Manitoba Historical Society
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Atmospheric Environment Plaque for Minnedosa

by Florence M. Brown

Manitoba Pageant, Autumn 1972, Volume 18, Number 2

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make this online version available as a free, public service. As an historical document, the article may contain language and views that are no longer in common use and may be culturally sensitive in nature.

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Four third-generation representatives of the early pioneers of Minnedosa took part in an historic event at the district museum on August 31, 1972, when Mrs. Winnie Whitley of Melita, granddaughter of the Rev. J. M. Wellwood, was presented with a bronze plaque commemorating 69 years of continuous service to the Dominion Meteorological Department, from 1880 to 1949, by the Wellwood family.

Messrs. F. McIsaacs and J. Smith, from the department in Winnipeg, made the presentation. Mr. Smith is a grandson of the Rev. Alexander Smith, who led the first Protestant service from a soap box on the site of Tanner's Crossing (now Minnedosa) beside the Carlton Trail and then homesteaded in the Cadurcis district west of town. Mr. Wellwood succeeded him as the first resident Presbyterian minister.

Mrs. H. Shorrock, chairman of the Museum Association, who welcomed the guests and oldtimers who gathered for the ceremony, is a granddaughter of Alex Cameron, who took the first homestead here in 1874. The acting mayor, Jim Burgess, accepted the plaque from Mrs. Whitley. He is a grandson of Joseph Burgess, who was an early mayor. Several of those attending were sons and daughters of pioneers of the 1878, '79 and early '80 period. The plaque will hang in the museum.

Mr. and Mrs. Wellwood, with their three eldest children, came from Ontario in 1880 with an agreement that they would send to Ottawa regular records of weather conditions. They took a homestead two miles southeast of the Crossing, and when the telegraph wires preceded the railroad early in 1883, a private wire was run out to their home. Soon after that, the Wellwoods moved to town and the wire did also, and the box of recording instruments was set on the hill behind their house.

Besides being the resident minister, Mr. Wellwood became inspector of schools, so his wife took over the recording work, assisted by their youngest daughter, Helen. After the parents' deaths, Helen (Mrs. N. Workman) continued the work until illness in 1949 prevented her, and the Department here was closed.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Tanner's Crossing (Minnedosa)

Page revised: 16 July 2011

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