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Whether you are a visitor to our community, are researching your family roots, need background on an historic building or are just interested in local history, this website is your one-stop source of information on our heritage. 

The site offers you a glimpse of the history of Dufferin Municipality from the pre-settlement era to the post–1870 influx of homesteading families, and from the arrival of the railways to the rise and decline of the small towns and communities along its path.

You will also discover the wealth of historic buildings, cairns, plaques and other heritage resources that our communities have to offer.

Let us know of any omissions or errors. If you have information or photos you’d like to share, please contact us. Check out this site each month for our Special Features, including vintage photos from the area.

Please visit our Acknowledgements page, which recognizes the many people who contributed towards making the website possible, including the backbone of any endeavour—the volunteers who contributed material, researched, edited or proofread content, and gave in so many ways of their time and talents.

News and Events, August, 2023

C/D MHAC activities. C/D MHAC is focussing this summer on one major project – placing a marker at the site of the abandoned Kennedy Burial Site east of Carman. This is one of four known sites where early, post-1870 settlers were buried before ‘official’ cemeteries were established in the Carman/Dufferin area. 

Kennedy Burial Site. In 1875, four people in the Boyne Settlement died from typhoid fever and were buried on the Samuel Kennedy homestead, close to where the Missouri Trail crossed the river. Between 1875 and 1889, at least ten people were buried at this location. Some thirty years later, a new landowner removed the grave markers from the site. Three of the gravestones were later retrieved and placed on the Kennedy plot in Greenwood Cemetery. The site itself has remained unmarked. 

kennedy burial site

The abandoned Kennedy Burial Site
Photo credit: Ina Bramadat 

The names of the people buried at the site might also have been lost were it not for the work of Margaret Glanfield, a descendent of the Kennedy family. Through correspondence with local contacts and letters to the newspaper, she drew attention to the site and provided information about the people buried there. Now, a couple of generations later, three more Kennedy descendants – Nikki Falk (whose great-grandmother and her daughter were the first burials at the site), Linda Baleja and Rhonda Davidson – are working with C/D MHAC to ensure their ancestors and others buried there are not forgotten.

The plan is to install a rock-based monument that will blend in with the natural riverbank landscape. The search for a suitable granite rock took the team on a rock-hunting venture to the west escarpment where rocks and gravel are mined from huge open gravel pits.

kennedy burial site rock picking

Linda Baleja (center) and Nikki Falk (right) search for the perfect rock at the Collet gravel site

Photo credit: Ina Bramadat 

The escarpment was once the bank of Lake Agassiz, formed in the post-Ice Age when glaciers melted. They left behind the lake that once covered most of Southern Manitoba along with  huge boulders and gravel deposits that form part of the escarpment. It is a graphic reminder of how little of our heritage is represented in our post-1870 written accounts, compared with oral and natural histories of the area.   

The rock-hunt was a success. The sub-committee also assembled an informative packet of research and located new information about the people buried at the site.  Their names are being permanently recorded on the bronze plaque that will be affixed to the rock to ensure they are remembered by generations to come. Our challenge now is to get the rock on a foundation and the plaque on the rock, all before the planned unveiling this autumn.

More on the escarpment. Rocks and gravel aren’t the only deposits of interest on the escarpment. This past week, news media announced the discovery of an 83-million-year-old mosasaur skeleton on a site just south of the R.M. of Dufferin near Miami, MB [LINK]. The fossil remains, which are 75 percent intact, are a smaller version of “Bruce”, the spectacular, large mosasaur skeleton in the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden. 

Life stories from children who grew up on the escarpment also tell how they searched for dinosaur bones in local shale deposits.  Between about 1885 and the 1950s, these same deposits provided the raw material for the local brick-making industry. This is an area of local history that we’ve been trying to research these past years. In 2018, C/D MHAC posted David Butterfield’s comprehensive study of the Leary Brick Works on this website.  It’s unclear whether there was a connection between this site and the Carman brick plants.

Argyle Brick & Block Museum. The grand opening on July 15 of the Argyle Brick and Block Museum revved up new interest in the history of the industry. Through an extensive display of professionally laid out exhibits, the Argyle Museum documents the history of around 200 brick-making plants that once operated in Manitoba.

A glimpse of displays at the Argyle Brick & Block Museum, Photo credit: Ina Bramadat 

Leary Brick yard in autumn

Leary Brickyard kiln and chimney.
Photo credit: Ina Bramadat 

Unfortunately, information and samples from the Carman area brick works remain sparse. This is an area of local heritage in which we have been trying for years to untangle the written accounts and to obtain bricks with local markings. On a recent visit to Carman, Argyle Museum President & CEO Shayne Campbell went door to door asking owners of brick homes if they had any loose samples of bricks from their dwelling. Those that turned up had no markings. The puzzle continues. The Argyle Museum hopes to access technical equipment at the University of Manitoba to analyze samples and perhaps provide greater insight into the makeup and source of the material.

So, back to our Kennedy Burial Site for a postscript to the story. On a recent visit to the site, we noticed a brick lying on the riverbank. Could it be an elusive Carman brick? Mortar obscured the face, so we took it home, soaked, chipped, and sanded until letters began faintly to appear. – "L" "E" "A"… it was a Leary brick. The search goes on.

Natural History. Any discussion of our natural environment these days will almost always involve some mention of the weather. Our 'natural' history has recently, in fact, been decidedly unnatural. Hot temperatures, severe localized storms, tornado and air quality alerts, and over 1000 wildfires burning across Canada. As a result, a number of scheduled events had to be postponed or cancelled One victim was the Boyne River Keepers' (BRK's) ceremony for naming of the trestle near their original dock on the Boyne River. We'll look forward to having that news for you later this summer – weather permitting.

Photo credit: Ina Bramadat 


Recent History

Earlier news items are stored on a separate "Recent History" page.