root crop was not very good
on account of the dry weather.    I usually grow turnips to feed my cattle through the
— 13 — ,
winter.    I keep an average of 10 to 15 head of cattle, and make a rule to sell 3 or
4 each year.
I now have 11 head of cattle and 10 horses and colts; my stock is worth at least
$1,500 ; implements worth $800; my buildings cost me $1,500 or more. I own 712
acres of land, have 275 broke or under cultivation, and to make a long story short, as
I said, I am well pleased with the country and am out of debt.
Yours very truly.        GEORGE CHEASLEY.
Dear Sir, Oak Lake, May 27th, 1889.
I have been here eleven years and have never had a bushel of frozen wheat,
nor any other kind of grain, and as for all other kinds of vegetables, they can be
produced to perfection. Two years ago I exhibited at Oak Lake cabbages weighing
36 lbs. each ; onions weighing 1 lb. each; potatoes from 2§ to 4 lbs.; beets from 9 to
14 lbs. and turnips 22 lbs. I should think that immigrants would not delay a moment
in coming to a country that can produce vegetables of that enormous size, without the
use of manure of any kind. At any rate they should come and see it. The C. P. R.
gives you a good chance to go over it. This is the time for you. Come ! Do not wait
any longer, for in a few years all the land will be taken up for a hundred miles west.
I came to Oak Lake in preference to Dakota and Montana, because this country is
far ahead of anything I ever saw across the line, and I am to-day still more convinced
that Manitoba and the Northwest will surpass anything ever seen for mixed farming,
and I know that if you will only take my advice you will never be sorry.
If you want further particulars, write to me personally, and I will make it
my duty to answer you immediately. AMABLE MARION.
The Canadian Pacific Railway Company offer for sale some of the finest Agricultural Lands in
Manitoba and the Northwest.    The lands belonging to the Company in each
township within the Railway belt, which extends twenty-four
miles from each side of the main line, will be
disposed of at prices ranging
(These regulations are substituted for and cancel those hitherto in force.)
If paid for in full at time of purchase, a Deed of Conveyance of the land will be given ;
but the purchaser may pay one-tenth in cash, and the balance in payments spread over nine
years, with interest at six per cent, per annum, payable at the end of the year with each
instalment. Payments may be made in Land Grant Bonds, which will be accepted at ten per
cent, premium on their par value, with accrued interest. These bonds can be obtained on
.application at the Bank of Montreal, or at any of its agencies in Canada or the United States.
All sales are subject to the following general conditions :—
1. All improvements placed upon land purchased to be maintained thereon until final
payment has been made.
2. All taxes and assessments lawfully imposed upon the land or improvements to be
paid by the purchaser.
3. The Company reserve from sale under these regulations, all mineral and coal lands ;
and lands containing timber in quantities, stone, slate and marble quarries, lands with water-
power thereon, and tracts for town sites and railway purposes.
4. Mineral, coal and timber lands and quarries, and lands controlling water-power, will
be disposed of on very moderate terms to persons giving satisfactory evidence of their intention
and ability to utilize the same.
Liberal rates for settlers and their effects will be granted by the Company over its Railway.
Detailed Prices of Lands and all information relating thereto can be obtained on application to the Land Commissioner,
Canadian Pacific Ry.t Winnipeg. I
All even numbered sections excepting 8 and 26 are open for homestead entry.
*     e^jv:t:ry
Entry may be made personally at the local land office in which the land to be taken is
situate or if the homesteader desires he may, on application to the Minister of the Interior,
Ottawa, or the Commissioners of Dominion Lands, Winnipeg, receive authority for some one
near the local office to make the entry for him.
*      DUTIES       *
Under the present law, homestead duties may be performed in three ways:
1. Three years' cultivation and residence, during which period the settler may not be
absent for more than six months in any one year without forfeiting the entry.
2. Residence for three years within two miles of the homestead quarter section and
afterwards next prior to application for patent residing for three months in a habitable house
erected upon it. Ten acres must be broken the first year after entry, 15 acres additional in the
second, and 15 in the third year ; 10 acres to be in crop the second year, and 25 acres the third year.
3. A settler may reside anywhere for the first two years, in the first year breaking 5, in
the second cropping said 5 and breaking additional 10, also building a habitable house. The
entry is forfeited if residence is not commenced at the expiration of 2 years from date of entry.
Thereafter the settler must reside upon and cultivate his homestead for at least six months in
each year for three years.
may be made before the local agent, any homestead inspector,  or the intelligence officer at
Moosomin or Qu'Appelle station.
Six Months' Notice Must be given in Writing to the Commissioner of Dominion Lands by a Settler of his Intention Prior
to Making Application for Patent.
INTELLIGENCE OFFICES are situate at Winnipeg, and Qu'Appelle Station. Newly
arrived immigrants will receive at any of these offices information as to the lands that
are open for entry, and from the officers in charge, free of expense, advice and assistance in
securing lands to suit them.
All communications having reference to lands under control of the Dominion
Government, lying between the eastern boundary of Manitoba and the Pacific Coast should be
addressed to


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