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From Henry4 Laycock. 
Published in the Meaford (ON) Monitor.


To the Editor of the Monitor: Dear Sir, - Wishing to let the old neighbors of St. Vincent know a little of Manitoba, I write a little of my experience.  We left Meaford on the 17th of April with snow in the bush two feet deep, and arrived in Emerson on the 20th and found seeding commenced.

With pleasant weather we started for the Pembina Mountain settlement, 65 miles from Emerson; passing through the Menonite Reserve; I was surprised to see the improvements they have made in four years; the reserve comprises seventeen townships.

They live in villages from ten to fifteen families in each; they build their houses of logs, very few have floors; they have mud ovens instead of stoves, in which they burn straw and manure; three steam threshing machines, two ten horse power; and one steam gristing and a wine mill for cracking grain comprises their machinery.  I noticed in one place 200 acres of grain; they have great numbers of cattle, each village having a herd boy.

Leaving the reserve we travelled northwest to Yelsouville [Nelsonville] the distance of 12 miles, this place is situated on a small stream; there is a steam grist mill, a saw mill, two general stores, two cabinet shops, two hotels, two blacksmith shops, land office and shoe shop, several houses.

There is plenty of timber along the creek, mostly oak, and poplar.  Passing from the village to our home some six miles distant, we stopped at a farmer's to buy some pigs; we went to the yard which contained about sixty of all sizes, the farmer not being home we made no purchase.

We have a place about four miles from the mountain, fine rolling prairie adjoining Mr. Henry York's; the soil here is excellent; the crops yielding better than any I ever saw in St. Vincent.  We have about forty tons of hay stacked; we are now in the midst of our harvest; we put 36 acres in on shares, the land being broke last summer.

One of our neighbors has been here sixteen months, he has a house and stable, forty acres fenced and broke and half in crop; he has only one yoke of oxen.

A great deal of the land is scrip, consequently the people are not closely settled; there are a few frame houses, the most log hewed inside and out; they are very comfortable; there is one brick yard in the county;

lime is scarce, seventy-five cents per bushel, plenty of wild fowl, ducks, geese, prairie fowl, snipe, cranes, the last mentioned not eatable; fish in places, strawberries plenty, raspberries, black currants, cranberries, also wild plums on the mountains; hazel nuts plentiful, wild hops, good enough for making bread, in abundance; deer and bear to be seen at times; the prairie wolf plentiful in winter.

The crops have turned out well in this district.  Our near neighbor Mr. Stephenson has just thrashed his oats yielding 600 bushels to twelve acres; the weather is getting colder; the old settlers say we will have a dry cold fall; the leaves have commenced to change their hue for the varied autumn tint on the trees.

If any of our neighbors were to come here now they would be delighted with the country; they would not like it so well in spring.  I must now close my letter, remaining

Respectfully yours, HENRY LAYCOCK Sept. 10th, 1879 Miami Manitoba


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