About the Barn Quilts:
These Barn quilts were designed and created by the Dufferin Agricultural Society’s Exhibit Hall Committee. The purpose of the barn quilts is to tell a story, the story of the makings and importance of our little town on the prairie. Every colour on the quilt acts like a puzzle piece; each representing an important part of history and/or quality that helped shape our community. Add hard work, dedication, and teamwork to the mix and you get Carman, our home on these Manitoba plains. We express a sincere thank you to the Carman Area Foundation for funding the materials needed to complete this project. It is our hope that these barn quilts will be joined by many others, created by members of the Carman and surrounding community.
Barn Red – The First Settlers
In 1870 Manitoba was formed as a province, creating an influx of settlers to the unbroken prairies. The fertile area surrounding the Missouri trail became a prime destination for homesteaders. The first wave of settlers came primarily from protestant Ontario. However, in response to disagreements and tension over land ownership many Catholic and Métis families left the area and settled elsewhere.
Farming proved to be difficult due to the cold winters, heavy snowfall, wet springs, and hot dry summers, but non-the-less Agriculture has remained the driving force in the local economy and is a key element of our heritage. From the early years on, The farmers of Dufferin have been active in local agriculture, and with help from politicians such as R.P. Roblin, were vocal about the need for land drainage, lower grain tariffs, rail lines, elevators, and improved transportation.
Interesting fact: barns were originally painted red with a mixture of skimmed milk, lime and red iron oxide, which created a red plastic like coating to protect the wood and kept the barns warm. Later, when pigment was introduced, red was the most affordable option.
Dark Brown – The Boyne Marsh
When the first settlers arrived in the late 1800’s this area was covered in the east by the Great Boyne Marsh. Alongside the western edge of these wetlands ran the Missouri trail which was used by Indigenous people, trappers, hunters, and the early settlers. The Boyne Marsh made for good hay and pasture but was not reliable for growing wheat. As homesteaders moved into the area and began to make something of the land. The area was gradually transformed by cutting trees for building and fuel, breaking the prairie grasslands to plant crops and draining the swamp. This latter project was undertaken by one of Dufferin’s most notable native sons, R.P. Roblin, premier of the province from 1900 to 1915.
Orange – Post WWII Immigration
We chose orange to highlight the unique relationship between Canada and the Netherlands. May of 2020 marked the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Nazi Occupation in the Netherlands, and other parts of Northern Europe. Canada played a huge role in this event, with over 7,600 soldiers having made the ultimate sacrifice. Canada also served as a refuge for the Dutch Royal family while the Germans occupied the Netherlands. As a result, Canada, including Carman, became the go to destination for immigrants seeking for a new life new after WWII.
The March 24, 1960 issue of the Dufferin leader reported the visit of the Dutch Ambassador, Mr Baluseck, the Agricultural Attacche of the Dutch Embassy, Mr. M.J Pieters and the Dutch Vice-consul of Winnipeg, Mr. Westerhuis, to the Carman district. They were very impressed by the achievements of the immigrants; a special report of this visit was made to the Queen in Holland. (Up to now, a story of Dufferin and Carman, page 222).
Mennonite settlers from Russia and post-WWII Dutch immigrants enriched the population mix and strengthened the agricultural base in the eastern part of Dufferin. Pockets of Francophone and Ukrainian settlements in the northwest, followed since the 1950s by an influx of Mennonite families from Southern Manitoba. More recent arrivals from around the globe have further enriched the multicultural heritage of the area.
Poppy Red – Lest We Forget
Many of our older residents remember quite vividly the nightmare of the first, and especially the Second World War. Individuals from Carman gave their lives for our country, and as before mentioned, played an important role in liberating Nazi occupied areas in a land not their own. In 1920, A Memorial Hall was built to commemorate those from Carman and the Rural Municipality of Dufferin who fought in the First World War. The Hall currently houses offices for the Town of Carman, RM of Dufferin, and also a war memorial. Every November 11th we gather at the Carman Memorial Service and remember and reflect as the list of names of honourable locals who died in battle is read out loud. We hold this day as a holiday in remembrance of everyone who pledged their life for the safety and peace of our country. They may be gone, but are not forgotten. We will remember them.
Sunny Yellow – The Town of Carman
Businesses opened in 1878, which led to a period of growth and a desire to name the Boyne settlement. The railway was built in the area in 1888 and the village of Carman was created in 1899 and the Town of Carman was officially incorporated in 1905 as Carman City, with “City” being dropped from the name years later.
Carman is named for Reverend Albert Carman, who was the Chancellor of Albert College in Belleville, Ontario, as well as Bishop of the Episcopal Methodist Church and General Superintendent of the Methodist Church in Canada. A Carman local, Rodmond P. Roblin, suggested the name, since he was educated at Albert College. Reverend Carman dedicated the first church built in the community in 1882.
Dark Green: The RM of Dufferin
The RM of Dufferin was first organized in 1880 and is thought to have been named after Lord Dufferin, then-Governor General of Canada. Once referred to as North Dufferin, the municipality stretched south to Nelsonville (near present-day Morden) which was the main centre for business around 1880. When the Canadian Pacific Railways was built in southern MB, it missed Nelsonville by several miles, and as a result most business moved to What is now Morden, and Carman. After multiple restructuring attempts, the current boundaries of the RM were established in 1908.
The RM of Dufferin is still considered one of the most prosperous agricultural districts in Manitoba, offering proximity to American markets and access to key Canadian transport routes. Major nurseries in the area ship various plants and trees all over Canada, and Carman and the RM of Dufferin are home to a number of farms, food science facilities, and processing facilities.
Sky Blue – The Vast Prairie Sky
Being a small town located in the prairies, Carman can take pride in the amazing masterpiece that meets the land at the horizon. From the heat of summer to the extreme chills of our long Manitoba winters, we can enjoy a bright blue prairie sky the majority of the time. That said, the prairies also come with many interesting weather events, such as blizzards, extreme cold temperatures, floods, and storm cells
Pale Yellow – Cash Crop farming
“The district has always been noted for excellent yields of wheat, oats, barely, flax, and forage crops. It has also led the way in the production of special crops, such as corn, sunflowers, peas, sugar beets and potatoes. Small fruits and vegetables are also grown in abundance. The soil and climate are such that no total crop failure has ever been experienced” (Up to now, a story of Dufferin and Carman, page 74).
The Dufferin Agricultural Society’s Young men’s section used to host monthly meeting during the winter months. These meetings became a popular social event of around 150 people attending, but they also served as an educational evening devoted to the study of farm management, and farm cost accounting.
In 1932 a corn club was organized under the leadership of John. Strachan. This is thought to be the start of corn growing in the Carman area. The DAS and Young men section would also sponsor corn husking competitions, as were made popular down in the states.
Grain farming was very popular in the Carman area and the market grew as more and more post-war settlers came into the area. Many settlers found jobs by joining a ‘threshing crew’ and would go from farm to farm to help take in the harvest before winter struck. Another crop popular during that time (especially in the 1950’s) was sugar beets.
To speak of the soil quality found in this area: A Dutch visitor, after noticing how this part of Manitoba produced some of the best crops he had seen, sent a soil sample from just North-East of Haywood to Wageningen, The Netherlands without telling where he had obtained the sample. The test results came back with the advice that if he wished to buy the farm from which this sample came, they should not hesitate, for the lab in Holland had never seen a soil sample as rich as this.
White – Manitoba Winters, and Mink Farms
Not only can the colour white represent the record-breaking amounts of snow we have received throughout our history, but it also represents mink ranching, where the soft snow-white fur of mink was harvested for comfort, warmth and fashion. In the early days, dark was the standard colour, but a mutation happened on the Sylvester ranch creating a new type of dominant white mink. This new mutation put Carman on the map to buyers around the world and it became known as a provider of fine quality furs. Other colour mutations from Carman include: standard, pastel, blue iris, violet, sapphire, hope, and lavender.
In 1955 Carman had 22 mink ranches, but as priced dropped some small scale operations chose to walk away while others expanded their operations. In 1966 Carman has 11 ranches producing a combined 3500 mink per year. Eventually the market crashed to a point where it was no longer profitable to keep going. Russian pelts were shipped in and sold for a cheaper price.
Click here for More info on Manitoba mink history
An expert from this web page: “J. H. Sylvester gave us the mink history of the Carman area and tells his own experiences well. “In 1933, Have Sylvester set out to catch the wild mink that had killed some chickens and ducks that he was raising. He dug some wild mink out of the creek banks and then decided to keep them and to raise them. In 1937, he bought his first bred mink from Franks Fur Farm in Petersfield.
“Having no hydro in the early days of ranching, all the meat was ground and mixed by hand. The biggest problem of all, though, was keeping the meat from spoiling in the summertime. To alleviate this problem, we erected a building and inside this building, we dug a big hole in the ground. In the winter we filled this full of ice and then with water froze it solid. We built a big box with a lid on it and set it on the ice. This box was completely covered with sawdust. With this type of refrigerator, we had meat shipped twice a week in the summer. The meat arrived mostly unfrozen, and if the transfer did not bring a shipment during the week we were forced to go out and catch gophers which were very plentiful at the time. With this type of set up, a lot of very doubtful meat was fed.”
In later years, Mr. Sylvester developed a dominant white mutation mink that topped the New York white mink pelt market for many years. These mink were called Carman Whites by the fur trade. They were large and usually won the heaviest mink prize in the Manitoba shows. They weighed between eight and nine pounds which is extremely heavy for a mink.”
Navy Blue – Dairy
From a milk bucket and stool, to tie stalls, and now the robot-operating farms we see today, dairy farming has grown tremendously both in popularity and technology. Many of the first settlers had their own livestock to fill their basic needs, but as the community developed, people began to focus on their fields of expertise. Dairy farmers sold and delivered their milk in person until a quota system was set up in Canada.
Light Brown – Livestock and Ranching
Livestock played a major role in Carman’s history. Ranches grow beef cattle for meat and semen. Bison also roamed the area and were ranched for meat. In the 90’s horse breeders harvested pregnant mare urine samples for medicinal purposes. Pig farms were also a large market until it nearly crashed in the late 1900’s and early 2000s.
“The Carman area has from the beginning been noted for its many breeders of pure-bred horses, beef and dairy cattle, sheep, swine, and poultry. It was the first area in the British Empire to become a T.B Free Area under the Dominion Health of Animals Branch, and the first to organize a Pure-bred Sire Area. Dr. J.A. Munn, D.V.S., secretary of the Agricultural Society, one time Mayor of Carman, and M.L.A, was probably the force behind these movements.” (Up to now, page 74).
Light Green – 4-H
Roland, located near Carman, founded 4-H in 1917. 4-H soon became a big part of agriculture and was a great way to introduce agriculture to the younger generation. It taught the next generation how to work with their head, heart, hands, and health to benefit their club, their community, and country. Volunteer work, public speaking, training, growing crops and various other projects have always been activities that helped incorporate strong leadership skills in the participants.
The Carman Country Fair (incorporated in 1879) became a hub for showing cattle, horses, sheep, and crops. The first of the three fair days is devoted to 4-H activities, which includes demonstrations, judging competitions, and historically, also hosted a large parade on the old race track.
Research for this project was done by young history enthusiasts. If you notice any errors, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]
For more history on the area visit these links:
History of Carman and the RM of Dufferin – CarmanMB Website
Carman Dufferin Heritage Website
Dufferin Historical Museum
The Rural Municipality of Dufferin 1880-1980- Published by the Council of the Rural Municipality of Dufferin- 1982
Up to Now- A story of Dufferin and Carman – Published by the Carman Centennial Book Committee -1967