LONE STAR FARM
FARM HISTORY PAGE
|LAST UPDATED: February 20, 2007 . Please check back for updates.|
|Eaton Catalogue Homes||Evelyn Steeves Memoirs|
Harry W. Brown, a farmer and lime kiln owner from Rockford, Illinois purchased sections 7 & 8-6-1W in the Sperling area of the Red River Valley in 1906-7. In the fall of 1906 Harry Brown and a hired man came to Manitoba, found the survey markers for the farm land and built a 16 x 24 foot shack and a small shed on the north-west corner of 7-6-1W. The Brown family of 2 boys (Orville and Chester) and 5 girls (Aurilla, Ella, Myrtle, Evelyn and Mabelle) moved with their parents Harry and Fannie to the new farm in the spring of 1907. The family left a 14 room house in Rockford to live in the one room shack in Manitoba so a great deal of adjustment was required. Harry promised to build a larger house when the family harvested a 40 bushel crop of wheat.
The spring of 1907 was late and the family arrived in Winnipeg in May in a raging blizzard. The family had to wait for two days in the immigration hall in Winnipeg before they could continue their journey to Sperling.
Harry rented a quarter of broken land 2 miles south of their new farm in 1907. He also rented a small farm near Myrtle, Manitoba approximately 13 miles away for several years because the land on the new farm had not been broken or drained and rarely produced a crop. The Rural Municipaliy of Morris elevator graders started digging ditches and creating the road system shortly after but the construction was started from west to east so for the first few years the drains often served to carry water onto the farm rather than off. Eventually the drains were completed to the east and the farm became more productive.
A large barn had been dismantled in Rockford and brought to Manitoba. This was reassembled and used for grain and livestock. The roof of the shack was raised in the second year and bedrooms were added. A machine shed was built in the first few years and a shelterbelt of poplar, maple and ash trees was planted in the third year.
The barn loft also served as the setting for 4th of July parties which were attended by many neighbours who had settled in the area from the United States.
Horses were used in the early years of the farm and tractors started replacing the horses just prior to the start of World War One. The need for farm produce during the war required the boys to remain on the farm and required that all the children participate in the farming operation which took precedence over schooling throughout the war.
A large crop in 1916 and war-time grain prices allowed Harry to fulfill his promise to build a new house. The construction was completed in 1918. The new house was ordered from T. Eaton catalogue department and included a power plant, running water and a central vacuum. The material was delivered to Sperling by rail. The bricks for the exterior facade came from the Leary Brick Works at Roseisle, Manitoba. The phone company would not service the farm and so Harry got permission to run a wire from a neighbouring farm for three miles on fence posts. A journal of visits to the new house during the first year shows a total of 448 visits. Some of the names are repeated often but there is rarely a day without an entry.
The Spanish flu struck the entire family in the spring of 1918. With the help of a hired-man, housekeeper and a nurse the family recovered.
Orville and Chester took over the farming operation starting in the 1920's. Three of the girls, Myrtle (Lew Lewis), Aurilla (Joe Anderson) and Mabelle (LeRoy Rance) married farm neighbours and lived near the family farm. Evelyn married teacher Mike Steeves and lived in Vita and Pinawa before moving to Winnipeg. Ella got a position teaching home economics at a school in Armstrong, British Columbia. She died of pneumonia in 1925 while in Armstrong.
Orville and wife Norma moved to the big house after Harry's death. Glenn and Fran Brown farmed Orville and Norma's land after Orville died. In 1980, Gordon and Mona Brown bought the home half and house from Glenn and Fran. Gordon and Mona’s children, Aaron and Meagan Brown are the fifth generation of the H. W. Brown family to grow up and live on Lone Star Farm.
Chester and wife Bessie lived in a second house built on the home yard. The farm passed on to successive generations. Robert and Jane Brown and later Mike and Diana Brown farmed Chester’s land.
Hydro arrived in the area in 1950 eliminating the need for the power plant and the wind charger tower. Water continued to come from the cistern and the dugouts until municipal water lines were installed past the farm in 2005.