Sketch of its Early History and Settlement
By Pioneer J.C. Smith

Up to the year 1879 the municipality of Argyle was a wilderness of bluffs and prairie grass in which the wolf, the badger and the prairie hen found shelter. In that year John Wilson crossed the Pembina river and pitched his tent on what is now known as the Marringhurst plains. Mr. and Mrs Wilson's hospitality to the immigrants passing through in those early days is not forgotten. In the same year William Stark, John. O Bell and John Harrower and others settled in the Roseberry District. In the year 1880 the influx of settlers began in earnest to the east half of the municipality. The Playfairs, Cramers and others took possession of that fine township east of the town of Baldur.

In the same year Christopherson Arason, and Johnson hoisted the union jack in the name of the Icelanders in that splendid district north of the Tiger Hills.

In the spring of 1881 a number of land hunters struck the west half of the municipality all the land between John D. Gorden's in 4 and 15 to Millford, 20 miles, being open for settlement. In the year 1882 quite a number of immi¬grants settled in this part of the muni¬cipality. Amongst others Chas. Martin John Nicholson, O. Drumond Hay, Geo. Maw, Smith Bros., G. Cropley, O. H. Donaghy, G. W. Gibson, Glass Bros., Yellowlees, A. F. Andrews and James Scott & Sons, near Hilton.

Perhaps no better proof could be given of the suitableness of Argyle as a place to reside and make money than the fact that all the early settlers have done well and are still with us. The municipality has tilled up rapidly since then with a very desirable class of settlers.

The land in the Municipality of Argyle is of a diversified nature there being rolling or level prairie to choose from. On account of the timber quite a number of the pioneers secured home¬steads in the Rock and Pelican Lake districts. Other new comers who had spent a good part of their lives clearing land in Ontario preferred the open prairie and it certainly was a pleasure to start the plow at once and turn up the virgin soil. A number of the early settlers put in a crop the first year and were   repaid   for their work although the general plan is to backset and put a crop in the second year. There was a good market for all that could

be raised in the first two or three years of the new settlement on account of the rush of immigrants into the district.

There being no municipal organization in the early days the roads generally went from one house to another and the people being of a social nature it was customary to call and wish the new comer the compliments of the season. The immigrant had heard many tall stories in regard to the fertility of the soil in Argyle but when he began to grow "one hard" he found his most sanguine expectations were realized. On account of the nature of the soil crops ripen early consequently there has been very little frozen grain for several years.

Although some of our farmers have been growing wheat for twenty years the land continued to yield heavy crops when the season is favorable. Mixed farming is coming in for a larger share of attention than in former years owing to the high price of cattle during the past few years. Quite a number of farmers keep large herds of cattle which thrive splendidly on the prairie grass.


Elizabeth Ave., Baldur, Looking East – Photo by F. Stevens

Amongst those who have taken up this branch of industry are Messrs. A. W. Playfair, James Strang, R. M. Wilson. W. Mabon, W. Maxwell and R. McLennan. Mr. W. Spring came to this municipality in the summer of 1882 with limited capital. He has been eminently successful and now owns 600 acres of land and puts in about 300 acres of wheat as well as coarse grains, he has a lot of fine horses and cattle, and milks cows shipping the cream by rail to the Brandon Creamery. His buildings are commodious and up-to-date. He resides three miles north of Belmont. Mr. Joseph Telfer in the same district has built one of the finest stone houses in the municipality while across the road Mr. T. W. Gibson has erected a splendid brick edifice. James Scott and sons, successful farmers in the Hilton district, have also erected some substantial stone buildings.

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