Sunday, 15 January 2017

Early Boulton Winters

This cold and snowy Manitoba winter makes me wonder how the early prairie pioneers managed when they were faced with the same conditions.  Ann and Benjamin Boulton moved west in 1892 from near Brockville, Ontario.  Their climate would have been much more temperate there being on the Great Lakes than in the southwest corner of Manitoba.   

Six years after they arrived in Manitoba, Thomas Boulton purchased a second hand sleigh for $15 made by the Frost & Wood Company from Smith Falls, Ontario.  This company manufactured a large line of agricultural products including sleighs and this one was sold by a short-lived Winnipeg business, The Fairchild Company Limited.  

The 1903 account statement above was with David Percy, Livery in Reston.  Driving a lady out to the farm on February 11th was charged back to Thomas for $2. Perhaps it was one of his sisters- Louisa or Susie. This could have been a pleasant ride over a crisp snow or an ordeal in a snowstorm for the fare.

Writing on the picture above  indicates it was taken in 1915 and what a desolate picture it makes.  The farmyard now has plenty of trees and bush to block the north and east winds but in those days, there were none.  

This amazing picture from the mid twenties is of Randy's dad Edwin standing in front of the massive wood pile on the west side of the house. Can you imagine how many days of work it would have been to split and stack that much wood and I wonder how far they would have had to go to get it? 

These two pictures of Uncle Frank seem to be taken the same day in the 1930's and show the fun side of winter. On the left, he is with his younger sister Jean and is posing with Vi on his block fort on the right.  In the background of the first picture you can see the family's sleigh ready and waiting to be hooked up to the horses for the trip to town or elsewhere.

This picture says on the back that it is a snowmobile built by Hazen Bigney, Susie's husband, for Sherman Dayton in 1936.  The buildings in the background remind me of the former Lockhart Garage on First Avenue in Reston and I believe Hazen had a workshop in that area at one time.  This machine looks like the snowplanes on this blog. Lorch snowplanes  were first made at Spy Hill, Saskatchewan about 1929 to cope with impassible winter roads and remained in use until plows made winter road travel more reliable in the 50's.

This photo of the house from the west and was likely taken in the 40's. Drifts of snow covered the woodpiles and the smoke from the two chimneys shows there were 2 fires to keep going to heat the living areas and to cook their meals.  Bringing in wood and taking our ashes would be never ending jobs.

The promise of the coming spring brought an annual event to Reston and Uncle Frank saved his ticket and name tag to the Reston Bonspiel and Banquet in 1950.  I'm glad that besides the hardships and extra work, winter had its fun too!   

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