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BURNSIDE MEMORIES

submitted by Rev. Marguerite Miller

Burnside is one of the historic congregations of the Portage Plains. established when settlement to Manitoba pushed westward from the forks of the Red and the Asstmboine Rivers, in the 1870’s. The Rev. McRae was one of the early ministers and his son, J.D. Meme, organist and composer, musrcian and lawyer, served the Ponage la Prairie community well.

My association wtth Burnsrde has been two-fold. One, as a member of the Burnside Curling Club (mixed rinks), curling once a week in the Portage Curling Rink. The members were mostly farming folk of the surrounding area. That fellowship I really enjoyed. Two. as supervisor of three different student ministers who studied at United College during the week and came to conduct worship and give pastoral care on the weekends. This even continued through the summer months, in the case of Bob Kayes. I‘m not sure about this for Brock Saunders or Dennis Thornton.

These young men served Longbum, MacDonald, Burnside and Edwin congregations. As supervisor, I presided for the Sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and it usually meant an exchange of pulpits on that Sunday. I was also present for the annual meetings and official Board meetings, so got to know quite a few people fairly well. Brock Saunders is at Olivet United Church, in Montreal; Bob Kayes is at St. Stephen’s Broadway United Church, in Winnipeg and our paths cross from time to time.

Burnside congregation moved to Burnside School, close by, for the winter months, as it was warmer there. During this time, the Pastoral charge decided to cease functioning as a multi-point pastoral charge, and members were transferred and welcomed by other congregations. Many went to Murray Church, at Oakland and to McKenzie and Trinity churches, in Portage la Prairie, and have continued to share their gifts in a variety of ways.

To commemorate the ministry of Burnside Church, that congregation wanted a Cairn. It was duly built in the S.W. comer of the beautiful Burnside Cemetery, on the north side of Highway 4“, just east of its junction with #16, the Yellowhead Highway, It was a privilege to share in the dedication of that stone cairn on a cool, breezy autumn, Sunday afternoon. The men brought big grain trucks, parked strategically, with slabs of plywood leaned against them, creating a sheltered place for our time of worship and dedication of that memorial to the pioneers of the Burnside Church and Community.

Today, as I journey to and fro along #1 Highway, each time I Pass, I remember the folks of Burnside Church and our many associations. You see, the church is people not a building, not stones placed in a memorial but living people, those with us today, and those who have been called to higher service, too.

I retired from active ministry, on July I, 1983, and now live in a suite in Brandon, Manitoba. I spend my summers with my mother, m her house, at Starbuck, Manitoba. She is 95 years old now.

Thanks, Allan Munro, for asking me to remember too.

MIDWIVES

In 1879, Mr. Lakeman and Dr. Macklin opened a much needed drug store, in Portage, that was a great boon to all pioneers. Until that time sulphur, salts and cream of tartar. were the main stand-by. Soap and sugar poultice was used on a boil. plantain bound on a cut or bread and milk poultice. Epsom salts were used to draw out How Porsoning.

Doctors were often few and far between in the early dam. and later, during the hard times, people could not usually afford their

services. In times of emergencies neighbors were often called upon for help. Most babies were born at home with the help of the local midwife. Burnside was fortunate in having several dedicated, can'ng women.

Mrs. Henry Treffry was a midwife and nurse in Ontario, and continued this service to neighbors.

In 1880, when the Henry Voss family came to Burnside Mrs. Voss did a lot of nursing in the district. When she passed away many tributes were paid for the service rendered by her to the community. As Mr. Harry Leader, M.P. at the time, said in church, “We loved her as we did our own mothers, for the care she gave and the lives she saved.” Many senior citizens and those of middle age, yet survive who call themselves “Mrs. Voss’s babies”.

Both Mrs. Treffry and Mrs. Voss kept a bag with necessities ready. These included: diapers. a drinking cup (this resembled a gravy boat, with a spout on it) and a crockery bed pan.

The same tribute can be paid to Miss Lizzie Askin. In 1952 the community of Burnside held a special picnic in her honour at the Treffry farm, where the presentation of a gold watch and purse of money was made, on behalf of those, near and far. that she had nursed over the years. People came from Carberry, as well as other points outside the district.

It was said, when times were hard in the early days, some of these women received, for bringing a new arrival into the world, only as little as a dozen eggs in winter or a weanling pig. They never offended the person by refusing the gift, however small, as their grateful thanks went with it, and at times, the grateful thanks was all they could afford.

NOSTALGIC TRIVIA by Ruth Burk (nee Leader)

I remember owning a stubborn and recalcitrant Shetland pony that went her way and no other. She refused to go as far as Burnside and many the time I came home in tears, sooner titan I expected to. I remember a male teacher at Poplar Bluff, who enjoyed making Trixie buck, because she had a funny way of hopping, switching her to provide the entertainment, which rendered the pony even more unmanageable. I remember my brother giving the teacher an unsolicited course in dealing with “dumb?” animals.

I remember accompanying my father and brother to MacArthur Siding to load cattle for the show circuit and running along on top of the box cars. (MacArthur Siding was 1/2 mile east of Poplar Blufi School on the C.N. line to Rossendale)

I remember going daily with my father to Burnside for the mail. There I visited with Mr. and Mrs. Harvey, the proprietors of the store. I remember also the wonderful visits with the Langilles at the manse. 1 still cherish a beautiful demi-tasse cup and saucer, the gift of Jo Langille. She remained a dear friend until her death a few years ago.

I remember my father‘s first election in 1921 and seeing my mother shivering in nervous apprehension, watching the victory parade with burning torches, and my father on the backs of well» wishers, and wondering, at six years of age, what it was all about.

I remember driving to Sunday School at the Poplar Bluff School with my sister, Girlie, when the horse bolted and Girlie tried to pry my hands from the buggy arms, so that she could jump with me.

A Bible which is falling apart usually belongs to a person who is not.