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Ancestors' day...

Come to Sperling on the first Saturday in every June.

Go out to the cemetery anytime for your annual Ancestors' Day visit.

  • Check out and tidy up the family plot.
  • Reminisce with your friends, ancestors, and Sperling's departed.

Please pass on the word to family and friends!

Cemetery Adventure Program

Following is a copy of the program handed out at the performances of the Cemetery Adventure:


A Cemetery Adventure - 2005

History Class: The Community of Sperling, Manitoba

written by Glenn Peckover

3:00pm Saturday, July 23 & 1:00pm Sunday, July 24

The Setting:
Outdoors in the Sperling Community Cemetery -
2 miles north-west of the village.

The Vignettes:

  1. Introduction to today's history class: Teacher Isabelle Wilson Peckover (1890-1974) and cemetery caretaker William Sessions (1881-1968) start off our class.
  2. Earliest settlers: Adam Waddell (1822-1891) and his wife Margaret Hamilton Waddell (1832-1884) at their home near Mount Forest, Egremont Township, Ontario. The date: about 1878.
  3. Ontario pioneers: Isabelle and William comment on other early settlers from Ontario.
  4. Establishing the first school: Charles Peckover (1860-1948) and William H. Waddell (1858-1919), brothers-in-law (married to Galbraith sisters), talk outside of Fred Dracass's home on 31-6-2W. The date: spring of 1898.
  5. The first post office - Mariposa: Allison (Ellie) Waddell Bennett (1872-1945) and her husband Tom Bennett (1866-1901) plan their post office and store. The date: 1899.
  6. "The Father of Sperling": "Developer" Robert H. Waddell (1856-1938) reveals his plans to his wife, Mary Hunter Waddell (1853-1926). The date: Summer of 1901.
  7. The naming of Sperling: Allison (Ellie) Waddell Bennett (1872-1945), Robert.H. Waddell (1856-1938), and a manager of the Canadian Northern Railway meet at the station in the fall of 1901.
  8. The founding of the Sperling Community Cemetery: George Dracass (1865-1907) and George Peckover (1870-1938) speak to a general meeting in the village. The date: 1905.
  9. The first people to lie in the new cemetery: George Peckover (1870-1938) and his wife Mary Waddell Peckover (1875-1906) at their farm home on 5-7-2W, 2 miles north of Sperling.. The date: May 21, 1906.
  10. The burning of the first Sperling School: An emergency meeting of the school board with Chairman Fred Gehring (1884-1975), board member Jack Wilson (1881-1956), and Secretary-Treasurer John "Doc" Martin (1890-1941). The date: Saturday, May 24, 1924.
  11. Remembering World War 1: Three WW1 veterans reminisce - Ormie Waddell (1900-1978), Dick Burnett (1885-1957), and Al Wilson (1897-1980). The date: the 1930's.
  12. Sperling's only resident doctor: Dr. Maxwell Bowman (1896-1956) with his wife, Marjorie Forrester Bowman (1898-1985). The date: 1928.
  13. Trees around the cemetery: A conversation between John "Doc" Martin (1890-1941), Sperling's veterinarian, and his friend Matt Latham. The date: 1935.
  14. The US immigrants: Jake Tjaden (1878-1957), Harry "Yankee" Brown (1866-1938), and Richard Rance (1867-1935) reminiscing about "the old days" The date: early 1930s.
  15. The French-Swiss immigrants: Winnie Duvenaud (1915- ), Fern Rose (1917-1994), and Mrs. Angeline Ribordy (c1890-1967) discuss their families' history at Sperling. The date: the 1940's .
  16. The Danish Immigrants: Pete Nicolajsen Sr.(1900-1981), Trier Anderson (1893-1977), and Harry Ortman (1882-1969) converse outside the post office in about 1950.
  17. Artists in Sperling: Grace Woodman Davison and Thelma Rance Nicolajsen Shields (1931-2001) in an art class. The date: about 1951.
  18. A Pioneer's Journal: John Robert (Jack) Waddell (1880-1951) reads from the diary of his father, Robert Bruce Waddell (1848-1913). The date: about 1951.
  19. Remembering World War 2: Two WW2 veterans - Don Waddell (1916-2003) and John Dales (1919-1999) - chat with a thirsty traveler in the Sperling Hotel. The date: 1960s.
  20. Grain elevators – the cornerstones and principal raison d'etre of Sperling: A fictional conversation between two long-service grain buyers - Jack Hamilton (1877-1956) and Harold Bell (1905-1987).
  21. Store Wars - Sperling's storekeepers: Mae Skeavington Davidson (1896-1965) and Margaret Rose Rodgers Wurmnest (1920-2001) meet at Mae's store one evening in about 1960.
  22. Entertainment in Sperling: Fern Martin Rose (1917-1994) and Violet Skeavington Phelps (1901-1992) reflect on dances, concerts and plays in the community. The date: the 1960s.
  23. The Rink - centre of the winter universe in Sperling: Charlie Holmes (1913-1967), long-time caretaker, talks with Ken Tjaden (1943-2000), a frequent user of the rink. The date: about 1962.
  24. Sports in Sperling: Bill Peckover (1910-1993), Ralph Mogk (1916-1989), and Curt Jenkins (1914-1964) debate which sports were most significant in the community. The date: about 1963.
  25. Soap and Eggs and Visiting: Anna Tjaden (1907-1987) and Fern Rose (1917-1994) have coffee at Fern's home one Saturday morning. The date: early 1960s.
  26. Histories of the churches: Margaret Young Hooper (1912-1998), Ruby Russell Waddell Ralston (1911-1998), Alice Delaloye Bilodeau Bell (1912-2002) reflect on our churches. The date: 1993.
  27. Modern-day Sperling: A chat in the post office with Suzanne Schroeder, Russ Nicolajsen, and Ken Potter. The time: 2005.
  28. The future of the Sperling Community Cemetery: Committee members Wendal Fewster and Russ Nicolajsen comment on the cemetery. The time: today.

The Cast:

  • Carole Peckover Anderson
  • Ed Leask
  • Joanne Hamilton Acthim
  • Bill McEachern
  • Bonnie Rose Grabowski
  • Jeff Nicolajsen
  • Sherryl Hamilton Puchlik
  • Charles Peckover
  • Mary Elliott Rance
  • Don Peckover
  • Suzanne Bilodeau Schroeder
  • Glenn Peckover
  • Marlene Duvenaud Tjaden
  • Leonard Rance
  • May Rance Winters
  • Brian Waddell
  • Jim Anderson
  • Wendal Fewster
  • Russ Nicolajsen
  • Dennis Peckover

The author would like to thank: the Catholic Parish of St. Boniface and their play "In Riel's Footsteps" for the inspiration for the Sperling history play; the contributors and editors of the history books of Morris, Dufferin, and Egremont for the historical information; many Sperling people for their stories and encouragement; and the members of the cast for their production efforts and performances in our "Cemetery Adventure".