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The Town of Carman (population around 3,000) is now the main commercial and retirement centre in the Carman/Dufferin region. A few communities—Homewood, Graysville, Stephenfield, and Roseisle—lie scattered in an east-west line across the RM of Dufferin, the last of a number of small, vibrant settlements that once dotted the rural countryside.

Settlers gather to erect a log building. Painting by A.A. Brooke

Links to Settlements

Almassippi Homewood
Bates Lintrathen
Barnsley Pomeroy
Bradburn Roseisle
Campbellville St. Daniel
Carman Salterville
Graysville Stephenfield

These early communities were known by the name of their post office. During the early years of settlement, wherever a concentration of families warranted, settlers petitioned for a post office. The postal service was a vital way for pioneering farm families to keep in touch with relatives back home, to receive news and goods. The first post offices were opened in homes or small local stores.

The first settlers received their mail at the Winnipeg Post Office and were alerted to arrivals through a list in the Winnipeg newspaper. By the 1870s mail for the Boyne Settlement was addressed to Headingley and brought in by travellers. As more settlers arrived in the southern part of what was then known as Dufferin, a stage coach route was set up from Emerson to Nelsonville, along the escarpment to Lintrathen and finally to the Boyne Settlement. When the railway reached Barnsley, mail was brought in by that route.

Arrival of the railway was a mixed blessing for fledgling communities. Many found themselves too far from the rail line and had to move to maintain their services. Sometimes whole buildings were moved to the new location; many of the early settlements disappeared.

Such was the fate of several early communities in the RM of Dufferin. This is an important part of our heritage that now is evidenced only through cairns or signs erected over the years by the C/D MHAC or local community including: Almasippi, Bates, Bradburn, Campbellville, Salterville, and St. Daniel; Barnsley and Lintrathen are unmarked. Many ‘communities’ never had a post office, church or store but formed strong identities around the local school; names of former schools are still used by local residents to identify where they live.

Dufferin Municipality is still primarily agriculturally based. However, transportation has again changed the area as paved highways and trucking have taken over from rail traffic. Railways that were once the lifeline of the area have been removed, local elevators have vanished, small family farms are giving way to agri-businesses, towns are shrinking back into the prairie.

Meanwhile, motor vehicles, improved roadways, telephones and more recently, internet communication, have increased accessibility to all parts of the municipality. The Town of Carman now serves as the commercial centre for the area and a popular retirement haven for surrounding communities.

You will find more information in the R.M. of Dufferin History book.

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