The Birdtail Country Museum is one of the outstanding heritage attractions in our community.

Introduction

Welcome to this website brought to you by volunteers from the Birdtail Country Museum. We are proud of our local museum and this website makes the museum’s treasure-trove of contents more accessible to all.

Whether you are researching your family roots or just interested in local history you will discover a wealth of information on Birtle’s heritage beginning with the Birdtail Settlement in 1878 and pivotal events as the settlement grew into a successful town and community.

You will find personal stories, photos, and information on historic buildings, cairns, plaques and other heritage resources that our community has to offer.

If you have information or photos you’d like to share, please contact us.

What’s New 2022

Building Woes: During the annual spring cleanup this month, museum members were horrified to discover that the roof repairs done last summer did not withstand the wet spring we endured. Extensive water damage has occurred on the second floor affecting the kitchen, pantry, fashion rooms and big hallway areas. Prairie View Municipality owns the building and is working with an insurance adjuster to get the repairs done in a timely manner. Because considerable work is necessary to get the upstairs section of the museum repaired museum members were forced to make the difficult decision not to open to the public this year.

New Book Release: Thanks to the amazing generosity of Andrew Robert, The Birdtail Country Museum is thrilled to announce their latest fundraiser: the release of a new book titled People In Profile & other histories from the Birdtail Valley by Sylvia Doran, edited by Andrew Robert.

For a span of almost ten years (1978-1987) Sylvia Doran conducted biographical interviews of local people publishing them in the Birtle Eye-Witness under the heading “People in Profile.” Andrew Robert rediscovered these stories and decided it would be worthwhile to put them in book form, printing a few copies for himself and family in 2021. In doing so, he supplemented these histories with some newspaper articles or his own research about events and people he was interested in. He writes, “The stories are about ordinary people and their lives over the course of 100 years in the history of Birtle. They are, overall, people you would like to meet, and we are introduced to them in these columns.”

Andrew has improved the 2022 Museum edition by
adding additional stories and higher quality photographs.
This book is great read for anyone interested in Birtle’s community and history!

People-in-Profile.jpg

Cost $25. Please make cheques payable to Birdtail Country Museum. Copies will be available for purchase at the Birtle Pharmacy and Prairie View RM Office.

Donations Received: We were saddened by the passing of two of the Museum’s founding members; Margaret Butcher in March, 2021, and Frank Crew in January of this year. We were very grateful for the donations received in Margaret’s memory. Every donation helps with the cost of keeping the museum up and running especially since the loss of revenue due to Covid restrictions and the high heating costs during the winter months.

A few weeks ago, museum members were touched to learn of another generous donation. This time from the Frank Crew estate. Frank Crew was a loyal supporter of our museum throughout the years and wanted to support the museum in its efforts to gain a storage facility which is so desperately needed.

New storage shed purchased: We are happy to report that the new storage shed, purchased a few months ago, should be arriving any day now! The new shed will be located directly behind the main museum building.

Birdtail Country Museum’s Christmas Market is back!: After a two-year break due to the pandemic, the Birdtail Country Museum’s Christmas Market will be held on Saturday, November 26, 2022. Table rental fee is $20. Contact Brenda Samchuk at 204-842-5342 for registration or more information. Further details will be announced in the coming months.

Cataloguing of artifacts: The museum is limiting intake of articles at this time due to the reorganization and renovation work happening for the next several months. Detailed information about each item received is catalogued by very carefully handwriting the information in multiple formats. This information is now being transferred to a digital record system. Limiting the number of articles accepted will allow us to get caught up on a backlog of paperwork. Thank you for your understanding.

News and Events from 2021

World War 1 Veterans: Charles Stephen Copeland and Vaughn Watt provide firsthand accounts of their war experiences through their letters and journals. See Life in the Canadian Expedition Forces written by Charles Copeland providing an in depth account of his experiences during WW1. This invaluable memoir also sheds light on the activities and fates of other members of the 226th Battalion from the Birtle area. We are indebted to Linda and Chris Holtorf (Charles Copeland’s grandson) for their permission to share Charles Copeland’s WW1 memoirs and photos.

Service records and life stories of several other veterans have been added.

Notable People: Learn about gifted water colour artist W.H. Wallis (1864–1946) whose painting was purchased for the Manitoba Legislative Buildings. W.H. Wallis is also responsible for creating Birtle’s World War 1 Honour Roll which hung in St. George’s Anglican Church for many years and can now be viewed in the museum.

COMING SOON! Print copies for sale of Pivotal Events, Birtle’s Significant Themes and Events by Nathan Hasselstrom. Cost $45. Please make cheques payable to Pivotal Events – Birtle History Project. Copies will be available for purchase at the Birtle Pharmacy and Prairie View RM Office.

News and Events from 2020

Boulton’s Scouts. In 1885, Major Charles Boulton led a group of militia known as Boulton’s Scouts to help put down the North-West Rebellion. They saw action at Fish Creek and Batoche. Their story is commemorated in a new section under Moments in Birtle History, Birtle’s Role in the North-West Rebellion.

Storyboards. Be on the lookout for two newly created storyboards paying homage to two individuals who made significant contributions to Birtle in the early days.

Thomas (Tommy) Copeland – Thanks to the outstanding generosity of Thomas (Tommy) Copeland, Birtle residents and visitors are able to enjoy the beautiful park and recreation area situated along the Birdtail River. Once a described in the Birtle Eye-Witness as a “dense, swamp jungle”, Thomas Copeland had a vision to create a park for the Town of Birtle and donated his land for that purpose, transforming the area into one of “restful shaded beauty”. For more information on Tommy Copeland and the Birtle Riverside Park – click here … or see Birtle Begins and Passing It On. All publications can also be found at the Birtle Branch of the Parkland Library.

The Copeland storyboard can be found mounted on the north wall, next to the entrance of the Golf Club House.

John Sanderson Crawford – Birtle’s first mayor, worked tirelessly on the promotion and development of Birtle, serving as mayor from 1884–1897. The storyboard was created to acknowledge Mr. Crawford’s outstanding contribution to the Town of Birtle during its formative years. More information on John Crawford can be found in Birtle Begins, Passing It On, A View of the Birdtail, The Crawford Years. All publications can also be found at the Birtle Branch of the Parkland Library.

The Crawford Storyboard is displayed in the Town Square.

News and Events from 2018

Pivotal Events Report Completed

Pivotal Events: Birtle’s Significant Historical Themes and Events traces some of the broader themes which have coursed through Birtle’s history and isolates moments which were pivotal to how that history was shaped. The full report is available in the Publications and Reports section.

Newspaper Back Issues Now Available Online

Nesbitt Publishing has announced that access to back issues of newspapers from the region is now available through a new searchable website. Past issues of the Birtle Observer (1884–1888) and Birtle Eye-Witness (1889–2001) can be searched through a monthly or yearly subscription service.

For details, see the full article from the Crossroads newspaper for April 13, 2018.

Morton Memorial Plaque

In the fall of 2017 a plaque was placed at the Birtle Cemetery at the Morton headstone in memory of three of their children who were buried under an oak tree near the Morton homestead in the 1800s.

The three children were: Alfred ?–1979; William Elijah Dec 17,1885–Aug 24,1886; Mary Adelaide Oct 19,1888–July 24,1889.

Alfred and Adelaide had two other children, born in Shakespeare, Ontario, prior to arriving in Birtle, who lived to adulthood: Florence 1875–? and Agnes 1876–1968.

Alfred Morton (Dec 18, 1849–Mar 11, 1929) and his wife Mary Adelaide Morton (Mar 14, 1849– May 22, 1927) are considered Birtle’s first pioneers.

For a Birtle Eye Witness article from May 31, 1978, click here or on the newspaper clipping to the right.

Morton Memorial Plaque

New Book: Birtle Begins

birtlebegins

Copies of the book are available at the Municipal Office or Pharmacy in Birtle for a cost of $36. Cheques can be made payable to Birtle Begins History Project. There is also a copy of the book for loan at the library.

More detailed information on this project is available in the Publications and Reports section.