Delta Marsh History Initiative, Steering Committee Meeting

9:00 am, 6 May 2002
Home of Shirley Christianson, Portage la Prairie

Present:     Barry Bills, Maurice Blanchard, Sian Bumsted, Shirley Christianson, Gordon Goldsborough (sec), Bob Jones, Shirley Love, Winnie Pauch, Glen Suggett

1.  Minutes of the last meeting (26 March) were approved by consensus after correction of two errors. Under item 2a, Barry Bills should be noted as the person who obtained the Owens briefcase from Sandra Lamont. Under item 2m, the spelling should be Mobberley.

2.  Delta discoveries:

a)    It was mentioned that we should interview Bryan Dahling from Oakland about his recollections.

b)   Shirley Love provided a six-page typewritten copy of the genealogy of the Ward family at Delta and some recollections of Peter Ward. It was given to Barry Bills for cataloging.

c)    Shirley Love provided photocopied pages from an unidentified book that accompanied the original handwritten Ward family notes, pertaining to Delta history. It was given to Barry Bills for cataloging.

d)   Bob Jones provided a folder containing information and brochures on the pre-history of the Delta area, especially pertaining to the aboriginal entrenchments in the east marsh. It was given to Barry Bills for cataloging.

e)    Goldsborough briefly described some information on the Younghusband family that he found during a recent trip to the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa. Suggett is working on a history of the Younghusband Lodge owned now by the provincial government that once belonged to the Younghusbands. Thomas Younghusband was the postmaster at Delta in its early days, and his sister Mary was married to the prominent fish merchant Hugh Armstrong. Thomas and Mary were among nine children of Henry Younghusband and Charlotte Acres. Goldsborough also gave a brief overview of information he found in the Archives about a controversial lease at Delta that was awarded to Senator J. N. Kirchhoffer by the Manitoba and Canadian governments early in the 20th century.

f)     Shirley Christianson provided a copy of a history pamphlet on Big Point covering the period from 1894 to 1994. It was given to Barry Bills for cataloging.

g)    Shirley Christianson provided a copy of the Portage Daily Graphic of 31 December 1970 that contained a photograph of Albert Hochbaum holding a painting that was presented to Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Manitoba. Mayor Linden of Portage la Prairie was also shown holding a photograph of Kirchhoffer Lodge. The paper was given to Barry Bills for cataloging.

h)    Shirley Christianson provided a copy of the Portage Daily Graphic of 2 March 1964 containing an article describing support from people around Portage la Prairie for the construction of the Portage Diversion. Shirley mentioned that some of her family had sold land along the route of the Diversion. The paper was given to Barry Bills for cataloging.

i)      Shirley Christianson provide a copy of the Portage Daily Graphic of 30 March 2002 containing a note on a proposal by the Delta Beach Association to construct a road to Eagle Nest Creek 75 years ago on that date.

j)     Barry Bills provided a copy of the April 2002 issue of Fort La Reine Museum News that mentioned that a coin from the East India Company, dated 1835, was found on 8 October 1954 on the Bain chicken farm on the west side of Portage la Prairie.

k)   Shirley Christianson provided four photographs of snow drafts around building at Delta, date unknown, on loan from Mary Kirkwood. They were given to Barry Bills for cataloging.

l)      Bob Jones noted that the carp fishing shack located on the Delta Marsh Field Station property was built with funds from the provincial government, and it was subsequently given to the University sometime between 1984 and 1986. He has a copy of the original memo confirming the transaction somewhere in his files, now located at the Delta Waterfowl Station.

m)  Shirley Christianson provided a large collection of photographs of Delta, including three of the Delta dog derby held in 1928, on loan from Ruth Gross of Warren, Manitoba. They were given to Barry Bills for cataloging.

n)    Shirley Christianson provided several 8x10 framed photographs and a large collage of photographs in a frame on loan from Sandra Lamont. They were given to Barry Bills for cataloging.

o)   Shirley Christianson provided a copy of the High Bluff history book, entitled “Harvest of History” that contains a description of the High Bluff Country Club, once located on the marsh, and the development at Tin Town. Goldsborough borrowed it.

p)   Shirley and Stephanie Christianson compiled two pages of notes on historical interest points along Highway #26 from Portage la Prairie to St. Francois Xavier, and provided a copy to Goldsborough.

q)   Bob Jones provided some prints and slides taken by his son Tom, showing various scenes from around the marsh, for possible use in a fundraising calendar and other purposes. They were given to Barry Bills for cataloging, and Goldsborough will arrange to scan the slides using a special 35 mm slide scanner.

r)     Shirley Christianson will check with Sterling Lyon or his sister to see if they might see if Clara Robinson, wife of the late Jimmy Robinson, has any photos or other materials pertaining to Delta.

3.  Other business:

a)    Student research assistant – Goldsborough introduced Sian Bumsted, who began work today to help us collect information in preparation for writing the Delta history book this fall. She will work, based at the Delta Marsh Field Station, until the end of August. Initial jobs for Sian will be to compile a complete list of persons to be contacted for materials, to catalog items collected to date in a database, and to copy photographs in the Costigan collection at the Portage Library.

b)   Next fish fry – Goldsborough reported that he corresponded by e-mail with Doug DePape, secretary of the Delta Beach Association, about a possible collaboration around the Canada Day weekend. DePape replied that the Association plans to hold its Annual General Meeting in the morning of Sunday, 30 June with a craft sale from 2 to 5 pm. (Proceeds from the rental of tables at the craft sale will be donated to our history project.) The consensus of the group was to hold our next fundraiser fish fry on Monday, 1 July at the Delta Interpretive Center. That way, it would not conflict with the Association’s AGM and we could perhaps create publicity at the AGM for our event the next day. (Winnie Pauch volunteered to do this, as she will be attending the AGM.) Barry Bills noted that Portage la Prairie is planning a pancake breakfast on Monday and a fireworks show later in the evening, so our fish fry might be advertised as a mid-day activity. He will check with Sarah Tittemore, Manager of Tourism and Marketing for the city, about this possibility. It was also decided to hold the fish fry between 11 am and 2 pm, as in the past. Jobs were assigned as follows:

Job                                                                               Person responsible

Signs (at Delta, 240-227 junction, Diversion)                 Don Poschenrieder  (tentatively, Goldsborough to confirm with him)

Pies donation from McCains (10 cases)                         Shirley Christianson

Silent auction                                                                 Shirley Christianson, Barry Bills, Winnie Pauch, Heidi den Haan (several nice items have already been donated by Portage merchants, and others will be solicited)

Tickets (1000) and posters                                            Goldsborough, to deliver to Barry Bills as soon as possible

Slide show                                                                    Goldsborough

Fish, and everything else food-related                            Maurice Blanchard (thanks in advance!)

c)    Oakland history book – Goldsborough reported an e-mail message that he received recently from Darlene Rice related to her questions about the objectives of the Delta Marsh History Initiative and any perceived overlap with the Oakland history project, with which Ms. Rice is involved. Goldsborough said that he replied to her with details of our project and his view that the two projects were complementary but that their emphasis was different. The Delta project is focused on the marsh whereas the Oakland project deals with the Oakland community beyond the marsh. More significantly, the Delta project involves environmental history in that it uses history as a basis for documenting environmental change in the marsh and as a basis for its conservation. The Oakland project will, we expect, deal extensively with family history (that is, descriptions of families and their genealogies); although people will figures into the Delta story in places, we will not provide details on family history and will instead direct interested readers to the more complete treatment, where appropriate, in the Oakland history book. There was general agreement that we should include a statement about the unique mandates of the two projects in our next newsletter and on our web site.

d)   Next newsletter – Bills asked if we could have the next issue of Delta History News ready in time for mailing with the Museum News around the middle of June. Possible items for it include the following: an advertisement for the Canada Day fish fry, clarification of our mandate relative to the Oakland family history project, Delta history tidbits compiled by Barry Bills, and article on the 1955 flood at Delta (text written by Bills with photographs selected by Goldsborough), an article on the Younghusbands by Glen Suggett, and an article on “kissing on the Delta breakwater” by Shirley Christianson (who tells us this was a popular occurrence at one time). Goldsborough will have a draft ready for comment prior to the next meeting.

4.  Next meeting: The next meeting will be held at the home of Shirley Christianson (118 Wilkinson Crescent, Portage la Prairie) at 9:00 am on Monday, 10 June.

5.  Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 am.