R.M. of Lansdowne /  History / Pivotal Events

Timeline ... 1880 - 1889

The World

1882: Thomas Edison builds the first power plant in New York.
1885: Karl Benz patents his first automobile.
1889: The Eiffel Tower opens in Paris.


In 1885, after long-standing grievances remain unaddressed, Louise Riel and Gabriel Dumont lead an uprising of Metis in the Saskatchewan River Valley communities in the Prince Albert - Battleford regions. Subsequent actions by native groups lead by Big Bear and Poundmaker create concern in Manitoba communities but relations between settlers and native people remain peaceful.


1881: March 2 - Manitoba Boundaries Act passed in Parliament, providing for an extension of the province’s borders.

The town of Brandon is created in May of 1881 when the site is selected over Grand Valley as a crossing and divisional point on the C.P.R. Within a month it is a busy centre.

The Assiniboine Rivers floods, putting much of the Assiniboine Valley under water, much as it was in 2011.

1883: An act of the legislature set up 4 municipalities within the County of Souris River, including Arthur.
Arthur included Ranges 27,28 & 29; townships 1,2, and 3.
Powers given allowed municipalities to bonus industries and railways by cash donation and by tax exemptions for a number of years.

1884 : In 1884 the Province was divided and organized into separate Municipalities.
Homestead Regulations eased to attract more settlers. Three options existed:

1. Three year’s cultivation and residence – with the settler not absent for more than six months in any one year.
2. Taking up residence for two years and nine months within two miles of the homestead and then afterwards residing in a habitabgle house on homestead for three months at any time prior to applying for the patent. With 10 acres to be broken ion the first year, 15 in the second, and 15 in the third.

3. A five year system that allowed the settler to live anywhere for the first two years as long as he began to cultivate the land within six months and build a habitable house.

1885: The end of steamboat service on the upper Assiniboine.

Arden and the R.M. of Lansdowne

Prior to the Municipal Boundaries Act the western part of the region had been in the Northwest Territories. Keyes (then called Midway) had been the northwest corner of Manitoba.


The first birth recorded in the R.M. of Lansdowne is George Birnie who was born in 1880 but not registered until 1885 after the R.M. was incorporated.
Wire binders are in use in the region.


First meeting held to plan for a school in the Salisbury district.


This 1881 map shows that the Lansdowne  region was just beginning to attract settlement in 1881.
Weir, Thomas R. [Settlement 1870-1921] [map]. 1:3,041,280. In: Thomas R. Weir. Economic Atlas of Manitoba. Winnipeg: Manitoba Dept. of Industry and Commerce, 1960, pate 13.

(Warkentin and Ruggles. Historical Atlas of Manitoba. map 153, p. 332


C.P.R. branch line reaches Gladstone.
Salisbury School (#127) opens on May 1st in a log building built earlier by Hugh Walker for a dwelling. School built in 1883. New brick school built in 1921. Closed 1966.


By-Law #20 grants the C.P.R. “exemption from taxes on their Road Bed, station buildings and station grounds, and on their land grant from the Government for the space of twenty years.”

First Anglican Services held in Arden.

Twine tie binders become available.

Legislation provides that. “The Rural Municipality of Lansdowne shall comprise townships 15 to 21, both inclusive, ranges 13 and 14, and townships 13 and 14, range west.

Municipal Building (Courthouse) built in Neepawa jointly owned by the Municipalities of Langford, Lansdowne, Rosedale and the Town of Neepawa.

Post Office established at Mekiwin (then called McGregor) – in home of Miss C.E. St. Clair.
Post Office established at Orange Ridge – in home of Eliel Winter.

Salisbury School built by O.E. Reilly.
First Ayr School built of logs. Local pioneer Hugh Gray was from Ayrshire, Scotland. The building is now located at the museum in Austin.
Very dry year.

Hugh Stewart and Mrs. Stewart, pioneers of 1883


C.P.R. line extended to Arden area.

R.M. of Lansdowne formed. Prior to this it was part of the County of Beautiful Plains.

Motion from the first page of the R.M. of Lansdowne Minute Book:

“1884 – That the seal of the Rural Municipality of Lansdowne be a yoke of oxen, man and plow, with the words, ‘Industry is Wealth.’ ”

School District of Arden #341 formed. (First school not opened until 1887)
Ayr School District formed at Mekiwin. School operated until 1962.
Florence School District #203 formed. Named in honour of Florence Nightingale. School built on SW 23-16-13. New school in 1900 on SW 14-16-13.  It operated until 1967.
Glenholm School District #208 formed. It operated until 1968.
First church service service held in Arden – Methodist. Conducted in Mr. Boughton’s kitchen.

The wet fall prevented a good harvest.

Post Office established at Florenta  – in home of Alex McKenzie
The Beginnings…

Notes from the first Lansdowne Municipal Council in 1884…


The inaugural meeting of Lansdowne Municipality was held in Salisbury Church, a log building, on SW 31-15-14 Jan. 8, 1884 to establish the standing rules of the corporation of the Municipality of Lansdowne. A by-law was passed stating that the Seal of the Municipality be a Yoke of Oxen, Man and Plow, with the words "Industry is Wealth" for the motto; the words "Municipality of Lans¬downe 1884" around the edge; and that the Interim seal be the word "Industry" crossed by the word "wealth".

Council met again on two consecutive days, Jan. 25 and 26 at the Samuel McGorman residence (S 22-16-14) in Orange Ridge. O. E. Reilly and others petitioned for a bridge over Snake Creek.

By-laws were passed to: hire M. E. Boughton as returning officer and secretary-treasurer and John E. Hed¬derley as assessor; appoint roadmasters, fence-viewers, poundkeepers, and constables; establish statute labour; list the duties of poundkeepers and fenceviewers; set up laws regarding breachy animals, animals running at large and animals having diseases; regulate formation and read¬justment of school districts; regulate the cutting of certain weeds harmful to agriculture; prevent and remove nui¬sances; prevent immorality.

Florence is the first school district formed by Lansdowne Council.

Council passes a resolution to authorize the reeve and secretary-treasurer to sign a petition asking for a post office at Arden.

Arden Post Office established that same year, on Dec. 1.

In April the meeting, held at Ayr School House (S 15-14-13) authorizes the Reeve to communicate with the Government to ascertain the amount of a grant for con¬struction of a bridge over the Whitemud River between Section 9 and 16-14-13 (First bridge by Lansdowne Coun¬cil).


Ayr School

The May meeting is held in Arden Station (later referred to as Fort Arden) in the M. E. Boughton half-finished building.
There, council holds the first Court of Revision; J. C. Morrison was awarded the contract for Whitemud River Bridge ($997); and tenders were to be called for voters list.

At the June 24 meeting, Babcock and McGorman are authorized to let by auction the contract for rebuild¬ing the bridge over Big Creek between Sec 17 and 18-17-14; W. J. James of Portage was appointed Solicitor for the municipality.

Council approves the formation of Rose Ridge School District (NE 20-15-13). The sum of $30.00 was voted to the Dauphin Agricultural Society.

At the August meetings remuneration for councillors is set at $2 for a day's work plus ten cents per mile; County tax is levied at one mill; judicial tax at one mill; school tax at five mills and municipal tax at six mills; correspondence from the Hon. Mr. Brown states that the old name Whitemud River was better than the proposed name Westbourne River and council agrees.

At the October meetings the main business concerned letters re: formation of Rose Ridge, Prairie, and Arden Schools.


Dry years, 1885 through 1887.
Western Canada produces 7.4 million bushels of wheat (See 1878).
Renters or owners were ordered to cut down or destroy wild mustard, wild oats and Canada thistle that grew on their property.
Rose Ridge School District #280 formed. It operated until 1919 when it was consolidated with Arden.


The location of the Arden School E ½ 13-15-14, is decided upon.


First school in Arden openes. The teacher, Hugh Donald McCamis became a noted businessman in Arden, the McCamis name appeared on its storefront for generations.
Arden Methodist circuit includes Salisbury, Glenholm and Winchester.
M. E. Boughton and thirty-five others petition for a cemetery at Arden.
Mekiwin Methodists begin services in the Ayr School – every second Sunday.


The Beautiful Plains Ridge Road is officially established on Oct. 13, 1888.
Arden Cemetery is established as a public cemetery by a By-law of Council on March 14th, 1888.


Near complete crop failure.
Lots are purchased for Arden Methodist Church. The building opens on June 12.


St. John’s Methodist Church, Arden

Council deals with a petition led by Robert Riddle regarding the issue of debentures for $4000 and a twenty year tax exemption to aid in the erection of a flour mill.

Council refers to the Carleton Trail, in a motion to: “keep the trail open from.. (across Lansdowne)”. Provincial Public Works recommends closing the trail but it did remain open for some time.

The completion of the Grassy River Drain in Twp 18 is requested.

Council requests that the dam on the Whitemud River at Westbourne be removed as it hindered the migration of fish to their spawing grounds and de¬prived settlers of valuable food supply.

A Post Office is established at Glenholm at Marshall Scott’s.
Plains School District #340 formed from part of Salisbury District. It operated until 1919.
Brydges School District #576 was formed in part of the Orange Ridge region and re-named Orange Ridge in 1929. It closed in 1968.