Saturday, 28 October 2017

Hargrave Cooperative Elevator Association Pool No 81

On taking another look through scrapbooks complied by Fred Bowering that are in the Reston Library (see the previous about them post here ), I found a clipping from the 1963 Manitoba Co-operator about the beginning of the Hargrave Cooperative Elevator Association No 81 that has a family connection.  The postcard picture at the top of the post was among things from my Grandma Kinnaird's trunk and it was interesting to learn the story behind it.   Binding Our Districts history book written in 1989 helped me fill in a few details too.

The first grain elevators were built in Hargrave in the 1890's.  Ted Holmes built a private elevator and ran it until a tragic fire claimed his life along with 2 others and destroyed his elevator in 1903.  The Northern was a red painted elevator that burned in the same fire.  McLaughlin & Ellis ran a black painted elevator but farmers felt they charged too high shipping costs and their dockage for weed seeds in the grain was often inflated.  Wheat prices had collapsed in the 1920's and farmers were looking to maximize their profits.  Platform loading was possible onto producer cars where farmers pulled alongside a rail car and shoveled their grain in but it was back breaking work and they had to work fast to have it loaded in time.

On April 12, 1928, 46 men met to discuss the possibility of building their own Cooperative Elevator on the former site of the Northern. My grandfather Frank Kinnaird, Great Grandfather Alexander Milne and Great Uncle J.J. O'Neil were among those men.  Ten thousand acres needed to be signed up for the project to go ahead and this was soon done and the project was a go.  They decided the building would be built and equipped with nothing but the best including a five unit cleaner, electric lights and generator.  This article boasts there were only 2 years where the elevator's revenue did not meet the operating costs even through the dry thirties.

An agent's cottage was also included and the final total cost was $22 851.  In October of 1928, P.J. McDonald was hired as manager and helped to make it a successful venture.  Later managers were men named Morrison, Shilson and Cullen. Albert Cullen was succeeded after 35 years on the job as manager by Don Leadbetter.  In a full circle moment, Don just happens to be the son-in-law of Fred Bowering ,the man who compiled the scrapbook of clippings!

Alex Milne served as president of the Co-operative for a time and J.J. O'Neil was the first vice president and later president.  At the time of the article that was found in the scrapbook, my uncle Keith Kinnaird was secretary.  The Hargrave history book confirms he held this position until 1979 when the elevator was traded to become  a part of  United Grain Growers property.

The Manitoba Historical Society has undertaken a project to catalog all past and present grain elevators in Manitoba and you can read more about it here. The page about this elevator now includes the Kinnaird postcard picture from 1946 here.  The cooperative movement of farmers in rural western Canada has an important history as well and one that led to the success of my ancestor's farming endeavours.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Milne 50th Anniversary Celebration in 1947

Almost seventy years ago, on December 17, 1947, friends and family from far and wide gathered to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my great grandparents, Alex and Jeannie Milne at Hargrave School.   More than just a celebration, the Milne's reenacted a Mock Wedding in front of friends and relatives to mark the occasion. Jeannie can be seen holding her bouquet and Alex is wearing the boutineer in the photo below along with some of their children.

The details of the evening were carefully recorded in a soft suede leather covered guest book pictured below.  The book along with the cards and telegrams were saved by the daughter, my  Grandma,  among her prized possessions. My Mom says the handwriting in the Guest Book  belonged to Bessie Carruthers (wife of Lorne)  and I understand she was keen on family history as I am.  Thanks to her, I am able to tell the story of the night so many years later. Telegrams were received from the Virden and Elkhorn Masonic Lodges, R.H. Mooney, M.L.A., Jack Mooney, Wallace Council, Hargrave Church Board and Elsie and T.A. Kerr. 

The photographer in this group shot below seems to be new to the camera or else was focusing on the flower girl, Margaret Kinnaird (my Mom) and the page boy Alec Milne (son of Charlie and Louise).  Mary Reid and Jeannie Milne are standing behind them and Alex would be the man with the boutineer in his lapel.  

The bridesmaid was Mary Reid, wife of William who was given the honour of standing in for the father of the bride to give her away.  A three tiered wedding cake was made for the occasion by Evelyn Kyles, Florence Stinson and Margaret Hitchins.  Six friends were named as the event decorators (Bert & May Foster, Jim & Gladys Odell, Marion Gordon and Harvey Odell) and three as dressmakers (Elsie Kerr, Gladys Odell and Bessie Carruthers).

The evening's entertainment was introduced by chairman Harvey Odell and started off with games of Euchre, then the Mock Wedding was held.  Instrumental musical entertainment was supplied by Lorne and Bessie Carruthers and Tom Gordon performed 2 songs dressed in Scottish costume.  Dancing in Scottish costume by Morine Hitchins and Joan Braybrook was next .  Community singing of Hymn 238 accompanied by pianist Marion Gordon followed.  I wonder what hymn this would have been?

Over 100 names signed the guest book and more were listed as "Guests but not present".  The honoured couple were presented with an electrical lamp and clock by Marion Gordon on behalf of the community of family and friends.  Margaret Kerr was noted as being a soloist and well as having the honour of poring the tea at the Guest Table. Reverend Fargey of Elkhorn gave a toast to the couple and it would ironically be the same man who would minister at both of their funeral services, hers the next April and Alex's in June of 1950.
Alexander Milne married Jeannie Morrison Jamieson on December 24, 1897 at the Lodge in the Mayne House at Rothiemay, Scotland.  Both were 21 years old (although he looks so much younger in their wedding picture above).  Alex emigrated to Canada in the spring of 1904 and Jane and their 3 eldest boys followed the next year.  Five more children were born in this country as they worked hard to become successful farmers and community members.  

It makes me happy that they had a chance to celebrate this milestone anniversary surrounded by their loved ones and especially happy that the pictures and guest book remain to share the celebration with my readers today.  As I write this post, tomorrow is my Mom and Dad's 57th anniversary.  Best wishes on your special day!  Love, Sharon