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Farmer William Porter



William John Porter was born in Toronto, Ont., on March 23, 1856. When he was eight years old, he and his family moved to Banda, Ont., where he spent his early years.

As a young man in 1881, he went to the newly-opened west, in search of a homestead, and joined old friends, Dick Wilson, the Galloways and the Morrisons, living in the Marringhurst district, which was east of the town now known as Glenora, Man. There he worked for a short time at a logging camp near Rock Lake and helped build the first log post office in that district. He also joined a survey party and worked on the southern line of the C.P.R. He returned east in the fall, and the following spring, he and his uncle, Robert Johnson, returned to Manitoba and took up homesteads on 20-4-14. William took the north half and Robert the south half. Here, Robert opened the first post office known as Moropano, later known as the Rosehill district. William started work on his homestead, building a log house, and also a shelter for his oxen, and breaking the sod with a walking plow.

One evening, one of his oxen took sick, and he walked to Pilot Mound to the vet for medicine, and was back in the morning, and saved the ox. He also walked to Emerson and often to Brandon for supplies, staying overnight near Wawanesa with friends for a night to rest up, and then go back to his homestead.

William continued his homestead improvements, each year breaking the required number of acres to hold his homestead. He went east each winter, returning in the spring.

On March 5, 1885, he married Miss Emma Jane McAteer in Paradise, Ont. When William and Emma returned to Manitoba, they continued to improve their land, working with horses now. They built a log house and other buildings.

The Moropano “District” was one of the early identifiable communities during the pre-railroad days.

William took an active part in organizing the municipality of Argyle, the local school districts, and in obtaining religious services for his community. A man of high principles and deep religious convictions, he was a member of the Methodist Church, and later the United Church in Baldur.

During this time, a family of seven were born. When Mrs. Porter passed away after the birth of the last child and
William's sisters came west to care for his family The children  all attended Rosehill School and later, Baldur High School, taking an active part in sports and social activities in the Rosehill district.

Adapted from Come into our Heritage, page 607.

From the Baldur Gazette Special Historical Edition, 1899 ….

Mr. W. J. Porter, located six miles southwest of the town of Baldur, commenced operations in 1882, without any capital. By industry, hard work and natural ability he has acquired 400 acres of land, over 200 acres of which he cropped to wheat alone, to say nothing of course grains. He has good farm buildings, a full equipment of machinery, and a large number of cattle horses, etc.    He is worth anywhere in the neighborhood of $8,000.

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