(The following information is from page 24 to 34 of Chronicles of Crandall, 1971)
HISTORY OF PALMERSTON CHURCH
By the late Mrs. P.S. Warren
Palmerston Church was built in 1910. Church services had then been
held in the district for many years before this: Anglican, Presbyterian and
Salvation Army. In fact, it was many years before, that the first church
service was held at the home of Mrs. Roe, a log house south and west of
where the church now stands. After Mrs. Roe's death, it was decided to
continue services at what we called old Mr. McKinnon's - just at the ravine.
Mr. McArthur, who was minister at Beulah and the Indian reserve was the
minister. Mr. Drummond came next and after a short stay, decided to go
elsewhere, but the people got a petition signed, and he accepted the
appointment again. Some of our members recalled that he chose for his text
the following Sunday "Why have ye sent for me". Before any elders were
appointed here, the elders from Breadalbane, south of where Lenore is now,
came and gave the sacrament.
In 1892 the school was built and Mr. Brokenshier announced that the
services would then be carried on in the school house. The people did not
think he had any authority to do this without their consent and so they
wrote to Winnipeg to inquire about it. Dr. Robertson, head of affairs, was
sent out to decide the matter and he said the school was the proper place,
being a public building. He said "Mr. Black might not want to go to Mr.
Green's, nor Mr. Green to Mr. Blue's", and so it was settled to go to the
school. Mr. Brokenshier then decided to appoint two elders and chose Mr.
Simon Fennell and Mr. Thomas Douglas Sr. (better known as "Cousin Tom").
After the removal of the latter, Mr. Thomas Douglas, Jr. was appointed to the
position and served faithfully until his death in August 1932. Services of the
various denominations were carried on in the school after it was built in 1892.
Generally the school was filled to capacity - all the parents came and brought
their family. They came in wagons and as times got better, in democrats and
buckboards, and later buggies and cars. The last people to come in a wagon
drawn by oxen were Mr. and Mrs. William Kidd.
In about 1909 Mr. Philip Duncan, then a student minister, came to
this field and after a time, decided to find out what the people thought of
building a church. He called on Mr. Fennell, had dinner, and asked what he
thought about it. Mr. Fennell said he thought it would be fine if everyone else
was agreeable and if the money could be raised. He offered to give an acre of
land. Mr. Duncan called a meeting at Mr. Douglas' that night, and when the
meeting was over, $1,000 and more had been subscribed. Another $800 was
borrowed from Mr. William Hyndman Sr., and in a very few days, the work
began. Mr. W.P. Wallace and his man, Mr. William Barrett, brought a
four-horse team, plow and scraper and Mr. Duncan was there waiting to help.
The first sod was turned and then everyone turned in to help - some drew
gravel, some lumber, and everybody worked. The women were as enthusiastic
as the men, and meals were always ready. Mr. George Thompson was
appointed boss, and the church shows his capability. The lumber was
purchased from Mr. Thomas Hamilton of Crandall, and the drawing on the
north side of the basement, still plain to be seen, was done by Forbus
Hyndman. Roy Hyndman made the figures "1910" on a plaque which was set
into the front of the building.
On October 30 the opening service took place and it was a big event.
Rev. Peter Strang of Virden preached at morning and evening services. The
choir was a decided success, and in it were — Mrs. John Hyndman, Mrs. W.P.
Wallace, Mrs. R.E. Kidd, Mrs. George Harris (Lizzie Hyndman) — soprano
soloist, Mable Whitney (Mrs. E.M. Warren) - alto, Mr. Peter Boyd — baritone
(then working for Gerald Brown), Mr. S. Hyndman — tenor. The organist was
Miss Mabel Wallace, later Mrs. Duncan. The chairs and lamps were borrowed
from Crandall Hall. The following night the first fowl supper was held and
over $100 was realized. It was a decided success, but being Hallowe'en, it was
decided to have a guard appointed for the night. Mr. S. Fennell, better known
as Uncle Simon, guarded until morning and then the people gathered to clean
up. The men helped too and it was recalled that Mr. J. Hyndman and Mr.
Whitney scrubbed even the outside steps in their enthusiasm, though there was
a very cold wind blowing. An invitation for dinner was extended to the
teacher and the school children and this custom continued. The elders now
were Mr. S. Fennell, Mr. T. Douglas and Mr. W.P. Wallace. The first Women's
Missionary Society was organized in the summer of 1915 and Mrs. Robert
Gow was President.
The only wedding in the church during the first twenty-five years was
that of Mable Wallace and Rev. Duncan, with Rev. Strange officiating. There
were several baptisms and one funeral — Mr. T. Douglas in August 1932.
Palmerston, Ravine and Kinsmore were first under one charge, then
Scotia and Palmerston and later Palmerston, Crandall, Miniota and Arrow
River. Ministers I can recall are Reverends McKay, Duncan, McBain, Ferguson,
Grant, Horn, Bygrave, Brady, Robertson, Radley, Kippen and McNair.
The 25th Anniversary was held in September 1935. Mr. McNair
preached at both services. The choir was made up of the next generation —
Mrs. D.C. Douglas, Mrs. G.K. Douglas, Mrs. Maddock, Miss Paynter, Etola
Robinson, Ruby Angus, Doris Warren, Harvey Hyndman, Warren Robinson,
Clarence Warren. Mrs. E.A. Barnes was organist. Mr. Fennell and Mr. G.K.
Douglas took up the collection. The following Tuesday the 25th Anniversary
fowl supper was held and in the audience was Mr. R.L. Kidd and family of
Brandon and Mr. Barrett of Miniota. A letter was received from Rev. P.
Duncan expressing his regret at being unable to attend. He enclosed $5.00 to
add to the collection. This letter was read by Mrs. H.S. Hyndman and in it
Mr. Duncan spoke of Mrs. Fennell and all she had done for the church.
Mrs. P.S. Warren made and presented a three-tier anniversary cake
with its twenty-five candles. The candles were lit by Mr. S. Fennell and the
cake cut by Mrs. W.P. Wallace. Mrs. Warren then cut the cake for serving and
Mrs. Hyndman, Mrs. G. Robinson, Mrs. Barnes and Doris Warren wrapped it
individually. It was then passed to the audience in rose trimmed baskets by
Mr. J.N. Warren and Mr. Albert Warren - oldtimers of the district. Those
taking part in the program were the Lynch family from Miniota, Scotia
Quartette, Mr. Pue, Mr. Hunsaker, Marjorie and Geraldine Doupe, and Mr.
Jimmy Stuart. Rev. McNair, Rev. Bygrave, Rev. Dunnett and Rev. Bowman.
spoke. Fifty dollars was realized.
On September 1, 1936 Mr. Simon Fennell was buried from the
church. Rev. McMillan conducted the service.
In 1938 Rev. McFarlane came to the district.
Rev. Bill was the last minister to conduct services in this church.
The last few years that the church was open, the services were
irregular until finally it was decided to close the church. This was due to the
fact that families, were becoming fewer and smaller. The depression also had
its effect on the church. The Palmerston families joined with the Crandall and
Arrow River congregations and the actual closing was some time in 1940.
This old church has stood empty now for many years and will soon
be just a memory in the minds of those who were connected with it in earlier
NOTE: This history was compiled by Mrs. Warren just prior to her death in 1948.
THE PALMERSTON PALS CLUB
By Mrs. Frame (Warren)
In the rolling countryside of the Palmerston district lie several small
lakes and ravines cupped between high hills. Two of these lakes, Murphy's Lake
and Cooper's Lake, are especially interwoven in Palmerston history with the
usual mixture of tragedy and comedy. Murphy's Lake, furthest to the west, had
clear, cold water, as it was deep and fed by springs. It connected with Cooper's
Lake, which was also spring-fed, by a shallow ravine. Numerous ravines and
marshes led ever westward until eventually the waters of these lakes emptied
into the Assiniboine River via the Arrow River. In early days of the settlement,
these waters teemed with migratory water fowl in spring and fall. Many an
aspiring young hunter bagged his first trophy in this hunters' paradise.
George Cooper's homestead lay just east of the small lake which still
bears his name, Cooper's Lake. He built a substantial two-storey log house and
farmed there for several years. He was not the usual type of prairie farmer, being
interested in poetry, of which he could recite reams. The Coopers' one child,
Sophia, had an unusual pet, a wild crane, which followed her everywhere and
acted as her watchdog. After a few years of homestead life, the Coopers moved
to Portage la Prairie.
Cooper's Lake had its tragedy in a drowning, the only one to occur in
all the years these lakes were used for recreation by the people of the district.
Mr. Peter Warren, an old gentleman, whose three sons farmed in the Palmerston
district, was found drowned in the shallow water at the southern end of the lake
one evening in August, 1897. It will never be known if this was a natural death
or a suicide. The old gentleman suffered from a mild form of what today would
probably be diagnosed as Parkinson's disease, and may have had a seizure.
Murphy's Lake was named for an Irish homesteader, Mr. Murphy. He
and another Irishman, Mr. James McKinney, had adjoining homesteads, each
claiming half the lake. They built a joint cabin on the south shore of the lake
where it was sheltered by a small stand of trees. Both men were hot-tempered
Irishmen, and so inevitably they quarrelled. Neither would give up the jointly
owned cabin so although, already in very cramped quarters, they divided the
cabin across the centre and each occupied his own corner. It was said they never
spoke to each other again. Mr. Murphy left first and Mr. McKinney, frail and
now nearly blind, carried on alone for another year or two. He was an
exceedingly proud old gentleman and never asked help of anyone, though his
neighbours would have liked to have made him more comfortable. The last winter
he occupied the cabin, the neighbours became so concerned they collected a box
of food and some fuel for him. Their only thanks was a complaint he voiced one
time that the meat given him was so tough he had to cook it all day. Everyone
was relieved when he retired finally somewhere into a home for the aged.
In the days before refrigeration, everybody cut ice from these lakes,
both for summer and winter use. In winter it gave a supply of soft water for
washing and in summer with ice which was stored in unused wells or sheds
packed between layers of straw or sawdust, ice cream could be enjoyed most of
the summer. The ice well was also the refrigerator for the farmer's fresh meat
supply when beef rings were established in most country communities.
The Irishmen's cabin at Murphy's Lake gradually crumbled down into a
heap of rubble, but the lake became a recreation centre for the people of the
surrounding communities. In summer on Saturday evenings the young people
would gather at the lake to enjoy boating, bonfires or driving around the
pleasant countryside. Every young man tried to acquire a smart horse and buggy
outfit. Percy Warren's little brown trotter, Mag; George Reddon's grey gelding,
Fleet; and Joe Kidd's beautiful bright bay gelding aptly named Amber, were
familiar sights. In later years, around 1910, mixed bathing was introduced much
to the horror of the more conservative-minded ladies, though the girls' bathing
suits were certainly not the siren type, being very cover-up even to long black
stockings. Several neighbour romances and consequent marriages were the result
of these gatherings. There was even one elopement.
In November 1952, the ladies of the Palmerston district joined together
to form a group, under the leadership of Mrs. Claude Bomford, who had the
initial idea for the club.
The ladies in the club were: Mrs. Donald Douglas, Mrs. William
Nankivell, Mrs. Bert Lawrence, Mrs. Claude Bomford, Mrs. Ivan Lawrence, Mrs.
George Douglas, Mrs. Perry Wallace, Mrs. Norman Webber. Later on, Mrs. Carry
Brown and Mrs. George Gardham became members.
Mrs. Bomford was nominated President and remained as such for
several years. Mrs. Ivan Lawrence was secretary from the beginning until June,
1962. Mrs. Arnold Douglas became president in 1955. After her death in 1956,
Mrs. P. Wallace became president. Mrs. B. Lawrence was treasurer from 1952 to
Money raised by the group was put to good use, given to charities such
as Canadian Save the Children, Canadian Arthritis and Rheumatism Society,
Kinsmen School for Retarded Children, and Children's Aid Society, Brandon, to
name a few. $185.00 was given to the Crandall United Church over a period of
PALMERSTON SCHOOL No. 638
Palmerston District is five and one-half miles southwest of Crandall.
From 1882 on, settlers were coming into this district and taking up
homesteads — some even came on foot. They built log houses, from logs hauled
from the Assiniboine Valley. In 1892 the people got together and formed a
school district, which they called Palmerston, because so many of them, namely
the Warrens, had come from Palmerston, Ontario. Three trustees were sworn in
by the postmaster of Carlingville, then Mr. Thomas Hamilton. First trustees were
Mr. Joe Warren, Mr. Nixon Warren and Mr. Thomas Douglas.
The first site for a school was not approved by the inspectors. It was
too close to Cooper's Lake, so they chose another on the northeast corner of Mr.
Simon Fennell's farm, the latter donating one acre of land for school and church
purposes. Mr. William Cox, a carpenter of the Carlingville district (now Crandall)
was engaged to build the school. He drew the lumber from Birtle.
The trustees engaged Mr. Miller as teacher, at a salary of fifty-five
dollars a month. He lived with Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Kidd, on the farm
subsequently owned by Perry Wallace.
The school house was not ready for occupation when the teacher
arrived to start school on April 1, 1892, so school was conducted for six weeks
in a small log cabin on the farm of Mr. Nixon Warren. Temporary desks were
boards nailed in the spaces between the logs and slanted to accommodate the
pupils' slates. Boards laid on blocks served as seats. The school term ran from
April 1 to November 30 for the first three years. Mr. William Miller taught the
school during those three years. Some twenty-two pupils attended school that
first year, only about one-third of whom had had the advantage of previous
schooling. Some of that class walked as much as nine or ten miles a day to
In August 1, 1919, Palmerston School District became part of Miniota
Municipal School District No. 149. Palmerston was finally closed in 1944, when
consolidated into the Crandall School District. Percy Warren who had been the
oldest pupil when the school opened, was at the closing ceremony, fifty-two
years later. Also present was George Douglas, who was the youngest pupil when
the school opened.
Palmerston School was pronounced as nearly a Model School by the
then acting School Inspector, Mr. S.E. Lang, while in charge of Miss Kate
Carswell, afterwards Mrs. J.S. Watson. Mr. George Daintry, while teaching at
Palmerston organized a football team which fought some bouts with Arrow
River's team and at one time were champions of the local football division. Miss
Margaret Elliott (now Shelly) began her teaching career at Palmerston. Mr. Miller
became Rev. William Miller, and served many years in western pulpits.
Of that class of 1892, in Palmerston School, at least four are still living
(1970). They are Frances Warren (Lorimer), Vancouver; Edna Warren (Frame),
Winnipeg; Elizabeth McKinnon (Smith), Lenora, Manitoba; and Nellie Bray,
The old school building is gone now, and a cairn erected in 1970, stands
in its place. "The old order changes yielding place to new" as Tennyson so truly
The following is a list of teachers, not necessarily complete or in order:
Mr. William Miller, Mr. John Lane, Miss Margaret Elliott, Mr.
MacDonald, Mr. Southcomb, Mr. George Daintry, Miss Kate Carswell, Miss N.
Sutherland, Miss Pearl E. Jackson, Miss O.M. Fleming, Miss Jean Jefferson, Miss
L.M. Fowler, Miss Lydia Rivers, Miss Irene Christie, Miss M.A. Allen, Miss Hattie
Young, Miss Wheaton, Miss Winnifred Grant, Miss L.E. Robinson, Miss Bessie
Logan, Miss Eva. M. Sweet, Miss Elsie Shier, Miss Rita Hawthorne, Miss M.E.
Thring, Miss Lila Boyd, Miss Marian Robertson, Miss E. Myrtle Burt, Miss E.H.
McLenehan, Miss Thelma Thornton, Miss Florence Bardwell, Miss Muriel A.
Paynter, Miss Mable Mylrea, Miss Evelyn MacPherson, Miss Mavis E. Hanlin, Mrs.
M. Ida Meyers.
By Mrs. Harvey Hyndman
In the summer of 1970, a cairn was built at Palmerston, to honour the
memory of the pioneers of the district. It is made of stones gathered from the
nearby fields, and bears a handsome granite plaque, inscribed "Palmerston
1882-1970. Erected in Memory of the Pioneers Who Settled in This District
'Their Faith Failed Not'."