PIONEER DAYS OF WILLIAM CUMPSTONE SR. AND JR.
As related by A A Patterson
William Cumpstone Sr. was the eldest son of John Cumpston, a farmer and contractor of Montgomeryshire, Wales, where William was born December 9, 1834. He married Mary Poston at Hope Church Shropshire, April 25 1867.
After William had worked on a farm until he was eighteen, he apprenticed himself to a wheelwright. After serving his apprentice-ship, he went to a lead mine as a millwright until 1876 when he rented Santley, a 350 acre farm, from the Earl of Tankerville in Shorpshire. In the early days it was an old stage coach inn on the Shrewsbury-London road. After he lost heavily as a result of disease amongst the sheep and cattle, he decided to go to New Zealand to relatives. When he arrived at Liverpool, he met the Canadian Government immigration agent, who persuaded him to change his plans and join a party of emigrants ready to start for Canada.
In the party were Wm. Lovel, their son Charles, Fred and Herbert Porritt, and E Tobias. The party, under the government guide Armstrong, left the liner 'Circassion' on May 6 1880. The voyage to Point Levis, Quebec, took fourteen days. William Cumpstone was accompanied by his wife and four children, William, Jr, Emily, Sarah, Jane Edward, ranging in age from ten to two years. They travelled by train to Toronto and Collingwood where they made connection with a lake boat which carried them to Duluth. From Duluth, they reached Emerson via the 'Soo line.' At Emerson they bought oxen, supplies, and covered wagons. Their only piece of machinery was a breaking plow. When all was ready they struck west for the Turtle mountains in Southwestern Manitoba along the Boundary Commission Trail.
It was spring with high water and bad roads without bridges on the river crossings. It took them two days to cross the Pembina River south of Manitou as the wagons had to be unloaded, the goods taken across the river on a scow, the oxen swum across, and the wagons reloaded. After three weeks of travel, the party reached Wakopa. From there they went on to 16-2-20 where they pitched their tents to stay while the men looked for suitable land. As the survey of the district was not nearly complete with only two townships completely surveyed and only even-numbered sections open for homesteads, they had to scatter a little to get land.
TO BE CONTINUED