Monday, November 3, 2008

Killarney, Manitoba....Jim's Father's Hometown

(Note: We were without internet for a day, so this is two days with lots of info.)

We left Winnipeg heading towards Killarney and stopped in Carberry for lunch at Ray's Diner. There must have been 50 older people in the tiny restaurant and the talk was all about the Fall Supper that was going on that afternoon. Who was going, who was too sick to go, and who had seen the car from New Brunswick out front. I am sure we were the obvious owners!

Who knew that Manitoba had a desert? Yup, complete with a camel...

And finally...Killarney!

Jim's grandfather, William Schnarr, was born in Tavistock, Ontario in 1864. When he was 18 years old, he and a group of 5 or 6 young guys set out to homestead in Manitoba. After making their way to Winnipeg, they left with two oxen, a plough, a wagon and various tools and walked over 200 km to the area north of Killarney. They registered land claims and helped each other build houses on their chosen land and made a life farming there. In 1899, he married Jennie Hunt Wilson who was a schoolteacher, and they had five children.

In 1904, William Schnarr sold his farm when he was given the position of Customs Officer, a patronage position received for his strong support of the Liberal party. In 1911, when the liberals lost the election, he lost this job and became the manager of the town's grain elevator. Like most Schnarrs, he was very active in community affairs.

Here is a picture of him, sitting on the porch of his house with his two daughters, Margaret and Kathleen, and his son, Hermann on the right. Doesn't he look like his brother, Uncle Nelson?

Here is the house today on Clark Street...

Margaret, one of the daughters in the old photo, had married a Clements and her sons were the cousins Jim was hoping to find. He found a Clements in the phone book, but there was no answer. At this point, we weren't really sure how to find them. We headed to the local Co-op to buy something for supper to cook at the B&B we were staying at. Here is where fate stepped in....

We asked a young employee at the Co-op if you had to be a member to shop there. He said he didn't think so, and a lady shopping closeby overheard and said we didn't have to be. Jim decided to ask her about the Clements and she said she knew a Jack Clements. While this wasn't one of the cousins, she was sure he would be able to help us, and she went to the front of the store to get the phone book. As she was looking up the number, a man walked in and she said "Ken Anderson goes out with Jack's daughter. He'll be able to help you." and help us he did! He told us that the oldest cousin, Wayne, who was a year younger than Jim had died a long time ago; he wasn't sure of what. He told us that Robert, the next cousin, had left for Phoenix about three weeks ago. Douglas, the youngest, had been in town last week, but was now gone to Thailand for the winter.

Curses! No cousins, but lots of information. Ken told us that Douglas is going to be renovating the farmhouse that Jim remembered visiting in 1950. No one has lived there for quite some time. He told us where the farm was and we drove out there.

Jim remembered how deer were such a nuisance on the farm. Judging by the antlers on the roof, some of them met an untimely end.

Look at how much land they had on the farm!

This would be the type of grain elevator that Jim's grandfather would have managed.

We decided to call it a day and head to the B&B. We would call Jack Clements the next morning to see if he could give us any more information.

The B&B...what to say.....How about "What were we thinking!!!"

There aren't tons of hotels in Killarney. Its population is about 2200, so we chose this B&B in the next town of Bossevain. It sounded quaint and in the country....and it was!

Nice place with lots of room....

Very quiet property...actually there isn't a house around for miles!

The owner had left a note on the door saying "Welcome" and there was a nice plate of date and apricot bread on the kitchen counter. So I was thinking how this would be great! A pizza in the oven, no where to go...a night to watch Amazing Race and Desperate Housewives. First glitch, no TV...second glitch, no internet...this quiet night was taking on a whole new meaning!

But the worst was yet to come, a "compost" toilet (read a porta-potty). Supposedly odor-free...the smell as the night went on got worse, especially after I left the fan in the bathroom on thinking it would help. By morning, all we could think of was let's blow this place!! And we never did see anyone other than the dog who barked when we came in the driveway.

We were pretty happy to leave there and head back to Killarney to phone Jack. We spoke to Jack's wife, Muriel, who told us both of the cousins would be home for Christmas and we left our phone number and email address. So we didn't talk to the cousins, but we are a heck of a lot closer to finding them than we were when we arrived.

We went to the cemetery and started walking up and down the rows trying to find Jim's grandparents' headstone and Jim was successful!

Then he found Aunt Margaret's headstone and the oldest cousin Wayne, who died in 1983 at the age of 43.

So with a pretty successful day in Killarney, we headed off to our next stop in Saskatchewan.

We found this turtle on the way....

The prairies are gorgeous! How pretty is this...

And here we are in Saskatchewan!!

What a surprise after all the flat land to come across this sight! We believe this is part of the Qu'appelle Valley which we will be exploring more on our way to Regina tomorrow.

Here endeth the blog for today....


Ahna C said...

My name is Jenny Clements. Jack Clement's is my dad's cousin. You have pictures of our farm on your blog!
Anyways, someone showed my dad this blog and he wanted me to try to get in touch with you.
my email is
Hope to talk to you soon!

SEKAR VK said...
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