MUNICIPALITY OF ARGYLE
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
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
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.