Saturday, 1 December 2018

Local Reston History - The Peanut


This blog post originated after being connected through a Facebook post with a former Restonite who has fond memories of her childhood and "The Peanut" - a steam freight and passenger train that traveled between Reston and Wolseley, SK.  A booklet (pictured above) written by Gilbert McKay in 1976 and the pictures included from the Reston Museum helped me tell the story to go along with her recollections. 

Apparently "The Peanut" was so named by Ed Scriver, editor of the Wolseley News.  On hearing the train’s whistle for the first time the former Englishman is said to have exclaimed, “It sounds like a peanut vendor”.   The usual timetable of the train was a early morning run from Reston arriving in Wolseley at 5 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It left Wolseley at 7 am on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to return to Reston. The round house/engine house still stands where the train was serviced and turned around that night until 1930 when a "wye" track was built instead. 

(Randy and I had quite the Abbott and Costello moment when I asked him what a turn around track was called.  My former railroader husband said "wye" but I heard "why".  That's how the fight started... haha)

 The train was noted for being slow, covering the 122 miles in fourteen hours, but that is somewhat understandable with a potential of fifteen stops along the way to pick up and unload passengers, freight, cream cans and the like.  It could also be delayed due to having to wait to cross the CNR line at Peebles (then called Kaiser).  The final train, still a steam engine, left Wolseley on August 31, 1961 along with cheers and tears along the way. 

My thanks to Arlene Breland of Aldergrove, B.C. for sharing her memories with me and for whetting my curiosity about this important chapter from Reston's past. 
When I was eleven years of age, my father who worked for the CPR Rail, was bumped to a small town on the south-western area of Manitoba called Reston.  When Mother, my brother & myself arrived we were in disbelief, for the house we were to live in had no running water and a wood burning stove.  What a culture shock that was coming from the city of Winnipeg with all the amenities.  We arrived during the summer holidays not knowing a soul and thinking what planet have we arrived on.  The summer seemed endless with many tears shed every night.
Then came the first day of school and Mother told me to get dressed in my school uniform, which consisted of a tunic, white shirt, black tie and black knee socks.  Upon arriving at school was dismayed to see the kids dressed in blue jeans and very casual tops.  Their reaction was immediate, filled with laughter and snickers at the new girl standing in line.  I ran away from school that day and vowed never to return and even contemplated running away from home.  Mother took sympathy on me and after talking to my father they went out and got me some jeans, some tops and a pair of saddle shoes.  I returned to school with trepidation and although it was not easy, the kids finally accepted me.  
During that time my Dad was working on a small steam engine train which was affectionately called “The Peanut”.  It consisted of about four cars and travelled from Reston to Wolseley, Saskatchewan every second day of  the week.  Dad would be gone overnight and then return from Wolseley to Reston.  
Dad worked in the baggage car of the train and often let me make a trip with him during the summer holidays.  What an experience that was for me as we made stops in all the little towns on the way to Wolseley.  I remember sitting on the cream cans and listening to the “clickity-clack, clickity-clack” of the train as it traveled along the rails.  The whistle would always blow as we came to another town.  My father would unload and reload and then we would be off again.  He made that trip every weekday back and forth.
Many a time after school I would listen for the whistle of the train as it stopped at the water tower, just outside of town to refill before it pulled into the station.  I would quickly run across town and stand on the wooden platform patiently waiting for it to pull into the station.  What a beautiful station it was.  I still recall the station master, Mr. Anderson, if it was raining he would call me inside and let me sit at the telegraph desk until "The Peanut” pulled in.  How I loved its musical sound as it chugged in and came to a stop with its last few breaths of steam and there she would sit in all its glory for the child who absolutely adored her.  I would help my Dad as he finished unloading take his weigh bills and we would walk back home together. 
"The Peanut” existed from 1906 until 1961 and to this very day whenever I hear the lonesome whistle of a train, memories flood back to that very special time in my life, where times were at a slower pace and almost magical.
Now as I reflect back on the past, I realize how fortunate I was to grow up in the 1950’s, to have the opportunity to reside in Reston, where to this day have two very special friends who have remained in my life throughout these many years.  It was a “Camelot Era”, which will forever remain in my heart..
Written 2004 by Davina Arlene

Sunday, 30 September 2018

The Mystery of the Auction Sale Pictures

Well then.  Something I could never imagine has happened.  Today's post could appear on both my family blogs-  52 Ancestors 52 Weeks and The Boulton Blog.  No, I’ve not found out we are actually related - but it got me wondering!

At a recent Prairie Lane Consignment Auction sale at Souris, I was just about to leave empty handed when I took one last stroll around the tables of treasures.  I’m not sure how I missed it the first look around, but sitting on the table with items waiting for the top bidder was this picture!  I'm sure my chin hit the floor and looked around to see if someone had a hidden camera on me.

As featured in this previous post, it shows the Boulton family in front of their 1892 home south of Reston around 1910!  An identical picture hung on the wall in the old house for many years and was moved to hang in the new building in the yard a few years ago.  As I sat there (trying to look cool) waiting for it to come up, I wondered where it had been in the 108 years since then.  It has a mark in the corner to indicate it was taken by the Reston photographic company Boynton & Eaton.  The RM of Albert history book from 1984 includes the same picture and identifies the people as (standing on veranda) Herb Boulton, Susan Bigney, Annie Kendrick, (standing beside) Stanley Boulton , Anthony Boulton, Thomas Boulton (Randy’s grandfather) , Louisa Roe, Russell Roe, Ann Boulton (Randy’s great grandmother) and little Tom Roe sitting in front.  Wherever it's been, the picture is now framed and takes its place on top of the old Boulton sideboard buffet in our home alongside pictures of the next generations.

The same consignor,  #16, had another beautiful old portrait for sale and the more I looked at it, the more I thought I saw facial similarities to some of Randy’s cousins.  When I sent him a photo of it, he agreed the face looked familiar so I was waiting on pins and needles again.  (I really had to visit the washroom but just couldn’t leave and risk missing it come up for bids! haha)  It and a few others in the lot went up to $30 before the auctioneer looked at me and said "Sold!"  I may have scared the other bidder out with my waving frantically...

After getting it home, Randy took the shingles off the back of the portrait.  I was so excited to see if there was a name on the back.  We had guessed it was likely Louisa Roe, Grandpa Thomas Boulton’s sister.  When the first board was off, I could see there was indeed pencil cursive writing on the back of the picture!  The second board was removed to a gasp - Jas Milne, Griswold, Man.  Whaaaat?  Milne’s are my relatives! 

Milne is a common name in the North East part of Scotland and a Milne who I found on Facebook and a former resident of Griswold has helped me immensely in my research by telling me there were 3 families of that name in Griswold when she was growing up and none were related!  As we talked, we found we had shared Milne roots with the same great great grandfather John! My Grandma Kinnaird’s first cousin was Roy Milne, the UGG grain buyer at Griswold for 30 years. 

I have done some online (and on ground) research and have made a few discoveries about this Milne family. I found a James Milne and his wife Isabella Bean are buried with matching marble stones in Griswold Cemetery.  He died in 1907 at the young age of 44 and she at 60 years old in 1924. He came to Canada in 1887 and she in 1891.

They had 4 children that I found using the Manitoba Vital Statistics website. They appear in the town of Griswold on the 1906 and 1911 Canadian census.   
  • Eric James born July 23, 1892.  He died in WW1 on April 17, 1917 and is buried in Nine Elms Military Cemetery in France.  his name appears on the war memorial in Griswold.

  • Victor Maurice born January 30, 1894. He was buried in Griswold Cemetery after his death on March 17,1963.  He had married Mabel Sanders on October 16, 1935 and she died in 2005 and is buried at Griswold.
  • Coralie Isobel born September 24,1895. She went on to marry Edward Senkbeil and they farmed near Kemnay
  • Cecil Vivian born April 25,1898
If the portrait was taken in the 1880's, it may be of Isabella or perhaps it is James' mother back in Scotland.  Maybe I have the wrong people altogether!  If anyone knows any descendants of James and Isabella, please let them know that I have this picture and would be glad to get it back to them.  When I contacted the auctioneer, she told me that Consignor 16 is looked after by the Public Trustee. She had spoken to the Public Trustee on my behalf and unfortunately all information is confidential and cannot be released. Those beautiful pictures will remain a mystery, she said.  She obviously doesn't know my genealogy detective skills!😉

Thursday, 28 June 2018

A View of Reston, Man

The postcard above was found in an online collection here belonging to the Heritage Place Museum in Lyn near Brockville, Ontario.  What an exciting find!  The treeless landscape made me think it was quite early picture and may have been sent back to Ontario by Benjamin or Ann Boulton.  They had left the New Dublin area in 1892 for Reston.    A kindly museum volunteer named John checked the back of the card and sent me a copy of it.

Reston Apr 7th 07
Friend Mort - Thought I would send you a B. eye view of Reston. By daylight.  Suppose you are in the sugar making now and we still have winter and sleighing yet.  I think the people who moved out here early this spring will wish themselves home.  Write.  Yours Hulls (?)

Rowsome and Boulton/Bolton families were both found around the New Dublin area according to the museum website.  I wonder who the people mentioned in the postcard who moved out there early that spring might have been.  Richard and Hester Kendrick arrived in Reston from New Dublin in 1900.  This family was instrumental in forming the school district south of Reston named Dublin  in honour of their old home.  If any readers know more about this or who "Hulls" may be, please contact me at or comment on this blog post. 

I went west down #2 Highway tonight to try to recapture the view on the postcard over 111 years later and this is the result below.  A grain elevator is barely visible just left of the center and the golf course covers the foreground. The town has grown in all directions and a brand new Spraypark just officially opened today.

 "Hulls" would never recognize Reston today!

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Edwin Benjamin Boulton (1920-1988)

Edwin and Randy
Edwin Benjamin Boulton - was born on the family homestead south of Reston on April 25, 1920 to Thomas and Elsie.  After already becoming parents to 4 girls, Edna, Violet, Annie and Emily, I am sure they were pleased to have a boy this time!  

Edwin in front of the massive woodpile!

Brother-in-law Joe Sowtis, Frank and Edwin Boulton
On October 6, 1945, Edwin married the local Kinloss school teacher Merle Lyla Cassell Merle and Eddie lived in the farmhouse with his parents and Uncle Anthony as well as brother Frank and sisters Jean, Mary and Faye.  What a houseful that must have been!  The farm grew over the years with more land being acquired, raising mixed livestock and a big garden to feed the family.  

Three sons were born to Eddie and Merle, first Richard Edwin, then Russell James and finally Randall Thomas.  Merle unexpectedly passed away shortly after Randy's birth in 1959, making Edwin a single father. He and his family carried on with help from neighbours like Mary Stonehouse, Jenetta Curtis and his sisters. Edna Pearn and her husband Ewen kept Randy until he was of school age but he raised his boys together on the farm from 1964 onward.  He kept the boys in contact with their Cassell relatives in Elkhorn and beyond.  These cousins have told me how the boys were always dressed up in white shirts and bow ties for these family visits!  

His sons fondly remember their Dad's special meals - navy beans soaked overnight, boiled cabbage, chicken or duck dinners and "finnan haddie" .   I hope anyone with memories of Eddie will share them with me to add to this blog post.  
My sons missed out on knowing their Grandpa Boulton.   After a battle with emphysema, Edwin died on May 25, 1988 in Brandon.  Today I want to wish him a Happy Father's Day and let him know what a great men his boys turned out to be!